I wondered how, as an older student, I’d be accepted. I wondered what I had to offer this community. Dorothy Dominiak (in the Admissions Office) told me that my wealth of knowledge is what I have to offer. I just need to go where the Holy Spirit leads me – and I’m eager to hear where that will be.
Student Profile: Ruby Burwell-Lee
Ruby Burwell-Lee took the long road to LSTC. She first came to a Seminary Sampler 30 years ago as she was finishing her undergraduate degree in biology at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill. "I came with a college friend who is now my pastor. Dr. Pete Pero encouraged both of us to come."
"My main question, then, was 'How are you going to feed me spiritually?'" Thirty years ago, there wasn’t an adequate answer to her question. "Now there are Growth in Faith classes that do just that," she says.
Ruby began her career in research, got married, and raised a family. But she never lost the feeling that God was calling her to ordained ministry. Two years ago, during a major transition in her life, Ruby came to another Seminary Sampler at LSTC and finally felt ready to answer that call.
"I had a long conversation with God, who kept saying to me that there is nothing else in the way of my going to seminary – no more excuses." She asked God for a year to "relearn who Ruby is because I felt I had lost myself." Then she would do what God was asking her to do.
In fall 2011, Ruby began taking classes for a master of divinity degree. She continues to work full-time for a Illinois Department of Public Health lab that analyzes tests for sexually transmitted diseases. She's taking two classes a semester, commuting from Chicago’s south suburbs.
"I wondered how, as an older student, I’d be accepted. I wondered what I had to offer this community," Ruby says. "Dorothy Dominiak (in the Admissions Office) told me that my wealth of knowledge is what I have to offer." One of her classmates confirmed that. Ruby says, "She surprised me when she told me how much the other students respect what I have to say in class."
Ruby knows that God has his hand on her journey. She says, "I just need to go where the Holy Spirit leads me – and I’m eager to hear where that will be."