by Gordon Nary
Gordon: Your profile at the Catholic Theological Union provides a great overview of your writings and interests.What initially interested you in studying and teaching the Old Testament?
Sr. Dianne Bergant: My academic program required that I have a good grasp of both biblical testaments. It was only with the writing of the dissertation that I concentrated on a testament and a particular area of focus. My choice of testament was determined by the choice of professor with whom I wanted to work. My choice of area was the area he had chosen for his own work. At that time, he promised that he would not publish anything in that area until I finished my work – and he did not.
When I returned to teach in the college sponsored by my congregation, I was assigned courses in both testaments. I taught at that institution for five years and was then hired to teach Old Testament on the graduate level at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago where I have been ever since.
Gordon: Do you have a specific book of the Old Testament that who find most inspiring, and, if so, why?
Sr. Dianne Bergant: I particularly like the book of Job, which was the focus of my dissertation. I appreciate the message of this book because of the importance of natural creation underscored by the author. Job struggles with questions of human suffering and justice; God refocuses Job’s attention to the splendor and magnificent of natural creation. The point is – The universe and all of creation of which it is comprised have been brought forth and sustained by God, and are beyond Job’s (humans’) comprehension and control. When faced with human limitation, Can Job (humans’) trust that God is in control?
Gordon: To better introduce your teaching and perspectives, I thought that it would be helpful to feature your video Joy of the Gospel: Reflections from CTU Faculty.
Gordon: In your opinion, would it be helpful for more parishes to encourage the formation of Evangelization Ministries?
Sr. Dianne Bergant: In the few years that he has been Pope, Pope Francis has written several very important documents. Too few people in the pews even know about these documents, to say nothing of what they say. The pope is the primary teacher of the church. I feel very strongly that parishes and dioceses need programs that explain this teaching of the Holy Father.
Gordon You are a popular speaker at many parishes nationally. What are some of the topics on which you are asked to present?
Sr. Dianne Bergant: Since I am a critically trained biblical theologian, all my talks are from a biblical perspective. Recently I have used these from the Pope’s letters The Joy of the Gospel, The Face of Mercy, and Laudato Si’ (creation). I also do a lot of work with the lectionary, the Psalms, and the Wisdom Literature.
Gordon: You are also a featured writer in many Catholic publications. One of my favorite articles is The Bible Reborn: Rediscovering the riches of Scripture that was featured in America, and which provides great insight into your love of the Bible – especially the Old Testament. What can parents do to interest their children in reading the Old Testament?
Sr. Dianne Bergant: Perhaps the best way to get children interested in the Old Testament is for parents to become knowledgeable and interested.
Gordon: That is great advice. Thank you for a great interview.