LSTC Graduate Spotlight 2024

Michelle Leigh Pyskaty

Master of Divinity

What is your favorite memory of your time at LSTC?

The community that I felt when we would gather in the refectory. The community that wrapped its arms around my son and I when I was diagnosed with cancer. All of the amazing support given to us during my son’s struggles. I miss living on campus, but we are thriving out here in Rock Falls.

What was the most meaningful class you took?

Pastoral Care with Dr. Billman. It set my feet on my path to chaplaincy, and shaped my path to sit with those who are in crisis to allow to sit with them and allow my talents to shine – including holding space and surrounding with love, as well as extemporaneous prayer for people who were not of the same belief I am.

How did you feel supported during your seminary journey? Were you the recipient of any major scholarships? What communities or people uplifted you during your studies?

Public Church Fellows and my scholarship from the Margaret R and Timothy R Schoewe Scholarship Fund is the only way I was able to attend seminary. I am so grateful for that. Many people lifted me up – far too many to name each. But I would like to offer up a special thanks for Kadi Billman, Terry Baeder, Erik Christensen, Esther Menn, Cheryl Hoth, Marji Shannon, Marvin Wickware – and so many more.  These folks have dried my tears, supported me through some very dark times, and held me when I needed someone the most. True companions in my walk. But the whole community was so amazing.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I’m already a Hospice Chaplain in Davenport, Iowa. I am working on several side projects that will help shape my ministry, including End of Life Doula, Spiritual Advisement, and pulpit supply.

How did LSTC shape you as a future leader of the public church?

I am able to sit with people who are dying and with families who are losing loved ones, as well as the hospice team, and facility staff. I help people navigate their own spiritual journey and help them through distress. I have been blessed with two internship sites that allowed me amazing supervisors that expanded my theological viewpoints to include an inclusive God that helps me meet people where they are.

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