José M. Santiago, O.P.

Assistant Professor of Theology, Aquinas Institute of Theology, 2009-
M.S.W., University of Illinois at Chicago
M.Div., Aquinas Institute of Theology
D.Min. Hispanic Ministry, Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, TX
Thesis Project: “The Church’s Response to Faith Needs of Immigrant Latinas Living with Domestic Violence.”

santiago@ai.edu

Background

I was born on the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and grew up in the wonderful metropolitan city of Chicago.  Upon experiencing my first formal Catholic Education at Loyola University along the lakefront, I encountered Fr. John Powell, S. J.’s theology classes.  Though my degree was in Psychology, I realized that without the faith dimension the sciences could not answer my need to satisfy my deepest questions about God, relationships and society but Fr. Powell’s classes helped.

Attraction to Theology and Ministry

After working to establish a program for the chronically mentally ill (hospitalized minimally 3 to 5 times in 6 months) on the North Side of Chicago and then while working with the chronically addicted, I began a Masters in Social Work.   I was still not satisfied with the answer about the deeper questions of God, relationships and society.  Obtaining an MSW didn’t satisfy this either so I entered the Dominicans.

After entering studies at Aquinas Institute, I finally found a home where these deeper questions began to be answered.  Upon graduating from Aquinas I realized that ministering in our parishes I could apply both the social work, theology and my own background.  These experiences only augmented my love for lifetime learning and “sharing the fruits of our contemplation.” 

Ministry with Dominicans

My work with parish communities which included Hispanic populations drew me to begin to study issues that had a major impact in their lives: Immigration, Intercultural Ministry, RCIA, Fetal Mortality and Domestic Violence.  It is during these years that I pursued my studies for a D. Min.  With this degree I was able to bring together my two interests, theology and social work in a way that was practical and challenging in my ministry.

Teaching and Publications

University of St. Mary’s, Winona, MN Course on Theology of Ministry, Fall, 2004.

I was one of the main actors (priest) in 4 videos (one in Spanish) for training of ministers on responding to Domestic Violence, dealing with: an abused woman, an abuser, and when a child presents domestic violence within the family.

I have given several presentations or workshops on immigration, domestic violence, non-violent communication, intercultural ministry, marriage preparation and the RCIA process.

In my spare time

I enjoy running, biking and swimming.  I enjoy reading fiction where faith and values are challenged, especially in different cultures and faith traditions.  Time spent in nature, hiking or camping has always been a pleasure.  Good movies that have character development as opposed to violence always excite me.