Redesigned Health Care Mission Programs at Aquinas Institute of Theology

Never before has theological formation for Catholic health care leaders been more critical, or more accessible. 

When the team of the Ashley-O’Rourke Center for Health Ministry Leadership (AOR Center) at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis started working more than a year ago toward a complete re-design of their nationally recognized programs in Catholic health care mission they couldn’t have imagined that those programs would launch in the middle of a global pandemic. 

With the goal of making theological formation accessible for leaders in Catholic health care, the Graduate Certificate in Health Care Mission and the Master of Arts in Practical Theology with a Specialization in Health Care Mission (MAPT) offer the theological depth and spiritual maturity a new generation of leaders needs to fully understand, articulate, and live out the mission and identity of Catholic health care facilities and systems across the country.  

Instruction in these unique distance learning programs will begin in Fall 2021 with a faculty of prominent leaders from the world of Catholic health care. Fr. Charles Bouchard, OP, Senior Director of Theology & Sponsorship for the Catholic Health Association of the United States, former President of Aquinas Institute, and founding faculty member of the AOR Center, will return as the instructor of Church, Ministry, and Health Care. Joining the faculty as instructor of Practical Theology for Health Care Mission is Michael Miller, Jr, System Vice President of Mission & Ethics at SSM Health. 

For nearly 20 years, the AOR Center and its programs have supported Catholic health care professionals in reconnecting with their initial vocational call to the ministry of health care, while equipping them with deep understanding of the values that guide their ministry in the real world. This mission is continued and strengthened with the launch of the new programs.  

“The Ashley-O’Rourke Center transforms health care leaders, giving them the tools they need to become agents of transformation,” says AOR Center Director Dr. Stewart Clem, Assistant Professor of Moral Theology.

Aligned with the Catholic Health Association’s competencies for mission leaders, the Certificate and MAPT programs are designed for leaders at all levels of Catholic health care who seek a more comprehensive understanding of the theological, spiritual, and ethical dimensions of health care ministry. AOR Center programs seek to strengthen and deepen students’ existing commitments to Catholic health care. 

“Catholic health care leaders know health care, but they also need to know why they do what they do, why it matters, and what it means,” says Fr. Bouchard. 

Part of the worldwide Order of Preachers, Aquinas Institute of Theology is a Catholic, Dominican-sponsored graduate school of theology offering multiple graduate degree and certificate programs on its campus in Midtown St. Louis, MO. 


Contact: Michael Winters, Coordinator of Marketing and Communications

Phone: (314) 256-8854