Dan Gast, Director Emeritus
Daniel Gast was the director of INSPIRE since its inception in 2004 through his retirement on December 31, 2012. The work was a happy match with his personal learning dedications for several years: introducing leadership, organizational development, and pastoral leadership studies to a local parish communities and church institutions. Dan is co-author with Dr. Barbara Fleischer of a coursebook on Pastoral Leadership and Organization for the Loyola Institute of Ministry at Loyola University of New Orleans. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) of Loyola University Chicago, the university co-host of the INSPIRE project. He serves in leadership development with colleagues at the Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Personnel Services. Dan has served in ministry settings of educational and catechetical leadership at local and diocesan levels, and in catechetical and religious publishing.
Dr. Mary Elsbernd, OSF
Grant Writer and Lead Team Emeritus
Mary Elsbernd was a member of the religious community of the Sisters of St. Francis, Dubuque, Iowa, and an associate professor of pastoral studies at the Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS), Loyola University Chicago. She passed into eternal life on Saturday, April 24, 2010 after courageously living with cancer since April 2001. Her life and sprit were a blessing to all whom she touched.
Mary never stopped believing in the transforming power of the future. She initiated a vision and co-authored the $2,000,000 grant proposal to the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program that would eventually become INSPIRE, which launched in 2004. Mary collaborated with the Archdiocese of Chicago Office for Continuing Formation to design this project to serve Catholic parish pastoral leaders. The direct beneficiaries of her courageous, imaginative vision include INSPIRE’s 41 parish and inter-parish Pastoral Leadership Teams, comprising over 350 Chicago pastoral ministers and leaders.
Mary was founder and Graduate Program Director of the Master of Arts in Social Justice and Community Development (MASJCD) degree program at IPS. The MASJCD is currently IPS’s fastest growing program. As full time faculty at IPS, Mary served until 2004 as the Institute’s Director, and as full-time faculty until Spring of 2010.
Mary’s passion was always her students and the difference they make as pastoral and community leaders. Through the MASJCD degree program, she fostered the development of social ethics as an academic discipline through research, teaching, and writing. Other areas of research and writing interests included Catholic social teaching, peace & justice education, women’s spirituality, women’s leadership, human rights and social change.
Mary’s last publication in April 2010 is a book co-authored with Reimund Bieringer entitled, Normativity of the Future: Reading Authoritative Texts in an Eschatological Perspective. Her previous book with Dr. Bieringer, When Love is Not Enough: A Theo- Ethic of Justice, received the 2003 Catholic Press Association Award in Theology.
In 2008, Mary received the prestigious St. Elizabeth Seton Medal from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio to honor a woman theologian making significant contributions to the field of theology. In 2010 Mary received the Called and Gifted award of the national Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry (AGPIM). This award from her own peers recognizes a colleague’s integrity, scholarship, and longevity of service to the Church and AGPIM as a ministry educator.
Dr. Peter Gilmour
Grant Writer and Lead Team Emeritus
Peter Gilmour is professor emeritus at the Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago. He has taught courses in narrative theology, world religions, religious education, and pastoral leadership.
Peter’s doctoral work focused on non-ordained people who pastor parishes without resident priests. His book, The Emerging Pastor published by Sheed and Ward was the first documentation and theological reflection on this ground breaking practice of lay ecclesial ministry within the Roman Catholic Tradition.
Peter has also published, The Wisdom of Memoir: Reading and Writing Life’s Sacred Texts. This book reflects theologically on contemporary secular memoirs as sacred expressions that follow in the footsteps of the Wisdom Tradition of the Old Testament.
Peter wrote the monthly, “Odds and Ends” column in U.S. Catholic for a decade and has published a variety of articles in the Journal of Religious Education, Listening Journal, the Journal of Adult Theological Education, PACE, and the Critic.
He was instrumental in the conception of the INSPIRE project and, along with Mary Elsbernd, wrote and submitted the grant proposal funded by the Lilly Endowment’s Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program in 2003. He served as an INSPIRE Lead Team member and grant Principal Investigator from 2004 until his retirement in 2008.