Back in 2013, Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, was installed as the seventh president — and second Viatorian — of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. It is the largest graduate school of theology and ministry in the

Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, with Sr. Barbara Reid, OP

country, whose founding in 1968 was described as a “bold and daring experiment in collaboration.”

Fr. Francis brought his 12 years serving as Superior General of the Viatorians’ worldwide community, yet he also brought his enthusiasm for the college’s bold, inclusive vision.

Back in June, Fr. Francis announced his retirement and just this week, CTU officials announced announced his replacement, naming Sr. Barbara Reid, OP, as his successor. She is the first woman to be named president.

“Being president of CTU has been a wonderful and life-changing experience,” Fr. Francis says. “I will remain forever grateful to God for the privilege of this ministry. I have often said that I have had three incarnations in this institution: as student, faculty member, and president. CTU has been an integral part of my religious and ministerial life since 1978.”

Fr. Francis and Sr. Reid have worked closely at CTU. She is a professor of New Testament Studies, but she also has served as vice president and academic dean. In December, Fr. Francis traveled with her and other CTU administrators when Sr. Reid was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Graz in Austria, where she was particularly honored for her work in feminist Biblical studies.

“I am delighted that Sr. Barbara Reid, OP, has been elected as my successor,” Fr. Francis said. “She will bring her own talents and insights to the leadership of the school, ensuring that CTU continues to be one of the preeminent schools of theology and ministry not only here in the US, but in the world.”

In looking ahead, Fr. Francis plans to take a sabbatical when he steps down at the end of the year. Among his plans will be serving as a visiting professor at Catholic University of America in Washington during the fall semester, 2021.