Maureen Wicken began her teaching career at Little Flower Academy. Her experience as an educator led to a number of other career opportunities, including a job at Corpus Christi College-St. Mark’s College, and to critical roles in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver (RCAV).
Dating back to 1979, Maureen Wicken was already a part of the fabric of the St. Mark’s community. When she was a teenager, her family began attending mass at St. Mark's and were also part of St. Ignatius Parish. (In 2012, the two Catholic worshipping communities at UBC, St. Mark’s College and St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish, were brought together to create the Parish of St. Mark’s.) Maureen was an active volunteer at St. Patrick’s Parish from 1993-2005, running the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) program, celebrations, and the mass for new Catholics. She worked part-time for the diocese in these same areas from 1997 to 2005. She was also a member of the Newman Club.
Maureen’s experience at St. Mark’s Parish made her an ideal candidate for a contract at the RCAV to write the curriculum and framework for the RCIA program. Her understanding of the education system and her experience with RCIA at the Parish were assets for this position. She then worked in the office of Religious Education as the RCIA Consultant for four years.
Maureen received a call on August 30, 2005 from then-president of Corpus Christi-St. Mark’s, David Sylvester, to work for campus ministry at St. Mark’s. She began a journey of simultaneously working full-time in campus ministry and studying part-time for a degree at St. Mark’s College.
With a strong desire to go back to school in pursuit of her MA, Maureen took an Old Testament Course taught by Father Hanrahan in 2005 and started on her path towards a 51-credit Masters in Religious Education at St. Mark’s College. When she graduated in 2009 she was part of the first generation of teachers and leaders in the Archdiocese and the Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver (CISVA) system to take their Saint formation into the community.
In her time at St. Mark's, she had the opportunity to study under several influential professors, including, Dr. Elaine Park from Mount Angel Seminary, Old Testament scholar Fr. Walter Vogels, M.Afr, and Canon Law teacher Dr. Lynda Robitaille. In an interesting twist, she had hired Dr. Robitaille to teach at the St. Mark’s Summer Institute while Maureen was an employee of the Colleges. One of the most memorable professors was Fr. Martin Moser, OMI, who once said to the class, “If God didn’t will it, you wouldn’t take your next breath.” Those words changed everything for Maureen and radically transformed her life.
In the course of her academic and professional life at St. Mark’s College, Maureen took on many responsibilities at the Colleges. Her previous experience and connections as a consultant allowed her to identify and hire new talent for the school. With these connections, she was about to plan and execute the Summer Institute at St. Mark's. Like all the employees in the early years of Corpus Christi-St. Mark’s, Maureen also travelled to schools, parishes, Victoria, Kelowna and even Seattle to recruit students for both Corpus Christi and the graduate programs. As part of Campus Ministry, Maureen animated the faith life of both students and staff, running programs like Speak Your Piece, Wednesday student liturgies and soup lunches with guest speakers, Theology on Tap (held in various pubs around campus) and in the last years at the College, began to build a Continuing Education program, organizing course offerings at parishes out in the community with teachers like Father Elton Fernandez, SJ and Greg Kennedy.
Maureen has fond memories from her time as both an employee and a student. She left St. Mark’s in 2011 and now teaches at Vancouver College where she is currently the Department Chair in Religion. Maureen has a deep history with the St. Mark’s Parish and the Colleges as a volunteer, student and staff member. Her presence and involvement at the Colleges has touched many hearts and enriched the schools.