My Life of Faith

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This memoir documents the remarkable life of faith of Therese Stewart. There is much here for all of us, of whatever faith, to learn from. Her words offer inspiration and illumination for the reader’s own spiritual path. The narrative portion of this volume describes the many aspects of her life of faith, from her Catholic upbringing, through her years as a nun, her new life as wife and mother while taking responsibility for the academic development of the newly founded Unification Theological Seminary, to her “retirement years” of volunteer work and continued spiritual quest. The reader will learn how she faced every challenge with humility, grace, and determination.

Also included in this book is a selection of letters, reflections, testimonies, and other writings, as well as numerous photographs documenting her life with family, colleagues, and friends. All in all, the collection is a veritable treasure trove waiting for readers to open and enjoy.

Reviews

A beautiful album, containing vivid snapshots of an extraordinary life. This is a book to sit with, to read slowly and to savor its historical, emotional and spiritual riches. A humble, honest account from a true pioneer!

~ Farley Jones, Past President, Unification Church of America


This is a moving, thoughtful work by a woman of exceptional faith, one who courageously embraced a series of new identities in response to the unfolding call of God. Therese has been my close friend for over fifty years; I continue to learn from her.

~ Betsy Jones, M.Ed., Former Vice-President, Women’s Federation for World Peace

    Faith, hope and love. These Biblical attributes central to personal religious development are the itinerary marking the life of Therese Stewart. The narrative of these steps, through her reflections and realizations, reveals, in the guise of the chronology of one life, the continuing fulfillment of a promise to God.

    Observing her Midwestern farming parents and neighbors working together for the benefit of all, and from her Catholic faith that had called her elder sister to become a nun and her cousin to the priesthood, Therese at age nine promised God that she, too, would become a nun. This quiet but at times questioning trust carried her on to serve first as a nurse, then a nun, and then as a nursing educator.

     At Columbia Teachers College in New York City, while still in her nun’s habit, she was introduced to the theology of the Unification Church by a classmate. Although this new theology is based on the Bible, the Unification interpretation of the Second Coming as a physical married Messianic couple who would usher in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth proved especially surprising, given her twenty years of celibate life and meditation. However, this new theology was full of hope, since becoming a partner through this new sacrament of marriage meant the eradication of the original sin and the chance to be the root of sinless God-centered families. And so, after two years of prayer and reflection, she accepted this new religious way of life. “I realized that my life had been a preparation for this time.” she writes.

    As a step toward the goal of becoming part of God’s new sinless kingdom, Therese, aged 40, was blessed in marriage to Ernest Stewart in 1975. Although they did not have children, they adopted an “offering child,” a baby given to them with love from another couple, thus being able to experience a growing parental love.

    From 1975 to 1994 she and her husband and, until his college days, their young son lived at the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS), where she was appointed Academic Dean, thus making use of her academic experiences and her qualities as a leader in education.  

    Faith, hope and love. Therese Stewart has experienced and embodied these virtues in her life of loving and serving God and others. She has fulfilled her promise to God.

~ Dr. Betsy Colford, Professor Emerita, Sun Moon University, Korea