Father Robert Wister surrounds himself in education
Seton Hall has over 40 individuals living on campus from the priest community who also act as professors, according to the Seton Hall website.
Father Robert Wister is currently a Professor for Church History, History of Christianity and American Catholicism. He studied at the Gregorian University in Rome before coming to New Jersey.
“It was delightful. I love the city. You’re right in the middle of the history of the church,” said Wister. “It’s a wonderful city and the pasta is fantastic. I don’t miss Rome at all. You do it and then it’s the past.”
Wister has been teaching and working at Seton Hall since the 1980’s and has lived in Xavier Hall for the past 20 years. Each morning brings a busy schedule for him on campus.
“Each day is very different and they’re all busy in different ways. On an average day, I get up around 5:30 a.m.,” said Wister. “Then have breakfast normally around 7 a.m. in the priest’s dining room and some days I have to say the 8 o’clock mass in the University Chapel. And on other occasions, I might have to say 7 o’clock mass in the seminary chapel.”
If Wister does not have either mass, he says mass privately in the oratory. On days he has classes, his schedule focuses on students and different committee meetings for the University.
“Almost everyday there are meetings of some kind, different committees,” said Wister. “School of theology committee, University Committee and I also am on some committees and commissions for the Archdiocese. Those meetings are always in Newark. I’m also on the search committee for the new Law School Dean.”
Although his schedule is busy, Wister still finds time to meet with students after class to speak with them on any issues they may have or problems in class.
“Other time is spent preparing for class and going over my PowerPoint presentations and things of that sort,” said Wister. “And then there’s lunch and dinner. Those are very important. There’s the priest dining room or sometimes the seminary student dining room.”
Wister also follows courses taught at other universities, which he buys on DVD and watches in the evening.
“Right now I’m following a course on DVD on ancient Egypt,” said Wister. “It gives you new ideas. I just finished a few weeks ago on biblical Israel. Even with early Christianity you have to explain things about the land and people where Jesus first came. So you get ideas and insight and new information.”
Teaching at Seton Hall since the 1980’s, Wister has seen students become more involved in Servant-Leadership.
“I’m impressed by the involvement of students in outreach programs,” said Wister.
Stephanie Gomulka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.