February 4, 2024
For more information, contact:
Dr. Anthony Leigh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Loyola Society Creates a Connection for Catholic Students
Montgomery, Ala. – Jimmy Schomburg ’24 is proof that when a Huntingdon student has an idea for a new student organization and is willing to devote the time and energy to leading it, the effort can be successful. In the Spring of 2022, Schomburg approached the staff in the Office of Student Development and Chaplain Rhett Butler ’13 with his idea to establish an organization for Catholic students at Huntingdon. Since then, the Decatur native and graduate of Saint Bernard Preparatory School has championed the Loyola Society and provided a space for students of the Catholic faith to connect on campus. He shares with us how the organization came about and some of the activities of the Loyola Society over the last two years.
Q. Tell us about you – your name, major, activities on campus.
A. My name is Jimmy Schomburg. I am a senior history major. I am primarily involved with Presidential Fellows, campus ministries, the Madison Society, and the History Club, but the Loyola Society is where I devote much of my time and resources. I am one of the few Catholics on campus, but my faith means everything to me, and I have a great desire to evangelize to others.
Q. When did you know that you wanted to start an organization for Catholic students?
A. I had always entertained the idea of starting a Catholic group at Huntingdon since my freshman year, but I never really thought anything of it. That all changed after I attended a retreat for college students hosted by the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word. They are a Catholic religious order with a convent in Irondale. They primarily focus on teaching and hosting retreats. That retreat had a massive impact on my life, primarily because of a group of students from the University of Alabama who were very devout. I never realized that UA had such a vibrant Catholic campus ministry. I saw the impact it had on the students there, and I knew then that I wanted to spread the faith to Huntingdon. I spoke to Dr. Leigh and Rhett about it, and they were very much on board!
Q. What is the Loyola Society?
A. The Loyola Society is Huntingdon’s Catholic student group. My vision for the group is to educate Catholics at Huntingdon about their faith, evangelize to non-Catholics, and also to create ecumenical dialogue with our Protestant brethren. I named it the Loyola Society after St. Ignatius of Loyola, a great saint from the 16th century who was a great champion of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. He was the founder of the Jesuits, a religious order dedicated to evangelization and missionary work. The Jesuits still exist today. Ignatius was a true soldier for Christ and his ministry reflects much of what I’m trying to do here, which is why I placed the Loyola Society under his patronage.
Q. You’ve been able to host some Catholic religious orders on campus since the start of the Loyola Society. Tell us about those events.
A. We have hosted two Catholic religious orders on campus. In September of 2022, we hosted Benedictine monks from St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman: Fr. Joel Martin and Fr. Dominic Lee. The monks came and talked about their vocation stories and what monastic life is like. As a side note, the Benedictine Order is the oldest religious order in the world and was responsible for rebuilding civilization after the fall of the Roman Empire. They practice contemplative prayer as well as helping the community. For example, the monks of St. Bernard run a school. In September of 2023, we hosted two Sister Servants of the Eternal Word: Sr. Clare Marie and Sr. Madeleine Marie. The Sister Servants, as I’ve mentioned, host retreats, teach, and speak at college campuses. They have a convent in Irondale called Casa Maria. The sisters that came to Huntingdon also talked about conventual life and their vocation stories. I also gave them a tour of Huntingdon and had them meet our history professors, Dr. Ball and Dr. Witcher. Sr. Clare Marie is a history buff, so she specifically asked if we could do that. Both events were extremely successful, with a great turnout of people.
Q. Have you been able to attend any conferences for Catholic collegians?
A. Yes. In early January, I attended SEEK, a massive conference (22,000 people in attendance) put on by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). It was awesome! The speakers were excellent, and I met with lots of religious orders and Catholic apostolates. The best part was daily Mass, with Eucharistic Adoration on Wednesday night. Jesus was physically, tangibly present there.
Q. What are your career aspirations beyond Huntingdon?
A. I’m still not entirely sure. Last summer, I completed an internship with the Alabama Department of Archives and History, which was an amazing experience. I thought that was something I wanted to do after graduation, so I began researching graduate programs in public history. After I attended SEEK, some new opportunities have come my way, leading me to think that museum work is not the career path for me. At this point, I will go wherever God leads me!
Q. Anything else you’d like to share in this feature story?
A. For anyone interested in the Loyola Society, we meet on the second and last Wednesday of the month at 12:30 in Jackson basement. We usually have a local priest, Fr. Andrew Jones, pastor of St. Jude Catholic Church, come to talk about some aspect of Catholicism as well as answer questions. His contact information is 334-659-5595. My contact information is 256-227-3755. Follow the Loyola Society on Instagram @hcloyolasociety.
Huntingdon College, in accordance with Title IX and Section 106.8 of the 2020 Final Rule under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, other applicable federal and state law, and stated College policy, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Similarly, it prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age and/or national origin in its education program