Using dramatic performance as a way to advance social justice seems very fitting at a Jesuit school known for its theatre program. Each year, LMU's CSJ Center for Reconciliation and Justice (CSJ) recognizes a handful of 'Hidden Heroes,' or LMU affiliates "whose work and lives unassumingly exemplify justice and reconciliation." The Hidden Heroes are interviewed and their lives turned into dramatic performances, showcased on the day of the awards. Meet Christine Mary Nangle-Koehl, associate director of Campus Ministry, who is one of LMU's five Hidden Heroes this year.
Jordan Boaz (J.B.): What have been the highlights/challenges in your time at LMU?
Christine Mary Nangle-Koehl (C.N.): I’ve worked at [LMU] for more than 14 years and I appreciate the Ignatian values and mission of the university. As part of the leadership of Campus Ministry, I have built strong relationships across campus with staff, faculty and most importantly students. I am the director of retreats and work with students to deepen their faith through the First Year Retreat, Kairos Retreat and Senior Send-Off. My most meaningful experience as a Campus Minister has been the relationships that I have built with the retreat leaders over the years. In addition, I also manage a few members of the campus ministry team and enjoy serving as a mentor in that role.
J.B.: How did you come to be recognized as a Hidden Hero, and how has it felt?
C.N.: Honestly, I don’t think of myself as a hero, so it was very surprising. I respect the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Orange tremendously so it is particularly meaningful that the award is from them.
J.B.: How does your work in Campus Ministry relate to your overall vision for a better world?
C.N.: LMU is a very special place. I believe the experience can transform students and help them to become the best version of themselves as they move into the world in different capacities. So many students I have known have gone on to be advocates for change in all areas of life. Working in ministry has been a huge blessing for me. I have learned so much from my own experiences at LMU as an undergraduate, graduate and as a member of the campus ministry team. I have become a better daughter, wife, mother, and woman from the students, faculty and staff I met at LMU. I hope in some way that I am able to contribute even a fraction of what people at LMU have taught me.
J.B.: Outside of Campus Ministry, what do you enjoy, and what are you passionate about?
C.N.: I love spending time with my family and friends. During this pandemic, I have become fully integrated into my children’s lives in such a different way. My son is doing Kindergarten virtually and it’s incredible to witness him learn and grow! My daughter just started talking and her brain is developing rapidly. I also love going to the beach, walks, dogs, wine, yoga and people.
J.B.: Do you have your own 'Hidden Hero' who has transformed or informed your life?
C.N.: I am lucky because I have had several people who are hidden heroes in my own life. My parents loved and created me into the woman I am today. My husband, Joe, is also supportive, loving, kind and cares for me deeply. I was also very close to a Jesuit priest named, Father Ryan. My son, Ryan, is named after to him. He was a spiritual father to me. Right now, I would say my two children Ryan and McKinley are my heroes. We are all in a very strange time during this pandemic and my children are teaching me the most important lessons; to stay present, pray and appreciate life.
To watch the performance based on Christine Mary Nangle-Koehl and see her accept her award, join CSJ on Zoom for its ninth annual Hidden Heroes event on Oct. 25 at 2 p.m.