No good work is accomplished alone. With this simple acknowledgement, I’d like to offer public gratitude to several people who accompanied and assisted me along the way of completing my doctoral dissertation: “Facilitating a Program of Conscience Formation Among Medical Personnel.”
First and foremost, I wish to thank my Bishop, the Most Revered Robert Guglielmone, DD, for the opportunity to pursue this doctoral work. I greatly appreciate his support, as well as that of the Reverend Monsignor Ronald Cellini, the Vicar of Priest Personnel for the Diocese of Charleston. Monsignor Cellini has been a voice of encouragement and perseverance to me throughout my studies. Additionally, I am grateful to the Reverend Professor Pau Agulles, my thesis director, who has been both clear and patient with me in terms of the content and focus of the work. I am also thankful to the Very Reverend Gregory Wilson, to whom this thesis is dedicated in part, for his friendship and the kind hospitality of his parish during the writing of the thesis.
Closer to my heart, I am profoundly appreciative for the love and witness of my parents, Alan and Frances Kirby. During the writing of this thesis, my mother had turbulent health, which she approached with faith, stamina, and candor. She is my hero! Portions of this thesis were written from her hospital room during her recovery. Both she and my father were the ones who formed my own conscience and have shown me the life of virtue and selfless service, and this type of gift can never be underestimated.
I am also grateful to my brother and sister, who are not only my siblings but two of my closest friends. Additionally, I am appreciative of my nephews and nieces who always wondered “why Uncle Jeff was working on such a big paper” and who never let me take myself too seriously and who always kept me laughing. Thank you, Aaron, Kelsey, and Julia, as well as Alex and Skylar.
In the arena of academic work and discussion, I would commit a grave omission if I did not thank Dr. Blanche Premo-Hopkins, philosophy professor and university administrator emerita, who made extensive amounts of time to read, review, challenge, and affirm the thesis throughout its writing. In so many ways, Blanche has become a dear friend and a cherished mentor. It was an honor for me to dedicate this thesis to her. Additionally, I am grateful to Dr. Steven Millies, a professor of political science, for his friendship, humor, and constant encouragement in the writing of the thesis.
In writing about medical doctors throughout the thesis, I was inspired by the example of Dr. Wayne Frei, a general surgeon who was the lead doctor of my mother’s medical care. I have known Dr. Frei as a parishioner and friend for several years, but it was a great privilege to see him exercise the medical sciences with the virtue of a good doctor and a Christian gentleman. In many ways, he exemplifies the persona of the medical professional of good will described in this thesis.
I am also appreciative to Dr. Steven Platte, an emergency medicine doctor, who was recently ordained a Permanent Deacon. Doctor Platte’s Christian witness shines in his life and in his medical practice. The sacred Order of Deacon is more ennobled by his membership within it.
I am also grateful to Priscilla Estrada, an expert on Christian formation, for our conversations and her counsel, as well as to Kathy Schmugge, the Director of Family Life for the Diocese of Charleston, also for her insights and counsel throughout the work.
Additionally, I am deeply appreciative to Bryan Murdaugh, a friend who always made time to encourage me and help me with “computer stuff.” I’m also grateful to Carole King, a friend and theology graduate student, who was always willing to make time for coffee breaks in order to discuss theology, and who was always willing to help with research and logistical tasks of any sort throughout the writing of the thesis. God’s blessings on her kindness and her own studies.
Last but not least, I am thankful for the friendship of Paul and Ann Haring. Paul and Ann are a powerful example of the Christian vocation of marriage, and they allowed themselves to be “my parish” while I was living in Rome these past few months. Thank you, Paul and Ann, for the meals, conversations, laughter, research assistance, travels outside of Rome, Pentecost at the Pantheon, and so many other great memories!
Thank you also to the Reverend Monsignors Ferdinando Berardi and Joseph Chapel and the Priests of the Casa Santa Maria, North American College, for the priestly fraternity and community these past few months as I was completing my doctoral work.