Faculty Spotlight: Helenanne Hochendoner

Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh Pa. I actually grew up in a suburb called Baldwin Borough and later moved to an area called Elizabeth which is in the southernmost part of Allegheny County. Unlike quite a few people these days, I have never lived anywhere else.

What is your area of research and teaching?

My area of teaching has been Biblical Studies with a concentration on women in Scripture. Most of my research has been in this area. However, I am also interested in and have researched Second Temple Judaism.

What attracted you to this subject?

What attracted me to this subject was my love for Scripture coupled with my growth of understanding in how deep and rich the Bible is in meaning. This nourishes and grows my faith, my love for God, and my fellow human beings. My interest in women came about as I understood women in Scripture too had a huge part in God’s plan of salvation and that it needs to be part of the Church’s conversation and reflection.

How did you come to teach at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary?

My start at the seminary began with the online teaching program. I was asked to develop and present a certificate class on any subject of my choosing. Since I had been wisely counseled in the past to speak about what I am interested in, know, and love, I taught a course on women in the Bible. Later, I was asked to teach Introduction to Scripture, an online seminary credit course.

How many years have you taught at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary?

I am a newbie at the seminary! January 2020 will mark my first full year teaching here.

What is the most challenging part of teaching for you?

The most challenging part of teaching for me is this. I love what I have learned about Scripture, indeed, I have learned so much that it has grown my faith and increased my love for others. So- I want to share everything I have learned. But – that is impossible to do with any one course. It has to be focused and to the point so the objectives for the class are reached. Too much extraneous information can hinder that. Therefore, I have to be careful not to go down bunny holes as they say.

State one thing you wish you had known in your undergraduate days.

Stating the one thing I wish I would have known in my undergrad days is a difficult question. Off the top of my head and with some reflection there still is no clear cut answer. What I assume from this silence is my path to here and now needed to take place exactly as it did. Every hard lesson I had to learn was necessary for me to be where I am today.

What experiences have shaped you spiritually?

Two experiences stand out as shaping me spiritually. First was a Stephen Covey workshop. One aspect of this workshop is an awareness of what is the most important thing in life to you. Without much difficulty I got it down to two answers. And that is where the difficulty began. It was between God and my family. After sitting there staring and thinking, I chose God. What I have come to see, with God’s grace, loving God more means I love my family, and now others, better. The second experience was my time as a seminary student. The mission of the school is to make disciples… which they do, academically and spiritually; with care, kindness, and love.

What do you do to de-stress?

I walk, hike, and ride a bike to destress. I love to be outside and moving. My best de-stressor, which I wish I could do more often, is horseback riding. When I am on a horse I feel so calm, close to nature, and therefore closer to God. It gives me a true appreciation for his beautiful creation.

Cat or dog person?

I am both a cat and dog person. I have had just cats, just dogs or both at the same time. I like that cats are independent and dogs are your very best friend.

If you are interested in having Helenanne—or any of our faculty—speak at your next event, visit www.bcs.edu/faculty-directory.

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