Calvert House names Rugen as new chaplain

By Brett Freeman

Father Patrick Rugen, a Catholic priest, officially became the new chaplain and director of Calvert House this past Wednesday for a renewable term of three years. Rugen replaces interim chaplain and director Father Willard Jabusch. With Rugen’s arrival, Jabusch will return to his retirement.

Jabusch filled in for Father Michael Yakaitis, who resigned from Calvert House this past February after allegations surfaced of a sexual relationship he had with an adult student at the Niles Seminary College of Loyola University in 1990. Yakaitis acknowledged the affair and is currently on sabbatical. His long-term plans are unknown at this point.

Rugen has been in the Chicago archdiocese for 29 years. During most of this time, he has taught both high school and college classes, and spent the past four years as a professor of philosophy at St. Mary’s University, in Winona, Minnesota.

Elizabeth Pienta, Calvert House campus minister and certified pastoral associate with the Archdiocese of Chicago, said she was “excited that a new Director and Chaplain has been named so quickly, and specifically before the students leave campus for the summer break.” She said she plans to “welcome Father Rugen to Calvert House and extend the warm hospitality for which our house is known.” During the summer, Pienta and Rugen will meet to exchange and share their visions for Calvert House.

Pienta, as well as Kathy Dujsik, the Calvert House development director, briefly met Father Rugen last week, and they “anticipate that he will be a good person to work with as well as a good match for our community,” according to Pienta.

Nicholas Lund-Molfese, a spokesman for the Chicago Archdiocese, described Rugen’s appointment as an “extensive process” and a “process of input and background checking.” Usually a number of priests apply for various open positions, but because there was an immediate opening at Calvert House, there was an expedited application process. Rugen was chosen for his extensive experience with college students.

Lund-Molfese described the background checks as a standard process for all priests, but said that there was “careful consideration” of the person’s background in the case of Calvert House. Lund-Molfese described the goals of Father Patrick Rugen and the Calvert House as integrating faith with the intellectual pursuits of the faculty, staff, and students at the University.

Kateri Somrak, a third-year in the College and Undergraduate Student Fellowship leader at Calvert House, described her excitement about meeting “Father Pat,” but still misses “Father Mike,” as Yakaitis was affectionately known. She described the former chaplain as “one of the most influential and unconditionally loving individuals I have ever known,” and considers herself “very blessed to have had him in my life.” Somrak said that “Father Mike will be missed greatly, but life is full of changes, and the future holds the possibility of presenting Calvert with another great director.”