Divine Mercy University Graduates: Changing the Culture

Imagine you are a highly educated professional in a job that helps people in need.  Maybe they are people in a personal crisis. Perhaps they are just teenagers going through the traumas that beset most teens.

Your work isn’t exactly academic, but it relies on your training and experience. And dealing with people in need, you sometimes wish you had the knowledge of psychology that would help you unlock the keys to meet those needs. You have a Christian outlook on the world and want to change the culture by helping one soul at a time.

You don’t want to pack your bags and go off to college, contemplating theory behind ivy-covered walls. You don’t have time to leave you job to study – in fact, you want your studies to make you better at your job.

Divine Mercy’s online Master’s Degree in Psychology is designed to serve your needs if this description rings true in your head and heart.  DMU is equipping professionals to excel in the real world.

The university is sponsored by the Legionaries of Christ and many members of its affiliated lay movement, Regnum Christi, have played a key role in the founding and growth of this institution dedicated to forming what Pope Francis calls “missionary disciples.” That doesn’t mean all the graduates, faculty, staff and students are Regnum Christi members. In fact, those involved come from a wide range of religious traditions. But all are dedicated to presenting a better way, a Catholic way, to the world.

Participants of the program apply what they learn in a remarkable variety of roles. Several recent graduates of the program share how the program makes them better equipped to make a difference in the lives of individuals and the world. They are just a sample of the DMU grads having an impact in a culture that needs change. Three of the four participated in the online program that grants a MS in psychology.  One – Michelle McLaughlin – attended the “in-person” program at DMU that grants a MS in clinical psychology.


Accompanying Teen Girls Through the Challenging Years

I was born and raised in Clarkston, Michigan, spent some time discerning a vocation to consecrated life in Regnum Christi, then got a BA in Mathematics and Secondary Education at University of Detroit Mercy. I’ve worked at Everest Collegiate High School & Academy, Clarkston, since the beginning of January 2010.

After years of working with adolescents and traveling my own personal journey and seeing the importance of the field of psychology as a complement to spiritual formation, my spiritual director asked me, “When you go back to school what would you like to study?” I thought it was a bit presumptuous that she thought I would be pursuing another degree, but as usual, she was right. I told her I was interested in studying psychology but I just didn’t know how or where. My dream had always been to study at DMU but I was in Detroit and for the moment it didn’t seem that I was meant to relocate to the DC area. She told me that they had just opened an online program and I think I applied within the month.

I didn’t pursue a degree from DMU in order to change careers but rather to complement my current career. I have the opportunity to work with many middle school and high school students, and I wanted more resources to be able to help them navigate these critical years of their lives.

Michelle C. McLaughlin

Guiding Victims Through Traumatic Times

I come from a Catholic family with two older brothers and two younger sisters.  I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but Dad worked for the government so I grew up all over the world, moving every few years for a new position.  My early years were spent in Karlsruhe Germany where I attended kindergarten. My elementary school years were spend in Texas and Pennsylvania. My first job was picking strawberries on a farm near our house in PA.  I graduated High School in Texas and went to College in South Carolina, but graduated from the University of North Carolina (Wilmington) with a BA in Communications. My work history includes Hospital Administration, being a US Army Medical Service Corps Officer, and working as an Emergency Medical Technician.

Upon moving to Virginia with my husband and two sons after his retirement from the Marine Corps, I wanted to find a job but was not sure where I wanted to work. I started volunteering with my church (St. Agnes in Arlington) and also with their homebound ministry taking communion to the shut-ins nursing homes, and hospitals. I really enjoyed working with the elderly and the joy of bringing them communion was very special.

A few years prior to our move to Arlington I had a “reversion” of faith and was deeply motivated to learn as much as I could about my faith and how to live accordingly. So when IPS (former name of DMU) kept coming up, I went to adoration to pray about it.  I also picked up a book on St. Ignatius and followed the structured path of discernment.  I felt God was calling me to go to IPS and to become a therapist who could have faith as part of the healing.

My interest in psychology came late in life (I was 50 when I started IPS) and it’s really a second career after I retired from the Army.  A year before I started thinking about IPS, I was asked by a close military friend to help her write a paper on the effects of deployment on reserve military members.  She had deployed multiple times and came back different, she was feeling many effects of PTSD and did not feel like she was getting adequate care. Since I was a part of the Army Medical Department I had access to the research and literature on current treatment of PTSD.  We co-authored the paper and presented it to the Armed Forces Reserve Board, where many of our recommendations were accepted.

Currently I am working full-time for the Federal Government in emergency management, medical policy and synchronization. I am part of a working group addressing prevention of workplace violence, suicide/ domestic violence and other threats to personnel safety. I work with other Psychologist and Mental Health providers in the context of National Security professionals.

I am currently pursuing my certification in Traumatology through DMU’s Trauma Program. DMU showed me what the integration of faith into work should be. It’s more than just being able to mention God in a therapy session but also the unspoken words and respect for the dignity of another.  To see what God has created in our human-ness and our purposes to serve him through caring for others. My faith can’t be separated from my work.  I start each day in prayer and reading, trying to bring God close before I start the work day.

Sr. Okechi Njoku

Healing Hearts in the Wake of Ebola

I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and attended grammar and secondary schools in that city. My college education was at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra – and I did my post-graduate work at Montessori College. London.

I’ve been a head teacher at two schools and supervisor of the CARITAS schools in Sierra Leone.  Today, I’m director of the Holy Rosary Counseling and Peace Centre in Sierra Leone. Our order has been in the country since 1948, helping people through every sort of crisis from civil war to the Ebola epidemic.

I enrolled in the DMU program because I felt I needed something more to add to my understanding of a human person in order to help humans to flourish. I like the DMU understand of the Catholic-Christian vision of a human person.

I am engaged in teaching psychology in my center and offering professional help to clients. From the DMU work I have learned to be more understanding, empathetic, and compassionate. My faith helps me to instill hope and encourage my clients no matter what their problem. I identify with their innate dignity, and respect them accordingly.

After my DMU studies, I treat my workers, those around me and myself with more respect.  I am more patient with myself and others. I work as a transformational leader nowadays.

Mary Monette

Unsticking Souls so They can Flourish

Even though I’m a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi, I didn’t choose DMU because of its affiliation with our Movement. It was because the program was what I needed.

When I starting thinking about graduate school, I was working at a school in Guadalajara, Mexica. In fact, I’m been working in schools for 20 years. I thought I would go to a campus to study, perhaps Anahuac University in Mexico City, or the University of Dallas.

Then I was transferred to Pinecrest Academy in Atlanta, and the idea of going away to grad school was on hold. Still, I knew there were online programs, so I started doing research and discovered DMU had just what I was looking for.

Another new assignment sent me to the Holy Land, first to Jerusalem, then to Magdala. But with the online program, I could continue my education which doing my job. And throughout my life as a consecrated, a big part of my job has been providing spiritual counseling to people – something I knew the DMU degree would help me do even better.

The key at DMU is the faculty.  They are nice people, qualified in the science of psychology, and have the faith fully integrated into the program.

My idea is to know more to help more – I have a responsibility to give to people what they need.

I want people to flourish. Often people have one “stopper “that keeps them from being what they could be. They just need a little help to bring out their best.

The Program

The Master’s in Psychology is a 36- credit hour, 100 percent online graduate program that is designed to be completed in two years of enrolled study. The online masters in psychology program provides professional competency in psychology while developing an integrative understanding of the human person in application to service delivery. This online masters in psychology program seeks to exhibit advanced professional skills such as communication, interpersonal, leadership skills, budgeting, program evaluation, and cultural awareness in order to enable growth as a transformational leader in a service-delivery setting.

Through DMU’s unique curriculum, students become a transformational leader, strengthened by Catholic-Christian teachings on human dignity and informed by foundations in modern psychology. DMU specializes in a psychology curriculum that roots every course in a Catholic-Christian understanding of the human person. How will this online masters in psychology program impact your career or vocation.

By understanding the whole person and not just their behaviors, participants are prepared to:


  • Help people to flourish in their personal vocations and daily life.
  • Build and maintain relationships with clients, manage cases, and facilitate groups.
  • Act effectively in situations where de-escalation, negotiation, and crisis intervention are needed.
  • Examine in-depth theory and research associated with the diagnosis and treatment of common psychological problems.
  • Recognize the integrity and dignity of each person you encounter.
  • Recruit and lead a volunteer team.
  • Integrate research and program evaluation data to improve your practice and the delivery of services.

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