Bro. Rodney Bowers, SVD
Brother Rodney Bowers enrolled as a seminary student at Divine Word College in 1979 and graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. He earned two Master of Arts degrees – one in theology in 1986 and a second in Christian Spirituality in 1999. Bro. Rodney professed his final vows in 1990 and was assigned to Divine Word College, where he spent nearly twenty years teaching theology classes and working in the formation program. He also served as Associate Dean at DWC for eleven years and completed two terms as Rector. In the summer of 2008, Bro. Rodney was assigned to Techny as the new Novice Director.
An SVD Brother wears many hats
Born in Sigourney, Iowa, Brother Rodney Bowers, SVD, comes from a family of eleven children and has a twin brother. As a junior in high school, he attended a college fair where a booth displaying information about the Society of the Divine Word caught his eye. “I had initially thought of becoming a diocesan priest,” says Bro. Rodney. He talked with Fr. Ed Herberger, SVD, and received an invitation to visit Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa. Of his visit to DWC in November of 1978, Bro. Rodney says, “I got to know the Brothers at the College and became attracted to their ministry. I was especially interested in teaching theology.”
After graduating from high school in 1979, Bro. Rodney came to Epworth as a seminary student. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1983 and went on to the novitiate, professing his first vows in 1984. From 1984-86 he worked in the African American communities of Maurice and Lafayette in Louisiana, teaching in the local high school and serving in parish ministry.
In December of 1990 Bro. Rodney professed his final vows and came full circle, back to Epworth again, teaching theology courses in the place where he was once a student. During these years, he worked in the formation program in addition to his teaching duties. “My work in formation has been very rewarding and challenging,” he says. “I walked with these young men as a teacher and formater as they struggled with their issues and discovered their talents and abilities. It has been a privilege, and the experience has made me a better person.”
Besides his teaching and formation program responsibilities, Bro. Rodney served as Associate Dean at Divine Word College for eleven years. He was also elected Rector and served in this capacity for two terms. “I wore a lot of hats during my time at DWC,” he laughs, “but found out that I did have the skills and abilities to manage everything.” And manage he did, from the small details to the larger ones; helping to keep the college community humming along on an even keel. Gathering news and putting together a summer newsletter was another one of his projects, keeping the students informed of DWC events while they were away. With Bro. Rodney around, Divine Word College was truly a “home away from home” for the students.
College President, Fr. Mike Hutchins, SVD, says, “On behalf of the whole College community, I wish to express a strong word of appreciation for all Bro. Rodney has contributed here at Divine Word College. He has served generously in multiple roles. He took on big and small challenges. He involved himself in any task that was for the good of the community and the College. We wish him God’s blessings as he begins his new assignment…all the best, Bro. Rodney!”
Looking ahead to his new role as Novice Director at Techny, Bro. Rodney says, “I never thought I’d be selected. I am humbled, excited and looking forward to walking with the novices on their spiritual journeys.”
Of his departure from the place that has been home to him for nearly 20 years, Bro. Rodney adds, “It’s very hard to leave. Divine Word College will always have a special place in my heart.”