Monica Ashour, MTS, M Hum
President, Author, and National Speaker
Holding two Masters from the University of Dallas—one in Theological Studies and one in Humanities, Monica Ashour is an author, national speaker, and President for the Theology of the Body Evangelization Team, known as TOBET. Named in 2010 by The Catholic National Register as one of the top six speakers on Saint John Paul’s seminal work known as the Theology of the Body, Monica has published several works:
- ToB for Tots for 1-4 year olds
- ToB for Kids for 5-8 year olds, published by Pauline Books and Media.
Monica and her team wrote the Theology of the Body Marriage Preparation book. TOBET’s marriage prep program has been lauded by Cardinal Dolan of New York and Archbishop Aquila in Denver. Monica is also published through Ascension Press in the following works:
- “Social Networking: How to Plug in without Tuning Out”
- The Parent’s Guide for The Theology of the Body for Teens: Middle School Edition
- She was the consultant for The Theology of the Body for Teens: Middle School Edition
In May 2015, she was a participant for an ad hoc committee for the Pontifical Council for the Family with Archbishop Paglia who advises Pope Francis. In November 2011, Monica presented a talk about how to teach teens TOB at the Theology of the Body International Symposium in Rome. She was also a participant in the International Summit on Lay Leadership with Cardinal Arinze in Rome.
Before becoming a national speaker, Monica served as a campus minister at St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Texas A&M University from 1996 to 1999. There she launched the now nationwide Nun Run, in which young women travel around the nation visiting convents. Before and after her stint at St. Mary’s, Monica enjoyed 20 years teaching theology and literature in the high school classroom.
Monica was the recipient of Bishop Farrell’s 2008 Pro-Life Award for Civic Action and was recently named to the Hall of Fame for her alma mater, Nolan Catholic High School in Ft. Worth. Monica was awarded by the Catholic Press Association for Honorable Mention—First Time Author of a Book, Everybody Has Something to Give. She also received the Excellence in Publishing Award for Children’s Books for her Every BODY Has a Body: God Made Us to Love.
Sheryl Collmer, MTS
Director of Outreach, Trained TOBET Speaker
Sheryl Collmer comes to us from California where she planned and taught a variety of adult education series, as well as programs for teens. Her topics have included apologetics, the role of the laity, the Jewish roots of Catholicism and the theology of the body. Sheryl has taught Scripture and Catholic morality to teens in both high school and youth group settings, and led her parish youth group to World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain in 2011. She is an active Toastmaster, a published author and an endurance athlete. Sheryl holds a Master’s in Theological Studies from the University of Dallas IRPS.
Gabriel and Carola Egusquiza
Trained TOBET speakers, Hablan Español
Gabriel has been involved in church activities since a very young age. He started as a catechist in Lima, Peru. He’s participated in missionary trips for several years with Franciscan priests. Gabriel studied Lab Technology and Physical Therapy, careers that opened the doors of the Southwestern Hospital in Dallas where he worked for several years as a phlebotomist for a heart disease research. Gabriel was also motivated to positively impact his community by founding the Peruvian Association of Dallas Fort Worth (APDFW) in 2002, a non-profit organization that works to promote the integration of the Hispanic, and the American cultures and their rich diversity. For his efforts, and leadership in the APDFW, he’s been invited to the White House on three occasions to be part of celebrations of the Hispanic Heritage.
Carola received her education at Maria Auxiliadora, a Catholic school in Lima, Peru. She received formation in her Catholic faith from Salesian priests and nuns at the school, where she also participated in missionary trips, retreats, and Marian groups throughout the years. Carola pursued the Child Growth and Development associates degree in a community college in Dallas; she worked 7 years for the non-profit program ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) where she was a Bilingual Public Outreach Specialist. A freelance muralist, she’s painted murals for children in three WIC (Women Infant and Children) clinics as donations for the cities of Dallas, Irving and Carrollton, TX. Along with her husband Gabriel, she now manages her own business in Dallas.
Since their arrival to the USA, Gabriel and Carola Egusquiza have been continuously involved in evangelization programs together. For about 10 years, they served as facilitators of FOCCUS, a program designed to give pre-nuptial preparation to engaged couples. They’ve also received preparation in the “Prayer and Life Workshops” (TOV) founded by Father Ignacio Larrañaga where, they taught groups, not only how to pray but to learn different ways to hear God in prayer. They discovered TOBET in 2015 when attending a presentation in their parish given by Monica Ashour. She offered them a new opportunity to evangelize by being presenters of the TOBET program for engaged couples for the Spanish speaking community, a challenge that they willingly accepted, and continue to the present day.
Alex and April Johannigman
Trained TOBET speakers
Alex discovered the Theology of the Body in 2012 by attending a TOBET young adult book study and has been hooked ever since. In 2013 God called him to serve those living on the margins by becoming a missionary with a ministry called Christ in the City where he served the homeless of Denver. He now works as a business analyst and is an active leader at their parish young adult group and other various evangelization activities. Alex holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University and a Master’s in Theological Studies from The University of Dallas.
April discovered Theology of the Body as a freshman in college, and (slowly) learned to let it form her friendships, relationships and the way she sees the world. She graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and minors in Theology and Catholic Studies. After moving to Dallas in 2014, April (who met Alex during their graduate studies at UD) attended the TOBET book study and found herself hired as the marketing and development manager for TOBET! Alex and April were married in July 2016 and are thankful for the incredible blessing that the Theology of the Body has been in their marriage. They enjoy sharing St. John Paul’s wisdom with kids, high school students, and engaged couples preparing for marriage.
Trained TOBET speaker
Sara Gudde grew up on a farm outside of a small town in Southeast Kansas. She studied at Kansas State University and at the University of Salamanca in Spain before moving to Irving, Texas in 2011 to pursue a Masters Degree in Theology at the University of Dallas Braniff Graduate School. In her time at the University of Dallas, Sara specialized in Moral Theology and Marriage Theology. Sara holds a Bachelor’s in Science from K-State and a Master’s in Theology from the University of Dallas and has taught for six years in a variety of schools: public, private, Catholic, ecumenical, home-school, and tutoring.
In her leisure time, Sara enjoys spending time outdoors (especially in places where stars are actually visible), reading great books, eating good food, and working towards bridging the false divide between Faith and Reason in modern culture. She maintains close ties to the University of Dallas and the nearby Cistercian Monastery where she regularly attends mass. If she could go back in time in order to meet any historical figure (other than Jesus), she would definitely choose St. John Chrysostom. Or St. Joan of Arc. Or Boethius (in order to save his lost works on Math & Science in the Quadrivium).
Though teaching middle school and high school is both a full-time job and a full-time ministry, Sara loves taking the time to be a guest speaker for TOBET and for other Catholic and ecumenical organizations in the DFW area. Sara has had the pleasure of speaking on a variety of topics; lately this has included:
- Sentimentality vs. True Compassion, TOBET
- Virtue and Vice: Getting Life in Order, St. Monica’s Catholic Church
- The True Purpose of Marriage: Q&A session in response to the Obergefell vs. Hodges Supreme Court decision, CSD
- Gender Identity Issues: Charity in Truth, TOBET
- Virtue in the Professional World, Young Catholic Professionals
- Catholic Social Justice: Rights and Responsibilities, St. Monica’s Catholic Church
- The Beatitudes: How to be Happy, RCIA Guest Speaker
- The Relationship between Classical Mathematics and Theology, Faculty Lyceum
- Star-gazing: Life to the Tune of the Music of the Spheres, The Lewis-Tolkien Society