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Kristin Popik Burns, Christendom founding faculty member, dies

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Kristin Popik Burns, a founding faculty member of Christendom College in Front Royal with Warren Carroll, died from cancer April 1. She was 69.

A wake will be held in the crypt of Christ the King Chapel from 6 - 8:50 p.m. Burns will lie in repose inside the chapel all evening following the wake. Her funeral Mass will take place at 1 p.m. in the chapel, followed by burial in the Founders' Graveyard behind the Regina Coeli main administrative building. Faculty, staff, alumni and their families, as well as family friends, are invited to a reception in St. Lawrence Commons around 2:30 p.m. Donations may be made to the Christendom College Graduate School of Theology in lieu of flowers.  

“Words cannot express what should be expressed in this moment,” said R.J. Matava, Burns’ successor as dean of the graduate school. “Kris was a talented philosopher, an extraordinary teacher, an outstanding colleague and a dear friend to so many of us. Her impact on those who surrounded her is immeasurable. She seamlessly exemplified in her manner of living the virtues she taught in the classroom.”

She created an online graduate school for Christendom in 2009, allowing students to earn a master’s in theological studies.

Burns earned her bachelor’s from the University of Dallas and her master’s degree from Niagara University in Niagara Falls, N.Y., where she taught for several years. 

She served as Carroll’s assistant for two years at the Christian Commonwealth Institute of Spain and was the first woman to earn a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. 

Burns headed the philosophy department and served as the first dean of women. She was a former Richard Weaver Fellow, and specialized in the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, and was a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

She became dean of the Notre Dame Catechetical Institute in 2002, instituting new programs, including the Vita Consecrata Institute hosted on Christendom’s Front Royal campus during the summer. In 2007, she helped make the graduate school the location of the permanent diaconate program for the Diocese of Arlington.

She is survived by her husband, Michael, children Greg, Karen and Edward, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019