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Heritage Week to showcase SMC traditions

| Monday, February 2, 2015

heritage-week-graphic-WEBKeri O'Mara

“We promise you discovery: the discovery of yourselves, the discovery of the universe and your place in it. We promise that you will find these marked by the Cross, that you will take possession of them in the name of the Holy Cross, our legacy and your birthright.”

This quote by the College’s third president, Sr. Madeleva Wolff has now become synonymous with the meaning of a Saint Mary’s education for students, student government association (SGA) mission chair Sarah Prezek said.

The quote was therefore an easy choice for this year’s Heritage Week t-shirts, part of the week-long celebration designed for students to consider the history and traditions of the College, dating back to its earliest years, Prezek said.

“Heritage Week is one of the only times on campus where there are numerous opportunities to really engage with the many Belles who have gone before us and who have shaped Saint Mary’s into the great place it is today,” Prezek said.

Prezek, along with the student alumnae committee, planned the week’s events, which kicked off on Sunday with a Mass at 4 p.m. in Le Mans Chapel.

“I remember my first Saint Mary’s Mass as a freshman, and I barely knew anything about the College at that time, except that Le Mans [Hall] used to function as more than just a student dorm,” senior Mandy Gilbert said.

“But now, after attending different Heritage Week events and being aware of all of the history and traditions that surround the school with the convent and everything, I was much more appreciative of the kick-off Mass that set the tone for the rest of the week,” Gilbert said.

Monday, the week begins with Archive Tours in the basement of Madeleva Hall, led by College archivist John Kovach. Kovach, who specializes in the history of women’s baseball and also helps organize all of the exhibits in the Cushwa-Leighton library, will share information on the many trinkets and keepsakes from the early years at Saint Mary’s, Prezek said.

“The Archives have a little bit of everything, from past student scrapbooks dating to the early 20th century to diaries and journals of former students and sisters,” Prezek said. “Every time I enter the Archives, it’s like traveling back through time and seeing what the lives of all of my fellow Belles were like in the College’s early years.”

Also on Monday, and continuing on Tuesday, is a photo-op event in the Student Center Atrium, which will run both days during lunch time, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The photo-op event is new this year, sparked by senior Nora Clougherty’s success with the idea for the promotion of “One Day Without Shoes” for her own club, TOMS SMC campus club.

The photo-op allows students to pose with large frames and/or black and white photos of former SMC students and then post the photos to social media sites to promote Heritage Week, Clougherty said.

“Social media these days has become such a great way to spread news and share memories. Especially with the use of the hashtag, it makes it easy to see what other people have to say on the subject,” Clougherty said.

Tuesday, the week continues with the ever-popular Riedinger House teas, Prezek said. Riedinger House, a small English cottage on campus hidden among trees and gardens, is an odd commodity for students, who continually wonder what the inside of the house is like.

“Riedinger House was originally built in 1939 and used as laboratory for home economics students, which used to be a major here,” Prezek said. “Students would actually live there to practice full-time domestic tasks, which is quite different from the uses of our other College ‘laboratories’ now.”

Two tea times will occur on Tuesday: the first at 2 p.m. and the second at 5 p.m. Students must RSVP on OrgSync, as there are limited spots, Prezek said.

Wednesday continues with the annual Heritage Week Dinner, which will be in Stapleton Lounge of Le Mans Hall at 5 p.m. The Dinner, featuring an upscale menu and business casual attire, is offered to juniors and seniors only, along with various members of the College faculty and board members.

At the dinner, Sr. Veronique Wiedower, president of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, will present a comprehensive “history lesson” on the College’s traditions and heritage, Prezek said.

“I’m always amazed when I hear Sister’s lecture, for she is so knowledgeable and there is truly so much that students don’t know about our school,” Prezek said. “Like, for instance, who knew that the school was actually founded in Bertrand, Michigan?”

On Thursday, a “Then and Now” poetry reading will take place in the top floor of the library at 6 p.m., hosted in counterpart with the staff of the SMC literary and art magazine, “Chimes.”

The reading will feature poems from past students that were published in “Chimes” magazines dating back to 1892, which will be read aloud by various professors from the department of English at Saint Mary’s, Prezek said. The poems address the theme of college life and academia, as well as nature poems about South Bend.

In addition, a number of current students, including many from the “Chimes” staff, have signed on to write original poems about what Saint Mary’s means to them in 2015, Prezek said.

“I’m really looking forward to the poetry event, because I am interested in seeing how poems differed in the past centuries versus the present day,” Gilbert said. “It’s not often that students actually take the time to reflect on their time at Saint Mary’s, let alone in poetic form, so I think it’s a great addition to Heritage Week this year.”

Also on Thursday, Wiedower will give Heritage Room tours at the convent at two times: 9-10 a.m. and 4-5 p.m.

Finally, the week concludes Friday with a Saint Mary’s trivia game during lunch in the dining hall, Prezek said. The game is a fun way for students to put their knowledge of all the fun facts learned throughout the week to the test in an effort to win prizes.

“We want to reward students for going to the events throughout the week and learning more about their Saint Mary’s heritage,” Prezek said. “Plus, this gives students a chance to think about SMC trivia, even if they missed out on tours of the Archives or other things this week.”

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About Kelly Konya

Kelly Konya is an English major bred on Catcher in the Rye and Roman cornettos.

Contact Kelly