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Cervelli plants Trinity Tree ahead of inauguration

| Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Preceding her inauguration this Saturday, College President Jan Cervelli went out on a limb and planted a tree outside Spes Unica Hall on Tuesday, reminding students to remember their roots at the College while also engaging with the tri-campus community.

Saint Mary’s deemed this river birch tree the Trinity Tree because it grows with three connected trunks, symbolizing the Holy Cross congregation’s vision for unity among Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross College, according to a press release.

Br. Jesus Alonso, College President Jan Cervelli, University President Fr. John Jenkins and Notre Dame student body President Corey Robinson participate in the planting of the Trinity Tree on Tuesday.Anna Mason

Br. Jesus Alonso, College President Jan Cervelli, University President Fr. John Jenkins and Notre Dame student body President Corey Robinson participate in the planting of the Trinity Tree on Tuesday.

The Trinity Tree will remind people to reflect on the shared values and interests of the three institutions, Cervelli said.

“Our collection of three campuses is special,” she said. “They’re all beautiful, and they all have the most exciting and engaged intellectual activities on them.”

Cervelli said the Trinity Tree will foster unity while helping Saint Mary’s honor its Holy Cross tradition.

“Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Holy Cross congregation and a guiding light for us today, foresaw that ‘Holy Cross will grow like a mighty tree,’” Cervelli said. “The Trinity Tree symbolizes the partnership between the tri-campus schools and our commitment to higher education in the Catholic tradition.”

University President Fr. John Jenkins said the Trinity Tree will help preserve the interconnectedness of the three schools.

“The image of a tree is a sign of the relationships between Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross and Notre Dame, which really does go back to the founders of these institutions,” Jenkins said. “A dear friendship, a close friendship, has bonded these institutions for many, many years and will continue to do so.”

Community members thrive when all three campuses support one another, as evidenced by the consistently high work ethic of Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross students, Jenkins said.

“You can’t force [young people] to be anything, but you try to give them the environment that will allow them to grow and flourish,” Jenkins said. “We look forward to continuing the work of education that has gone on in this place for almost 175 years, and we look forward to a wonderful future.”

According to Jenkins, the Colleges and University must tend to the needs of their community members just as planters protect and nurture their trees.

“Of itself, kind of mysteriously, [a tree] grows, and that’s true of education,” Jenkins said. “[Moreau] said ‘Education is the art of bringing a young person to completeness.’”

Br. Jesus Alonso, vice president for strategic initiatives at Holy Cross College, said all the branches of Moreau’s religious vision must collaborate for the tri-campus community to reach its full potential.

“When we talk about the Holy Cross tradition, we’re all stronger when we have the sisters, the priests and the brothers working together,” Alonso said. “Blessed Basil Moreau … saw his religious family as a tree that constantly shoots forth new limbs and branches and is nourished by the same life-giving sap.”

According to Alonso, the Trinity Tree will help students grow in understanding of the rich history of their schools.

“[Moreau] dedicated the priests to the sacred heart of Jesus, the sisters to the heart of Mary, the brothers to Saint Joseph and the entire congregation to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows,” Alonso said. “The threefold relation of father, son and spirit has found true expression in the relation of Saint Mary’s College, Holy Cross College and the University of Notre Dame.”

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About Martha Reilly

Martha is a senior majoring in English literature and political science. She currently serves as Saint Mary's editor but still values the Oxford comma in everyday use.

Contact Martha