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Saint Mary’s community celebrates the importance of heritage

| Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Sisters of the Holy Cross are central to Saint Mary’s College’s history and identity. Every year, the College’s community comes together for Heritage Week to celebrate the past that created today’s Saint Mary’s.

The Mission Committee, part of the Student Government Association and the Alumnae Relations Committee, runs Heritage Week. Senior Kayse McGough, student representative to the Alumnae Association Board of Directors, said heritage helps create the identity of a Saint Mary’s woman.

“Heritage to me, in terms of Heritage Week at Saint Mary’s, is celebrating the history and mission of Saint Mary’s College,” she said. “We try to create a week that incorporates events that are very nostalgic of past Saint Mary’s traditions and events that speak to the mission of the College. The reason we have Heritage Week and the reason I think it’s important is because it helps us remember and define what it means to be a Belle through service and through remembering our alumnae and the foundation that they built for us.”

McGough said being a Belle encompasses many different meanings, such as being compassionate and seeking justice for others. She said Heritage Week events, like a service event and a panel of alumnae speakers, emphasize these characteristics.

“This is the first year we’ve incorporated a service event, which I’m very excited about,” McGough said. “We’re making tie blankets that we’ve had alumnae from all different clubs across the country donate fleece to us. We’re making the tie blankets for the South Bend community, for children’s hospitals and the South Bend homeless center.”

The final event of the week reflects the community’s appreciation for the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

“The last [event] is making thank-you cards for the Sisters” McGough said. “We always try to incorporate something that we can do to give back to the Sisters for all that they’ve given us, especially the rich heritage and history that we celebrate during Heritage Week.”

Mission Committee co-chair Madeleine Corcoran, a junior, said in an email she has a great appreciation for the Sisters of the Holy Cross and what they’ve done for the community.

“We are celebrating the people and faith that has built Saint Mary’s College,” Corcoran said. “The Sisters of the Holy Cross have built the strong foundation of our school that we call our home away from home and our community that we consider our second family.”

Corcoran said the importance of remembering the College’s heritage includes remembering the Sisters of the Holy Cross and what they’ve done for the community.

“These women have paved a path before us: a path of faith, strength and perseverance,” Corcoran said. “They remind us to be strong and independent, while staying true to our values and faith.”

McGough said she hopes to continue to contribute to the heritage of Saint Mary’s College after she graduates. It is remembering this heritage, she said, that will allow the College’s continued growth.

“Progressing as a college means that we have to build on remembering and celebrating our history and mission,” she said.

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