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President returns to SMC roots

Katie Kohler | Thursday, September 22, 2005

Saint Mary’s College President Carol Mooney spoke Wednesday about her experiences this past summer at the 2005 International Session in Holy Cross Spirituality in Le Mans, France from June 20 to 30.

Her audience included faculty, Sisters of the Holy Cross, Board of Trustee members and alumni of the college.

Mooney was introduced by current President of the Holy Cross sisters, Sister Joy O’Grady, who offered kind words on Mooney’s achievements at Saint Mary’s since her inauguration last year.

O’Grady highlighted her attention to higher education, Catholic vision, leadership and administrative qualities and her dedication to her work and her community.

“[Mooney] has created a first class academic institution with moral depth,” O’Grady said.

O’Grady also laid the foundation of the presentation by explaining the preface of such the trip and its members. She described it as, “a hands-on experience of our heritage and ministries that initiated in Le Mans, France.”

Mooney and her husband, George Efta, were among the six lay participants on the trip to Le Mans along which included forty-two Holy Cross sisters, brothers and priests.

Several countries were also represented in this group including the United States, Canada, France, Bangladesh, Ghana and Haiti.

Mooney’s presentation included pictures of her trip and background history of the Holy Cross order and its evolution from Le Mans, France to South Bend, Ind. She also linked the earliest visionaries of the order such as Father Dujarié and Father Basil Moreau to their successors of Father Edward Sorin and Sister Angela Gillespie.

The educational philosophy of the Brothers of the Holy Cross, according to Mooney, was revolutionary in that it included a full range of secular knowledge and education of the heart. Mooney described it as “having nothing to fear from knowledge.”

“It was not the history that so much touched me [here], but the spirituality,” Mooney said. Furthermore, she referenced the hospitality of the Holy Cross congregation by relating it to her own life.

“I have worked with branches of Holy Cross in one way or another for twenty-five years, and I have always felt like I was walking outside of a circle of intimacy,” Mooney said. “But after these ten days, I felt as though the circle has been extended to me; rather, I was invited inside.”

On the same note, Mooney said that the ten days she spent in France has done more than “twenty-five years of walking around the edge [of the circle] had not done.”

To conclude the presentation, Mooney opened the floor for questions from the audience. Her final remarks illustrated the point that O’Grady made in her introduction, referring to her dedication to Saint Mary’s.

“When I came here a little over one year ago, I realized that I had the responsibility to look forward,” Mooney said, “but not leave behind what has been given to us.”