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SMC healing garden promotes community

| Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Saint Mary’s Justice Education Student Advisory Committee (JSAC) will plant a healing garden on campus Saturday afternoon. Caylin McCallick, junior and student assistant for JSAC, said the creation of a healing garden is a practice in reappraisal.

“It’s turning something bad into something good,” she said. “It can be really therapeutic, so I wanted to do the healing garden because there was a lot of negativity going around. It was something that I thought would help me and I thought maybe it would help other people to heal from things that have been bad and maybe see something good.

The healing garden will be planted around the Lizzy Seeberg Memorial Garden, McCallick said. Seeberg, a first year at the College in 2010, killed herself after reporting that she had been sexually assaulted by Prince Shembo, who was at the time a Notre Dame football player.

Sr. Eva Hooker, a faculty member of the English department, will say a prayer over the garden before the planting, McCallick said, and each student will then receive a packet of seeds and a piece of paper.

“You can write down something really hard that you’ve been through. It could be sexual assault or sexual violence, or it could be something like anxiety or a really stressful money situation or anything that’s been bothering you,” she said. “We’re going to plant that and have something beautiful.”

McCallick said there will also be wooden stakes in the ground where students can write something positive they learned from the hard situations they went through.

“In the ground there’s something bad, and above ground is something good,” she said.

JSAC is also sponsoring a screening of “The Hunting Ground” on Thursday night, McCallick said.

“We recognize that the movie is kind of jarring for a lot of people and can bring up a lot of emotions,” she said. “We wanted to do a reminder that these issues are real and we are in a community in which we can support each other and grow in our healing together.”

The healing garden will be a place for students to join in solidarity with each other, McCallick said.

“It would be a good opportunity to be surrounded by people who have had struggles,” she said. “We need to build a community of survivors. We’ve all been a survivor of some trial in our lives. If we come together and bond over those issues, I think we can create a better community on our campus. … I want somewhere at Saint Mary’s to be a place of healing where you can see that other people have gone through problems and things have grown out of those experiences,” she said.

Sophomore and JSAC member Morgan Matthews said all are welcome to attend, regardless of the perceived severity of the struggle they have been through.

“It’s healing yourself if something happened to you,” she said. “You don’t even have to come and plant. You can come as a support system, just to be there.”

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About Nicole Caratas

Nicole is a senior English Writing and Humanistic Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. Now a senior news writer, she previously served as the Saint Mary's Editor. She was born in real Chicago but grew up in the suburbs, and she currently lives in Opus Hall.

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