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The Saint Mary’s we have inherited

| Friday, August 19, 2016

I feel like I’m starting college all over again. The anticipation, the enthusiasm — and the nerves — associated with that milestone have resurfaced as I prepare to join the incoming class of 2020 on an exciting new adventure at Saint Mary’s.

In a few short months since being appointed president, I’ve been the beneficiary of the community spirit that infuses the tri-campus — Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross. I’m excited to build upon the good and strong partnerships between our schools. My predecessor, Carol Ann Mooney, has been generous with her support, while colleagues, alumnae and students have welcomed me into the family, exhibiting the inclusive character that defines the College. Everyone has made my South Bend homecoming warm and wonderful.

I welcome our incoming and returning students to a new academic year with the same open arms. And I issue a challenge to us all: Let us be worthy of the Saint Mary’s we have inherited, striving every day to live up to the founding spirit of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, who continue to lead us by example, and to the standard set by all those who have come before us.

Pope Francis recently articulated, in his inimitable way, what a wounded world needs from its young people. During his visit to Poland for World Youth Day, the Pope issued a call to lace up your boots and confront global problems with action.

Suffering viewed on a screen might seem distant, he said, lulling young people into becoming “couch potatoes.” Those fortunate enough to be the beneficiaries of Saint Mary’s extraordinary educational and spiritual experience should be the first on their feet.

Throughout its history, Saint Mary’s leaders, students and alumnae have risen to the challenges of their time. The start of a new academic year is an ideal moment to reflect on their example and consider how we can follow in their footsteps. We are witnessing human suffering resulting from social injustice, religious intolerance, and environmental degradation. The world needs Saint Mary’s inspired leaders, perhaps now more than ever.

Let’s rise to meet that need. As Pope Francis reminds us, “Life is always beautiful when we choose to live it fully, when we choose to leave a mark.”

Jan Cervelli
Saint Mary’s College
Aug. 18

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