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College alumnae discuss themes of Saint Mary’s education

| Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Monday afternoon, two Saint Mary’s alumnae discussed the formative impact that their Holy Cross education had on them in a discussion entitled “Landscapes of the Spirit.”

Galicia Guerrero, ’14, and Angie Hollar, ’11, spoke in Stapleton Lounge of how they found their vocation during their time at Saint Mary’s and afterward.

Guerrero said she experienced God’s presence throughout her time at the college and this fact made her preparation for this lecture difficult.

“When I was asked to share my Saint Mary’s story, I felt overwhelmed,” Guerrero said. “There are so many things that I could say about how Saint Mary’s formed me. It felt like such a huge task to summarize numerous ways I was touched by God during and after my time at Saint Mary’s.”

However, this reason was exactly why Guerrero felt it was important to speak about her time at Saint Mary’s and the effects her education has had on her life. She said College President Jan Cervelli spoke of Saint Mary’s mission in the beginning of the school year.

“President Cervelli … echoed what makes up this goal of Saint Mary’s,” Guerrero said. “The current Saint Mary’s goal is ‘an education that defines success by virtue and spirituality, that inspires students to maximize their talents.’ … She [describes] Saint Mary’s women as those with a deep desire to learn and listen, to see one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Guerrero said this goal was actualized during her time at Saint Mary’s, as she was able to develop her sense of self during her four years at the College.

“As a student, I was given opportunities and space to explore every aspect of my identity and gain a sense of strength in myself,” she said. “This, without question, was not due just to academics, but the opportunity to be immersed in a transformative community. At Saint Mary’s, I was given the gift and opportunity not only to learn but to put my faith into action, to make it alive, to make it active in the world. It was challenging, exciting and incredibly empowering.”

However, the empowerment that she received at Saint Mary’s did not always translate into her life after graduation, Guerrero said.

“At Saint Mary’s, I was treated as if my gifts, talents and voice were valuable, and this was invigorating,” Guerrero said. “However, after Saint Mary’s, this was not always the case.”

However, Guerrero said she finds this challenge as inspiration to use her voice to teach others to approach the idea of identity from multiple perspectives.

“I am often challenged on how my identities lack alignment,” Guerrero said. “It has motivated me to embrace each and every challenge with this awareness.”

Hollar, who took over as the new rector of Breen-Phillips Hall at the beginning of the school year, discussed a similar themes of her Saint Mary’s education.

“Saint Mary’s instilled within me a confidence to all of my experience,” Hollar said. “I didn’t need anyone’s permission to find God within that. The overarching gift that Saint Mary’s gave to me, a gift that I try mightily every day to pay forward, was the charge to value and trust my own experience.”

After graduating from Saint Mary’s, Hollar first pursued education in the Seattle area and worked to give students confidence.

“Everything I did as an educator was, at the surface, helping students to realize that their experiences matter and have the power to connect them to other people,” Hollar said. “Those students … they are Saint Mary’s, but they just don’t know it.”

However, although she enjoyed her time as a teacher, Hollar said she found herself wanting to return to a job that would utilize her academic focuses at the College: social work and religious studies.

Hollar found this job when she became the rector of Breen-Phillips Hall.

“Rectors are at the heart of students’ personal developments and formation,” Hollar said. “Rectors live among students in residence halls and know them better than anyone else on campus. They know the students in their halls by name and work tirelessly to foster a close-knit community for students where students grow spiritually, succeed academically and thrive socially.”

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About Jordan Cockrum

Jordan Cockrum is a senior at Saint Mary's studying Communications and Humanistic Studies. She currently serves as Saint Mary's Editor.

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