Marianist University Students SEEK the Light
When Pope St. John Paul II visited St. Louis in 1999 for a pastoral visit, he told a gathering of young people, “You are children of the light! You belong to Christ, and he has called you by name.”
Twenty-five years later, nearly 20,000 participants converged on St. Louis at the America Center’s Convention Complex for SEEK24, a five-day conference held Jan. 1–5, where they were called to “Be the Light,” the theme of this year’s event.
Many attend the annual SEEK conference, looking to find other Catholics like themselves. Anna Steck, a St. Mary’s University sophomore, was excited to “meet students from University of Dayton who share the Marianist Charism and to interact with vowed Marianists from St. Louis and Ohio,” she said. Seven students from St. Mary’s and more than 20 from UD attended the conference.
For Ben Bischoff, a sophomore at University of Dayton, the conference has motivated him: “If I truly love Christ and experience such joy like I did at SEEK, what is stopping me from sharing this with everyone on my campus?”
A highlight of the event for both Bischoff and Steck happened midway through the conference when college students, seminarians, priests, and religious shared the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. “Seeing thousands of people brought together with a common mission – our shared love of the faith – was encouraging and beautiful,” said Steck.
Brothers at the Maryland Avenue Community and Pillar/Chaminade Community in St. Louis hosted the students, making it financially feasible for more to attend. Marianist Sr. Emily Sandoval, Bros. Leno Ceballos, and Jack Somerville accompanied them to many of the events. Others were on hand to answer questions and provide support, including Fr. George Cerniglia, Bros. Mark Motz, Bill Campbell, Bob Metzger, Jim Eppy, Richard Schrader, and lay leaders Jen Duncan and Paul Masek.
Reflecting on his time at SEEK, Bischoff said, “There are so many college students across the country who don’t know Christ.” His challenge is straightforward: “Pray for all college students and all who support these students.” Looking at the present, he is hopeful and energized. “The Church is in good hands. But we need to allow God to transform us and give us the grace to do His will.”
In The News
University of Dayton Libraries Win Award
University of Dayton (UD) Libraries won a national award for commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) from Insight Into Diversity magazine. The 2024 Library Excellence in Access and Diversity (LEAD) Award honors libraries’ programs and initiatives that encourage and support DEI across campus and in the community. UD was selected for its Libraries’ work to implement its strategic DEI plan, which involves its workforce, collections, programming, exhibits, and physical and virtual spaces.
University Libraries will be featured alongside 55 recipients in the March 2024 issue of Insight Into Diversity, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. Click here to read more.
Founders Day, Heritage Week, Heritage Month
Marianist-sponsored schools across the United States celebrated their Marianist Heritage throughout January. The month marks the feast days of Founders, Blessed Marie of the Conception (Adèle) de Batz de Trenquelléon on Jan. 10, the day of her passing in 1828 and Blessed William Joseph Chaminade on Jan. 22, the day of his death in 1850.
Founders Day, Jan. 22, honors Chaminade, who founded the Marianist Family in 1801 and the Society of Mary in 1817. As you can see from various Facebook posts highlighted below, our schools celebrated these events in vibrant and varied ways.
Click here for a reflection for the Feast of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade.
Now Accepting PULSE Applications
Marianist PULSE (Partners in Urban Leadership, Service, and Education) is accepting applications for the 2024-2025 program year on a rolling basis. To request an application, please fill out a brief application request.
Current volunteer Sophia Bair is an alum of the University of Dayton and is serving her PULSE commitment at St. Vincent de Paul Shelter for Women and Families. After she completes the program this summer, she plans to attend medical school to become a pediatrician focusing on serving children with housing insecurity.
Want to hear from former participants? Click here to hear from Abby Shahady, Ani Artero, and Dominic Sanfilippo in Episode 34 of Sharing Our Marianist Stories about their journey of discerning, engaging in, and completing a year of service with Marianist PULSE.
Marianist Ministries in Action
Mary’s Role in Catholic Education
They started with various objects: prayer books, Hymnals, and an early 18th-century Book of Hours. Before they were finished, students in the teacher education program at University of Dayton were knee-deep in contemporary comic books and pop-ups.
“They were thrilled to explore this collection of artifacts housed at the Marian Library at UD,” said Jennifer Adams, adjunct professor of teacher education, who led a group of students in curating an exhibit at the library called Mary in Catholic Education.
Since it opened its first school in Bordeaux, France, in 1819, education has been a primary mission of the Marianists, with the Blessed Virgin Mary as an integral component of Marianist education.
By studying the texts and the visual presentations of the library’s collection, “the students were able to engage in lively discussions about the purpose of the books, the explicit and implicit messages conveyed, and who was included in the narrative and who was left out,” said Adams.
The student curators were especially interested in examining cultural and ethnic diversity — or its absence — in these artifacts and what that means for Catholic education today.
“Diversity isn’t just about content,” wrote one of the students in reflecting on the project. “It’s also about how it’s delivered. Some folks might find it easier to understand stories about Mary when they’re presented with colorful images and engaging songs. Others might resonate more with detailed texts and explanations.”
The exhibit explores the many ways people connect with sacred objects and invites viewers to do the same. “It also offers a glimpse into the vast collection at the Marian Library,” said Adams.
Mary in Catholic Education runs from Mar. 4 to June 28, 2024. It is housed on the seventh floor of the Marian Library Gallery in the Roesch Library at UD. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
A Marianist Moment
Blessed Chaminade and Blessed Marie of the Conception: ILLUMINATORS!
In our Marianist World, January is a time that we celebrate our founders, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (Jan. 22) and Blessed Marie of the Conception (Adèle) de Batz de Trenquelléon (Jan. 10). They are two individuals that we Marianists hold dear in our hearts because they are the foundation of what we believe in as we continue their legacy in our present communities and works.
As I write this, my mind becomes focused on the question, “What is a founder?” What can we find essential in these two important people in our lives as Marianists? Let us begin with a definition (Miriam-Webster): Founding Father or Mother: one who starts or helps to start an institution or a movement.
In looking at Chaminade and Adèle, they started or helped start, first of all, a movement. They gathered men and women around them in communities to deepen individuals’ faith journeys. Through formation and inviting men and women to intentionally seek ways to find God in their lives, they created a movement under the auspices of Mary to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Would you say, then, that Chaminade and Adèle were influencers (a popular term today)?
Influencers may be a good term, but I found another word that may describe Chaminade and Adèle, even better, Illuminators. David Brooks, a commentator from the New York Times, recently wrote a book, How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen, which I just started reading. In his first chapter, he describes Illuminators as the following:
“Illuminators, on the other hand, have a persistent curiosity about other people. They have been trained or have trained themselves in the craft of understanding others. They know what to look for and how to ask the right questions at the right time. They shine the brightness of their care on people and make them feel bigger, deeper, respected, and lit up.” (page 13)
Click here to read more.
From the Archives
Moving Marianist Art
Gallery Saint John is holding a special three-day event Feb. 8-10, 2024. During this time, a wide range of art will be available for purchase. Some of the artists involved in the gallery include Bro. Joe Barrish, Bro. Don Smith, Bro. John Lemker, Bro. Charlie Wanda, Fr. Mike Nartker, Bro. Louis Fournier and Bro. Gary Marcinowski.
After more than 34 years of displaying the creative talents of the Marianist Brothers, Gallery Saint John will close on March 1, 2024. The legacy of our artists will move to the “Marianist Creativity Center” located at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX. The Province will continue looking for ways to showcase the brothers’ art and display it on various social media outlets where it can continue to be discovered, preserved, and offer inspiration for future generations.
The Gallery Saint John Art Sale will be held on the following days/times:
Thursday, February 8, 4-8 pm
Friday, February 9, 12-8 pm
Saturday, February 10, 10 am-4 pm
Pray With Us
Please join us in prayer for these members of the Marianist Family.
Good to Know
Sign Up For Summer LIFE 2024
The Marianist LIFE (Living In Faith Experience) summer program is a faith-formation experience for high school students and their moderators. Students enjoy an experience of small faith communities, sacraments, prayer, leadership development, social justice education, and fun! Moderators, including campus ministers, youth ministers, teachers and adult volunteers, arrive before the students to prepare and build their own communities of faith. Three sessions are being offered, one in Occidental, CA and two in Dayton, OH, during the months of June and July. Click here for more information.
The Queen of Apostles Community in Dayton celebrated its final Mass on Dec. 31, 2023, due to the parish closing. While members moved to different parishes around Dayton, some also decided to form a Lay Marianist Community called Spiritus.
“The first gathering of Spiritus took place on Epiphany. We had over 80 people in attendance, and the gathering was a great success with community prayer/reflection, a primer lesson on formation, and a kids program. I’m sure that this will evolve over time, but thanks to the Holy Spirit, the debut of Spiritus was a great success,” exclaimed Matt Naveau, a leadership team member of Spiritus.
Lay Marianists represent the oldest branch of the Marianist Family, with roots stretching back to 1801. To learn more about the Marianist Lay Community of North America, visit www.mlcna.org.
Marianist Library Classification System
Bro. Andrew Kosmowski, Librarian at the North American Center for Marianist Studies (NACMS), recently published an article for Catholic Library World highlighting the Marianist classification system for libraries as a prime example of a system within a Catholic charismatic family. He reflects on NACMS Librarian Teresa Trimboli’s work creating the original Marianist Library classification system and assesses the system’s strengths and challenges. Bro. Andrew hopes the article, titled “Marianist Library Classification: A Case Study,” encourages librarians from different orders to create similar schemas for their congregations. Click here to read the article.
Marian Forum Online Feb. 13
Want to explore Marian Shrines and Catholicism in the United States? All are welcome to attend University of Dayton’s Marian Forum on Feb. 13! It will explore Marian Shrines and U.S. Catholicism with Professors Karen Park and Katherine Dugan, co-editors of American Patroness: Marian Shrines and the Making of U.S. Catholicism.
Visit go.udayton.edu/marianforum to register to attend virtually.
Check Out More Marianist News
Via Latina from the General Administration of the Society of Mary
Sharing Our Marianist Stories podcast from North American Center for Marianist Studies
Justice Jottings from the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative
AMU Newsletter from the Association of Marianist Universities
District Update #78 from the Marianist District of India
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