dcsimg Crossroads

Epiphanies:

Crossroads

  • Being a Sister of St. Francis

    Oct 02, 2014


    By: Sr. Jean Marie Cleveland, O.S.F.

    During my senior year in high school, I felt a call to religious life.  Since I attended Little Flower Elementary School and Scecina Memorial High School and they were each taught by Sisters from Oldenburg, I decided to join them.  I did not know any other Sisters and appreciated the care and concern I felt they had for each other and for us students.  Little things like laughter, teasing, joy, and care made an impression on me.  I knew that they cared for us because they showed us through their actions in the classroom, in the halls, and everywhere we met.

    At Oldenburg we learned stories about St Francis and St Clare.  Most of their works had not been translated into English so did not have the major documents.  The translations began to happen after Vatican II asked Religious to go back to their roots and learn from them.  Gradually we became more and more familiar with Francis and Clare.  For example:  we did not know the San Damiano Crucifix, which all at Marian should recognize because it is in so many places.  It was in the Convent adjacent to the Saint Clare basilica in Assisi and was not available to the public until one of the Popes asked that it be put into the basilica so that the world would know it.

    Today I know so much more than I did when I was a senior.  I have had the opportunity to visit Assisi for a pilgrimage.  I have attended workshops and done reading about Franciscan life.  I know that Francis and Clare centered their lives on Jesus Christ and His Gospel message.  Franciscans treasure The Crib, The Cross, and The Eucharist.  Conversion, Poverty, Contemplation, and Minority are key characteristics we strive to adopt in our lives.

    We Oldenburg Franciscans have always tried to respond to the needs of the times.  Mother Theresa Hackelmeier came to America at age 24 because she heard a call to come to a small village to teach young German immigrant children.  Gradually the Sisters responded to needs in other rural areas around Oldenburg.  We branched out to Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St Louis, and other cities.  Eventually we found ourselves in China, on the Crow, Cheyenne, and Navaho reservations and in Papua, New Guinea.  Several Sisters worked in South Korea and Africa.

    When the need arose, we trained Sisters to be social workers, counselors, pastoral workers, and nurses.  We ministered to prisoners and in inner city.  We taught teachers at Oldenburg beginning in 1851 and formed Marian College from St Francis Normal School and Immaculate Conception Junior College in 1936.  Marian College moved to Indianapolis in 1937 and located on the James Allison estate.  Today six Sisters are teachers or staff members at Marian.  Another seven Sisters serve on Marian’s Board of Trustees.

    When I became a Sister, there were not many careers which were open to women.  I chose to go to Oldenburg because I felt called to religious life and because I wanted to become a teacher.  I did not know that I would find a family which would be a support my whole life.  I did not know that I would teach with the teachers I had in school and would be the principal for some of them.  I did not know I would be a teacher, a principal, a pastoral associate, a parish life coordinator, a member of the leadership team for my community, involved in national organizations, and work at Marian.  I had no real idea that I would meet thousands of students and parishioners.  I did not know that I would grow to appreciate living in community and having friends of all ages.

    I had some idea of these things but did not realize what an impact they would have on my life.  I value the friends I have made in my life as a Sister of Saint Francis.  I thank God for a community with whom I can share prayer and dreams – sorrows and joys.  I thank God for each of you and how you impact my life today.

     
  • Crossroads: It Was Never Good Enough

    Sep 12, 2014

    By:  Kristin Hauser, Sophomore
    Given at Connections: A First Year Gathering (08.23.14)

    So, you know that “ah-ha!” moment that a lot of people have when they finally kind of “get” life? Well, mine happened in 8th grade just around the time I was about ready to be confirmed. Now, I’ll spare you the details because it’s kind of a weird story, but what’s actually important to know is the result of this conversion moment. Because, you see, after this point I was totally on fire for God. I can’t even explain it, but all I wanted was to be closer to Him and so that yearning that I had in me gave me such a heart for service. I wanted to work at every soup kitchen, feed every homeless person, and donate to every one of those commercials with the little kids that you see on TV. And honestly, I pretty much did. Throughout high school I managed to go on 11 different mission trips, racking up countless hours of service in my own community and all over the country.

    But here’s the thing: it was never good enough. No matter how much I served or did or tried to do, I could never do everything. I mean, nobody can. But that’s not what I told myself. Because I had it in my head that the way I proved I loved God was by doing (and succeeding) at the things I did for Him. Well, that didn’t work out so well because I’m human and so I mess up all the time. And every time I would try so hard to take that to the Lord in reconciliation and every time, I just kept making the same mistakes over and over again. I just kept failing over and over and over and I couldn’t figure out why until one day, I was reading in the book of Matthew. And in the gospel Jesus says that we’re supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves. And I’m thinking, “okay, I love my neighbor.” but then the as yourself part kind of jumps out at me. So I read it again, “love your neighbor as yourself.” It was in that moment that I think I realized I have to know my own worth before I can even begin to understand how to respect someone else’s. All those good things that I was doing were great, but they didn’t define me. And all the times that I messed up, that I turned away from God and turned towards sin, well those instances didn’t define me either, but I was totally living as if they did. I kept making the same mistakes over and over again because I thought that those mistakes were who I was. And even though I knew God forgave me every time, I couldn’t forgive myself enough to accept His mercy and work for change in my life.

    Forgiving others is so incredibly important, but the struggle that’s always been on my heart in regard to reconciliation is forgiving myself. It’s always been a fight and I know that it probably always will be, but I think the take-away point and the thing that I learn out of all of this. All of these unrealistic expectations and over-commitment and days of anxiety and guilt, I think what I learned is that when we sin, when we mess up and we think that there is no reason for God to ever take us back (but He does, because He’s awesome and beautiful and merciful and loves us ridiculously), instead of dwelling on our mistakes, instead of laying on the ground and wallowing in how dumb we are, we get up. We get up and we run towards Christ. And let’s face it, we’re going to fall again. We’re going to mess up sometimes, but the hope and the redemption in the story is that God will always take us back, if we let Him. So my encouragement to you today is simply that: to get up. To get up from wherever you are and simply seek the Lord today. Because our worth is not in what we say or what we do or what we don’t do: our worth is in Him, and He will always take us back if we let Him.  

  • Crossroads - What are my gifts?

    Sep 02, 2014


    By: Greg Konkle, Junior

    Everyone has difficulty in finding who they are who they want to be. The first step at finding who you are called to be is finding your gifts. This is not a suggestion. It is your responsibility to find your gifts and your calling. Sometimes people fall into the trap of thinking that this is based only on things that they are good at. I used to be good at soccer, I have always had interest in sports. But even though I really like sports, and I used to be an above average soccer player, I never considered that as a plausible career; even as a child. So how do we find the gifts that we have that will lead us to our calling, our vocations?

    This is not a question that can be answered with a list of steps to follow in order. No one is going to arrive at their vocation in the same exact way as anyone else, but it is helpful to look at other people’s lives so that through their example, others may gain insight and have hope that it is possible.

    As I grew up, I never really knew what I wanted to be, or what I wanted to do. I thought it would be nice to have a family someday, but it would also be cool to live in religious life. Elementary and High school was a breeze, so I was certainly not being held back from anything because of a lack of academic prowess. All I knew is that I wanted to make a difference. Was that through being a fireman –saving people’s lives from unfortunate events? A lawyer—fighting for people’s rights in the face of injustice? A Doctor—saving people from illness and injury? A Teacher—helping form youth to be well-rounded people? I had no clue coming out of high school what I wanted to be, and I had been praying about this more than anything else—to find direction somehow. I didn't hear the voice of God come down and command me, so I talked to my friends and family about what I should do. They start naming every profession they can think of, to which my response was almost exclusively a “maybe.” I really didn't know! I could be great at anything if I really set my mind to it. So I decided to look at the things that I was good at, and interested in. So the list of possibilities began to get smaller and smaller, and through a process of elimination, I chose Economics and Political Science, with the possibility of law school in the back of my mind, and a hopeful eye towards political positions. I went through my freshman year taking economics and political science classes, and they were interesting and I was good at them. But even through all of this, there was something that was just not right. I couldn't tell exactly what it was, and I still don’t know, but I just had the feeling that this wasn't what I was being called to. But I was doing well, and I didn't want to switch, since there’s a certain security in being part of something you’re good at, and I didn't know what I was going to switch to!

    The end of Freshman year came around, and Summer began. I still had the idea that Economics and Political science were not my true vocation, but more of an interest. Being bored and having free time, I began to take apart old machines we had around the house—watches, remotes, etc. just to see how they were put together. I didn't know how they worked and I wanted to learn more. Then our lawn mower broke, and I decided to take the motor apart and put it back together, and it worked! I had this working motor now (we had already bought a new lawn mower) and I didn't want it to go to waste. So I thought of all the things I could do with it, and decided I was going to build a mini bike with it. I found all the specifications for the motor and calculated out all the gear ratios in order to achieve a functioning and decently fast mini bike—I found that it was possible! So I welded a whole frame together from pieces of metal I found, mounted the motor, found some wheels at a neighbors I could use, and was happily working on that during the free time I had at night. I dreamed about all the things I could do to make this the coolest mini bike ever. I was not able to finish the bike that summer, and I have not been home for long enough periods of time to get work done on it (as well as gears costing much more than expected), but it was the best learning experience I had in my life. I found something completely unexpected that I loved doing. I would never had thought that building engines and bikes would be something fun to me—not only fun but fulfilling. I prayed more and more about it and felt much more at peace changing my major to mechanical engineering. My dream is to design, build, and implement alternative energy machines; and I keep that goal in sight in all of my studies and before I fall asleep every night.

    The most important thing I feel about discovering my gifts and my vocation is the sense of peace and confidence I have with my position. I am excited for the future, and excited to learn more and more that which will help me create machines that change people’s lives for the better, improve their lives, or save the planet we seem so keen on destroying. For me, the key was praying, opening up and talking to friends and family about it, praying, keeping my mind open, praying, and trying out new possibilities. I was finally able to find something that I was interested in and open to see as my vocation; I hope that everyone here also has an experience that will lead them to finding their path in life.

  • Commencement Speech: "You are Strong!"

    May 14, 2014


    By: Kelly Hoehn, ‘14

    Faculty, staff, fellow graduates, family, and friends. I would like to take this time to talk about our four Franciscan Sponsorship values and how they set us apart, make us unique. As senior class president as well as through involvement in campus ministry I have been able to interact with many of my fellow graduates and can see how these values are present in their lives and have shaped their education here. As we leave Marian and enter the “real world” these values will help us on our journeys.

    Here at Marian the Franciscan values are not only all around us, on the fountain, the wall of the dining hall, and banners in the chapel, they are also a part of the curriculum and a foundation for the way we interact with each other. Before I go any further I should let all of our guests know what these values are: Dignity of the Individual, Responsible Stewardship, Peace and Justice and Reconciliation.

    Through Campus Ministry I was able to participate in a Peace and Justice retreat where we brought meals to the homeless. One man we met, Malachi, gave us some advice: “don’t judge. You don’t know what people are going through and everyone has struggles, but everyone has dignity.” We were bringing meals thinking we were the ones helping him and he was the one teaching us about Dignity of the individual.  As we graduate and leave Marian University I hope that we all heed Malachi’s advice and respect each person’s dignity. And remember that we will continue to learn even after we leave Marian. Lara Kuczmanski, who is graduating from the Catholic School Educators program, told me that when she encouraged one of her first graders saying that practice makes perfect he responded “no Miss K practice makes progress…Only Jesus is perfect!” Everyone has a lesson to teach us.

    Another value is responsible stewardship, we each came here with talents and desires, likes and dislikes, we received an education where we were able to develop those talents so they were able to multiply and now we are going out into the world as people who can make a difference, strong in the knowledge and practices that we have learned.

    Artists you have developed your talents and are able to open our eyes to issues in new and creative ways, like senior Peter Hayes does in the canvas which he created as part of his senior art portfolio “Blood on Our Hands”. He draws attention to the prevalence of violence in our society, making one stop and think. He and each of us are able to use our talents to make a difference.

    Peace and Justice is described as “challenging one another to venture into new creative responses to ever-changing needs”. At Marian we were never encouraged to just find a job, we were encouraged to discover where our passions and the needs of the world meet. (Seeing as how I couldn’t find where my passion for Star Wars met the needs of the world I decided to pursue other passions and for the past four years have studied Political Science) Needless to say studying Political Science is often associated with joining the darkside and yes the senior political science majors do refer to ourselves as the sinister six however, political science can be used for good.  Matt Duncan, Jess Stark, and Stephanie Torres will all be attending law school, one to be a law maker, one to create healthcare policy, and one to be a lawyer. In each of our fields we are seeking to find new creative ways to respond to the needs of the world.

    Reconciliation calls us to be “aware of the pain, brokenness, and pervading grief in our society” Both nursing and psychology majors are able to heal and bring reconciliation to the pain and brokenness in society through their work with the sick or suffering. My roommate of the past 4 years, Stacy Vervynckt, a Psychology major has always been one to help others talk through their problems or to just listen when friends need someone to talk to. After grad school she hopes to do family counseling, helping to bring reconciliation to familial relationships. She will take the talents that she has developed here and share them with others to help bring reconciliation.

    In each of our areas of study we have not only received an education but also learned values and practices that will help us the rest of our lives. So thank you to all of our professors and other staff members for forming us intellectually. A special thank you to our campus ministry folks who have helped form us spiritually. Thank you to Campus Operations for helping to make Marian a home by making campus a beautiful place. Thank you to our families for supporting us on our journey. Lastly, thank you to my fellow students, we not only learned with each other but also learned from each other.

    I would like to close with some additional advice from my friend Malachi: “You are strong! You can make a difference! Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t.”

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