dcsimg Crossroads



  • 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.”

  • Crossroads: Christ's Footprints in Nicaragua

    Apr 24, 2014

    By: Dakota Bullock and Sharisse Yoder

    As Christians, we are called to follow in Christ’s footsteps and serve others, especially those that are different than us. March 8-15, 14 of us at Marian University had the privilege of opening our hearts and creating meaningful relationships with several individuals in San Marcos, Nicaragua.

    The 14 of us teamed up with Amigos For Christ and ventured outside of our comfort zone; we became “comfortable with being uncomfortable.” We used what little Spanish speaking skills we obtained and worked alongside the members of the San Marcos community in their new water system project. Our jobs consisted of using a pick axe and shovel to manually dig trenches for water pipes. This water system is going to provide fresh, clean water for the community that is currently walking miles to the river to gather unclean water for cooking, cleaning, drinking, and bathing.  As one might imagine, this is a big project for them and they are truly invested in the process as they provide 100 percent of the labor and 10 percent of the cost. They were extremely thankful for our willingness to help them in this investment. While there may have been a language barrier, there was not a communication barrier. You could see their gratitude toward us in their gestures, their eyes, and their smiles. We may not have communicated much with our words, but our souls made a lasting connection of servitude and gratitude.

    This week spent in Nicaragua was life-changing. We were exposed to living simply with compassion toward everyone and anyone. The pure joy and love that radiated out of the individuals in Nicaragua, individuals that according to America’s society has nothing, has touched our souls and has provided a deep sense of happiness throughout us. We can only hope to carry the love and compassion shown to us on to our everyday life and encounters with all those that cross our paths.

  • Crossroads: My Road to Confession

    Apr 10, 2014

    By: Jen Sears  

    The reason I chose to come to Marian University was based off of the opportunity to play softball and the business program. I always wanted to play softball in college and I knew that I wanted to major in accounting and one day become a CPA. So, at the beginning of my freshman year I arrived here not knowing anybody else on campus. At the time, this was kind of a scary thing for me because I am a pretty shy person when trying to get to know someone. Even so, I was able to meet some wonderful new friends. Many of them have influenced, encouraged, and challenged me to grow in ways that I never knew were possible. They have all helped me and I am super thankful for my friends. But there is one person in particular that I have gotten to know who has changed my life forever. That person is God.

    When I said I came to Marian University not knowing anybody here, I did not know God either. I grew up as Catholic, went to a Catholic grade school, went to church every Sunday with my family, and yet I never really knew who God was. As I got older I went to a public high school, got into travel softball, and stopped going to church every Sunday. Then I arrived at Marian University. Some of the new friends I met started asking me to go to night prayer, to go to church on Sunday, and to pray with them randomly throughout the day. Before I knew it, God was at the center of my life and I was beginning to know Him. As I continued to grow in my faith, there was one road in particular that I knew I would have to cross eventually. That road is confession.

    I had not been to confession in a very long time. And when I say long time, I mean that my last confession had been six years ago when I was in the eighth grade! I knew I had to go sooner or later if I wanted to continue to grow in my relationship with God. And of course I was nervous and kept putting it off for another time. I couldn’t find the strength to just get up and go. Then one day Campus Ministry decided to hold a Reconciliation service for anybody who was interested. I figured this was my calling to go to confession. I went and my boyfriend came with me. He is super supportive and encouraging! So I was nervously sitting there in the chapel, trying to decide when I should get in line. Some time went by, and I was the last person to go. As soon as I started my confession, I burst into tears. They were tears sadness, anxiety, and relief all at the same time. Confession is awesome!

    Afterwards I felt so much relief and was super glad I finally found the courage to go. I left feeling free, happy, clean, healed, and truly loved by God. The sacrament of Reconciliation is such an amazing thing. We are able to experience God’s great mercy and forgiveness as He embraces us. I know many people say that they can confess their sins to God and ask for forgiveness without going to confession, but it is necessary that we also ask forgiveness of the Church in the person of a priest. The power of the sacrament makes Christ present as we are healed and forgiven. And as Pope Francis has said: “Forgiveness is not a result of our efforts, but is a gift. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit who showers us with mercy and grace that pours forth unceasingly from the open heart of Christ crucified and risen.”

  • Searching for Transformation in the Desert

    Apr 09, 2014

    By: Kyle Kellam, Assistant Professor of Communications

    I went to New Mexico looking for a moment of transformation. As an advisor on the trip, I was desperately searching for a unifying moment where I felt connected with the students, in service to the Navajo, and in communion with the divine all at once. My fiancé Anna also came along the trip as an advisor and if my moment of connection happened standing next to her, then that would only add to its sublime, transformative perfection. I recognize that such grand expectations are a great way to set oneself up for total failure and disappointment. However, I was not going to be deterred from my rejuvenating rupture in the clunky mechanisms of life where suddenly all was harmonious and good. Plus, our long snowy winter had left me needing a little spiritual fire in my life. Where better to look than the desert of the American west?

    I thought I found that magic moment many times. The first night we arrived late and all paused together to observe the vast sea of stars in the New Mexico sky. I had never seen more celestial bodies at once, nor had I ever experienced such a deepening quiet. A couple of days into the trip, we spent an afternoon just digging holes, looking for the unknown location of critical water lines under the mission’s grounds. I was amazed at the synergy of teamwork and determination that went into the simple pursuit of digging for water in the high desert. Later, we had one particular evening of group reflection where I saw such vulnerability, compassion, and courage from the students. I was so honored to be one among them. However, none of these moments was quite the transformative moment for which I was pining.

    It wasn’t until we took a day trip to Canyon DeChelly, a sacred place on the Navajo reservation, that I was finally able to experience the moment I had been wanting. The canyon itself was breathtaking and its utter beauty was unmatched by anything I had seen before. We hiked to the bottom and, unknowingly, I unfurled my mind, just concentrating on the new precision of my usually careless steps and pausing occasionally to take in the canyon’s expansive sublimity. To my surprise, there were 2,000 year old ruins at the bottom, cliff dwellings built by some of the earliest Navajo people. As we sat down to rest and eat lunch after our somewhat strenuous hike, my very-special-oh-my-gosh-it’s-happening-moment finally came.

    We were basking in the awe of the ruins, sitting at the base of what I can only assume was a very old tree, lonely from the recession of the river. We felt accomplished after our hike, but most of all I think we just felt connected. It was hard not to sense an individual oneness with the rich tradition of the Navajo in this place, sitting before the ancient dwellings between the high canyon walls. But I think in this moment we also felt appreciative of each other.

    In that moment, something divine happened. We realized that experiencing God sometimes comes in seeing others also experiencing what we are feeling, all at the same time. So Anna and I walked over to the student leaders as they were approaching us and we all just thanked each other for being here and saying “yes” to Alternative Spring Break. The moment of complete awareness and integration came so simply and purely. It was only after it happened that I realized my moment had come and gone. In that little act of appreciation and communion, I finally felt transformed.


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