by Amy Bennett | Mach 20, 2017
Do you ever get a word stuck in your head? Lately, I’ve been thinking about the word “courage.” Who is really courageous? Are there levels of courage? We often associate the word courage with a dangerous situation. For instance, we would call a person courageous who goes into a burning home to rescue a neighbor. However, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines courage as the “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”
At Marian University, our heritage began with an extremely courageous woman. Sr. Theresa Hackelmeier was just 24 years old when, in 1851, she left her convent in Vienna, Austria to travel all the way to Oldenburg, Indiana to establish a religious congregation that would teach the area’s German-speaking children and the illiterate settlers. From Austria to Indiana in 1851? Imagine the courage and faith that she had to have to travel all that way alone!
Sr. Theresa and her congregation, the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis at Oldenburg were pioneers in the field of education. The Sisters opened St. Ann’s in 1892. St. Ann’s was the only school for African-American children in the then segregated Indianapolis. In the late 1800’s—that was certainly courageous! By 1910, the Sister’s school of teacher education, St. Francis Normal, was accredited by the state of Indiana, and by 1937, St. Francis Normal became Marian College which then became Marian University in 2009.
There has even been a documentary film produced, A Sign of the Cross, which commemorates the story of these women and their courage to venture. Courageous women founded our university and, today, courageous men and women attend our university. It takes courage to go back to college as an adult. Marian’s Adult Programs (MAP) was founded in 2000 to accommodate the unique needs of working adults.
Today, approximately 70 percent of our MAP student body are women. Women of all ages. Women younger than my son, women older than me. Women of different races. Women with no prior college experience, women with some college, even women with bachelor’s degree. Single women, married women, divorced women. Women of all shapes and sizes. What do these female students in MAP all have in common? They were, and they are, courageous. They wanted to improve their life, so they picked up the phone or sent an email to a MAP advisor.
Have you thought about going back to college? If you have, why haven’t you explored your options? Is the thought too intimidating—even downright scary? I get it. It takes courage to admit that you want to change or you need to change. It takes courage to tell your family that you need their help with babysitting so you can go back to school. It takes courage to make a presentation, and it takes courage to revise a paper that you thought was good the first time you wrote it. It takes courage to take online classes when you’ve never been good with technology. It takes courage to take your first class after being out of school for 30 years.
I do understand. I see it every day. But I also see what happens when women face their fears. Pick up the phone. Call (317) 955-6271 and ask to speak with Karen—our MAP admissions advisor. Not too long ago, Karen was a MAP student, so she understands your fears. What could it hurt? Remember Sr. Theresa? Be courageous.