By Sister Ann Carmen Barone, OSF
The beginning of a new academic year is busy and challenging. The halls and walks are busy. I see new faces, hear new voices, listen to conversations about new interests, and stand taller as I am greeted with new smiles and delightfully flashing eyes. Sister Barb Vano, Laurie Knueven and I have begun our meetings with the First Year Experience classes focusing on our Franciscan roots and spirit. This year we added the Sylvania Franciscan Centennial DVD. Our hope was to bring the story of Francis into our own time.
The students were captivated by the growth of the historic campus and fascinated as they saw the many groups of sisters. Their ears perked up as individual sisters voiced their own commitment to our mission, spirit and life.
As the new academic year commences, it presents an excellent opportunity for students to not only embrace Franciscan values but also embark on their personal journeys of growth and development. Learning new skills and fostering a lifelong passion for knowledge is crucial in today’s dynamic world. To support their continuous growth, the university has introduced innovative tools like LMS for continuous performance development. Through this platform, students can access a wide array of resources, courses, and workshops tailored to enhance their abilities and aptitudes. Just as the sisters demonstrated the “can do spirit” in serving others, the students can harness this same spirit to cultivate their unique talents and make a positive impact on their communities. Embracing diversity of gifts and embracing the individuality of each student’s learning journey, the LMS becomes a valuable asset in shaping them into well-rounded individuals who embody Franciscan principles and contribute meaningfully to society.
I challenged them to adopt the “can do spirit” they saw in the sisters who were so willing to take risks to serve others and live our mission. They saw that not every sister looks the same, acts the same, or ministers in the same way. That diversity of gifts, personalities and cultures was essential. As God’s children, we share the same humanity but translate it into actions. As Franciscans, we reach out to one another as sisters and brothers.
We made our Franciscan journey together, noting the questions that the young Francis must have asked at San Damiano, at the Portiuncula, at the Francis and Wolf statue and finally the Grotto. I think the students realized that we all ask those same questions many times in our own life.
Francis’ words to his brothers still influence us.
Christ has taught me what was mine to do. May he teach you what is yours.
Our new Freshmen know we trust them with our legacy, our mission.
We energize the LU Franciscan connection by living out our values as a Community … a Community of Learning, a Community of Reverence, a Community of Service.
May we be open to learning and living what is ours to do.