Where’s The Mercy?

IMG_1444

You can take the people out of the chapel, but you can’t take the fire we have to bring them back. 

As many of you know and for those who don’t, the administration of Saint Xavier University has taken quite a turn in the past year. In the University Mission and Ministry department more specifically, we have lost several staff members and experienced multiple challenges and changes in the process. Not to point fingers, but the current issues we are facing stem from the actions of our president, Laurie Joyner, and the administration. We are in week 10 of our semester and campus ministry still does not have a campus ministry director. The conference room in the chapel utilized by staff and students for meetings, retreat planning, community meals, and gatherings is now being constructed as an office for the president herself. One of our Sisters of Mercy, Sister Carol, who volunteers and dedicates her time to helping students, raising funds to financially support them, and leads several prayer groups and confirmation classes, is now being removed from the chapel. Our two graduate assistants, Addie and Ellie, who have an office within the chapel as well are next to be removed.

Seems a little odd to take the only remaining ministry staff members out of their place, right?

“You’d think ministry would be one of the most solid and steady departments of a Catholic institution?” – So many have wondered.

Clearly, it’s not.

All logistics and finger-pointing aside, there is something much more important to this. Without those significant and necessary individuals rooted in the chapel, we lose something. We lose the spirit of mercy. We lose connection to the students. The very opposite of our university mission.

Countless students have found refuge, peace, and comfort from the staff who leave their doors open to us. Years ago, several of us students were hesitant about peeking our heads back there and walking into those rooms. With the openness and acceptance past and present staff members embodied, we built a foundation of community, support, and trust. In those spaces, we created the community that encourages us to be vulnerable, supportive, and understanding of one another. In those spaces, unbreakable bonds have been established and memories are always being created. In those spaces, tears have been shed, laughs have been echoed, stories have been told, faith has been restored and hope planted.

The students began to spend so much time in this place that we created Commuter Corner and were given another conference room to study and plan campus ministry events. In between classes, you could hear the overwhelming volume of us gathered, ranting about school and raving about programs we were excited put on. IMG_1446Sometimes we discussed the magnificent miracles of life and faith until the public safety officers came to tell us they were locking up. We’ve had guitar and ukulele sessions singing songs that brought us closer. We’ve organized retreats that have been life-changing and inspired more students to visit the chapel. We’ve built strong relationships between strangers, those we serve, ourselves and the SXU community as a whole. Sometimes we got a therapeutic break to play with former directors’ dogs like Paulie and Comiskey. Some of us have grieved with the comfort and love of those who surrounded us in those spaces. We’ve shared our life stories, received prayer and guidance from our spiritual directors, and celebrated endings and new beginnings.

We sought truth, thought critically, learned to communicate effectively, served wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good, all inspired by our Sisters of Mercy. We learned in those spaces. We learned from Sister Carol, Addie and Ellie, and all of past ministry staff members. We learned in the space that was created for these reasons.

We learned in a place of refuge, McDonough Chapel.

IMG_1449

 

You can take the people out of the chapel, but you can’t take the fire we have to bring them back. 

Please sign our petition and support us as we save our Campus Ministry.

 

One thought on “Where’s The Mercy?

  1. Shame on you Laurie Joyner…Sister Carol belongs in that space. McDonough Chapel is the most peaceful place I’ve been in for Mass. I’ll pray for these young adults!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s