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Hospitality, community and graciousness … Ask a Marianist

9:48 AM  Jun 23rd, 2011
by Amy Lopez-Matthews ’86

Amy Lopez-Matthews ’86 answered the call in 2005 to become a Marianist Educational Associate, part of a lay community who steward Marianist and Catholic values on campus and integrate the charism into their professions. As director of student life and Kennedy Union, she employs 80 students annually and works with many more in UD’s 200 student organizations.

You have varied experiences of Marianist education — student at Chaminade Julienne High School, working summer conferences, classroom teaching, leading all of KU’s ministries at the heart of the campus. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned about being a Marianist educator? —Sister Laura Leming, F.M.I. ’87, UD professor

The Marianists talk about a community of equals. While I understand the unique role the faculty play in the classroom, we have staff members and people outside of campus who are completely dedicated to the mission of the Marianists and of the University. We can all have a part to play in educating students. Lots of people educate for values, but do they educate for formation in faith and combine that with the discipleship of equals? Do they combine that with our sense of hospitality? These come together at UD in a distinct way, and that’s what we’re all part of.

In a culture of change, how does the Mother of God give us a role model? —Robert Corgan, Maderia, Ohio

She lived in a culture of change. She didn’t question it, didn’t begrudge it, didn’t wish it away but accepted it and grew stronger through it — being there and saying “yes” and being so strong. I love the passage of the visitation where they talk about Mary’s confusion because I think we all have confusion and we think we shouldn’t. Many of us want clear-cut, even easy, answers. Think about it — what’s easy that we truly value?

What is one thing you appreciate that has endured throughout your time as a student and employee? —Leigh Hartley ’97, Chicago

It’s the sense of community that people feel here. When it comes down to it, they might describe it in ways that are different, but lots of people feel like it’s a place where they can be part of something bigger.

You have worked with students, staff and faculty on committees and initiatives at UD. What makes a group effective? —Kathy Watters, UD professor

If people are around the table because they value the work and if they have a commitment to it, it’s going to be effective. Students have been some of the most amazing contributors in that process. For the committee to recognize what the student experience can bring can be extremely helpful.

How are you able to provide your student workers with guidance and instruction while still allowing them the flexibility and independence to get the job done as they see fit? —BRIAN KOWALSKI ’99, Columbus, Ohio

We want and we need students to develop critical-thinking skills. If we prescribe every aspect of their job, they don’t learn as much as if we empower them to learn the job, make decisions, make mistakes. And jobs are dynamic. Students in the positions change, jobs themselves change, but that need to help students learn how to figure something out on their own is so important.

You have been an advocate for many students and for important justice issues. What motivates you? —Crystal Caruana Sullivan, UD campus ministry director

Have you ever seen The Book of Birthdays? [Opens book and reads Nov. 15, her birthday] “Ready to stand up for themselves and are champions for those who need protection … waiting for the right moment to act … make an issue of honorable behavior.” I just feel like it’s something I’m called to do. And we have examples of students all around us who feel compelled to act. They found organizations, they go lobby the statehouse. They are great motivators.

How do you continue to be gracious and kind, even when you have a lot of things going on? —Father Jerry Chinchar, S.M. ’66, UD campus minister

I try to keep my ungracious and unkind self behind a door because we all have moments. The work we are doing is pretty public work for the institution, and I feel like we have a responsibility to do that work with the models of graciousness and kindness we see in the Marianists, whether those are people we’ve read about or people whom we’ve observed or worked with on campus. I have a lot of models in my 23 years whom I’ve observed who are gracious and kind and still strong and do what they have to do in their jobs. And a sense of humor from Father Jerry doesn’t hurt either.

For our next issue ask Brother Tom Pieper, S.M. ’67, UD campus minister for Stuart Hall and its first-year students. He also moderates the UD Summer Appalachia Program, where 14 students live in community and serve children, teens and the elderly in Salyersville, Ky. He is planning the program’s 50th anniversary celebration for 2013.  Email your question to: magazine@udayton.edu.

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Missions, martyrs and American culture … Ask a Marianist

1:03 PM  Mar 8th, 2011
by Brother Erik Otiende, S.M. ’10

Brother Erik Otiende, S.M. ’10 recently returned to Nairobi, Kenya, after more than two years at UD in the educational leadership master’s program. He previously taught secondary school in Zambia. In Nairobi, he is working in the formation house, where brothers who have made their first vows live while attending college. It is the same house where Otiende spent his early years as a Marianist.

What do you think is the most important ministry the Marianists in Nairobi do, and can you tell us a little about the makeup of the Marianist family in Nairobi? —Sister Laura Leming, F.M.I., UD Professor

All the ministries in Nairobi and the Region of Eastern Africa are very important because all of our ministries are options for the poor. We have schools that provide good education to the poor, the Maria House for single mothers, a kindergarten for their vulnerable kids and technical schools that empower youth who cannot afford to go to universities. All these ministries allow the poor to gain their voices and positions in the society; thus all these ministries are important. In Nairobi we have both religious Marianists and the lay Marianists; so far, we haven’t been blessed by the presence of Marianist sisters, so somehow the family is not complete, so to speak.

How can we, as UD students, be involved in supporting your mission? —Daniela R. Abreo, UD fifth-year senior

Some UD students have been generous with their time and have come to do voluntary work here with our projects and in our schools. I also know some who save money and send it for sponsorship of kids here. I think that is how you and other UD students can be involved.

Is there any memory of Brother Roman Wishinski’s service and murder in Africa? Why isn’t he considered a martyr? —C. W. Grennan ’57, Orange, Calif.

The Region of Eastern Africa still remembers and appreciates the seed that was sown by Brother Roman Wishinski and other Marianists who first came to Africa, but the issue of martyrdom and sainthood is considered in the church only when the cause of death is a matter of faith and not just a civil war in the country. Brother Roman was killed in Nigeria’s Biafra War. This war and the perpetrators of this war did not target him because of what he believed in.

What change have you noticed in yourself since the first time you served people in need? —Rafael Carbonell, UD first-year student

In serving people in need, we share our talents and resources with them. Thus, we uplift them. For me, serving in any way gives me joy and peace of heart, especially when the people I am serving are in great need. Once I did voluntary work in the hospital, and since then I have appreciated my health more than ever before.

What disappoints you most about the American culture? —Steve Shiparski ’88, Findlay, Ohio

I wouldn’t say that something disappoints me. Each culture is valuable to the people practicing it. However, a few things here and there were shocking to see and hear. I was shocked by the idea of suing. People have become so money-minded so as you cannot help each other for fear of being sued. There is also too much wastage in the U.S. because some people don’t care much about how they use what they have.

What countries have missions staffed by Marianists from the American province? Do other provinces also have missionaries? —Ernest Avellar ’49, Hayward, Calif.

The Marianists of the United States had lots of missions: District of India, Region of Eastern Africa, Region of Korea, Mexico, Ireland, Japan and the Philippines. Notice I generalized “United States” because, when the brothers began the missions, there were five U.S. provinces: St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pacific, New York and Meribah. Now there are only two, the United States and Meribah. The U.S. province still has missions in the Philippines, India, Mexico and Ireland. The regions of Korea and Eastern Africa have both become independent. Other provinces have missions. For example, the province of France has missions in Ivory Coast and both Congos. Currently, we have Marianists working in countries that are not their homeland; I guess they can be called missionaries in that sense. As Marianists, we are all missionaries according to our founder Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, but that will be a topic for another time.

Did your experience in Dayton give you any new ways of looking at things? —Father Dave Fleming, S.M., UD professor

I think if we are open to growth and God’s graces around us, any experience in life gives us new ways of looking at things. UD being an international university allowed me not only to mingle with people from all walks of life but also to share my culture with them and to experience theirs. My stay in Dayton connected me to a bigger world and not just the United States of America.

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Tennis, sharp dressers and a tale of two families … Ask a Marianist

3:34 PM  Dec 30th, 2010
by Brother Al Kuntemeier, S.M. ’51

Brother Al Kuntemeier, S.M. ’51 knows what he teaches. Brother Al earned first place in the Texas State Fair Classic tennis tournament, where the lack of competitors in his 80-year-old age bracket required him to win against opponents in their early 70s; last year, he coached Nolan Catholic High School to a boys doubles state title.

Tennis is a very cerebral sport. What life lessons learned in tennis carry over to daily life? —Eric Mahone, UD tennis coach

Yes, a lot of it is in the mind. I have the mindset that I’m going to play my best, and if my best is better than my opponent’s, I’ll win. If I don’t win, it’s not because I didn’t play my best; it’s because my opponent played better. I ask my players after a match, “Did you lose, or did you get beat?” If they played their best, they didn’t lose, no matter what the outcome. My attitude is that I can and will win when I play my best. And that’s what life is all about.

How do you continue to be so good at golf after 63 years of being a Marianist? —Father Bert Buby, S.M. ’45, Dayton

God, and my mom and dad, gave me good genes. I take care of my body, and then it’s practice, practice, practice. Actually, my game is more tennis. Golf takes too much time and it’s too
expensive.

How do you relate your athletic coaching to your life as a Marianist? —Brother Phil Aaron, S.M. ’54, Dayton

Student athletes have a gift, a talent and a corresponding responsibility to do their best. I say, “Play your best, and if you do, I’m satisfied and I’m proud of you.” I want to teach a Christian message. I ask them to accept the gifts God gives them and to use them well. St. Julian of Norwich said, “The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live joyfully in the knowledge of His love for us.” I try to live that. I hope that whatever I do — teach accounting, counsel, coach — reflects my dedication, my living my Marianist vocation.

The Marianists were founded by Father Chaminade in Bordeaux, France, in 1817. The Marist order, also the “Society of Mary,” operates Marist High School in Atlanta and other schools throughout the world. They too were founded in France about the same time. How did this happen? It is extremely confusing. —Charles Werling ’58, Suwanee, Ga.

My favorite is when someone asks, “Are you a Marist brother?” The answer: “No, I’m a Marianist — we’re longer than they are.” Father Champagnat, a Marist father, founded the Brothers of Mary in France in 1817. The Marists are also known as the Society of Mary. The religious vows — poverty, chastity and obedience — are essentially the same. Maybe it’s like having two Jones families — name’s the same, but oh so different. We Marianists have our own history, charism, culture, spirit. We are known for community, for family spirit, our special devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. We take our vow of stability, which is a marian dedication to the mission and person of Mary. We live together, brothers and priests, in equality.

Why don’t Marianist brothers wear habits anymore? —Ernest Avellar ’49, Hayward, Calif.

Actually, we never did wear a “habit.” Chaminade ordered that the Marianist dress should differ little from that of seculars. At the time, they wore a chestnut brown Prince Albert coat, then a black Prince Albert coat. That lasted until 1947, when we switched to a short coat, double-breasted black suit, white shirt, black tie. My profession group, 1948, was the first to wear the short coat. People would see a group of us and wonder if we were going to an undertakers’ convention. Very few of us wear the black suit any more. We dress like the professionals of today. One of my claims to fame is that I do dress coordinated. Some of my colleagues call me “GQ.”

What is the key to the kingdom of God? —Francisco Alvarez ’88, San Juan, Puerto Rico

You get into the kingdom of God when you know Him, love Him and serve Him. Sound like the Baltimore Catechism? If you want the kingdom of God, follow the Commandments. And following the Commandments is broader than just “don’t kill” or “don’t miss Mass.” Love God, and show that love by the life you live. Do that and you have the key to the kingdom of God, the key to heaven. I don’t know where heaven is, but I believe in it, and I want to get there.

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Apocrypha, Chinese Catholicism and running shoes … Ask a Marianist

3:39 PM  Sep 22nd, 2010
by Father Bert Buby, S.M. ’45

Father Bert Buby, S.M. ’45 professor emeritus of religious studies, is recording a CD series on apocryphal Gospels this fall. It will be released by Now You Know Media in time for Christmas.

How did the four Gospels come to be considered canonical and the others lacking in authority or authenticity (apocryphal)? —Ed Smith, Kettering, Ohio

Predominant leadership in early Christianity really separated itself from anything that seemed to be a threat to what they received from the apostles. Canonical Gospels, in general, are founded on earlier traditions. The apocryphal Gospels — literature ranging from 90 A.D. to 700 A.D. — show us the diversity in some of the outlying communities of Christianity and how they looked at leadership from a different perspective. Soon I will be working on the Gospels of Judas and Mary Magdalene, which are very interesting.

What is the difference between a Marianist and a Jesuit? —Evan Ruggiero ’13, Palantine, Ill.

The main difference is the Marianists emphasize a strong discipleship based on the mother of Jesus. They differ in that brothers and priests are on an equal level of respect, with the priests tending to the sacramental life and the brothers tending especially to the education part of our mission, with both working together for the poor and on social justice issues. Jesuits focus on obedience to the pope and are more individual in their expression of community life.

Why did God require himself (Christ) to die for our sins? —Joseph Bonanno ’72, Manchester Township, N.J.

“God so loved the world that he gave his only son” [John 3:16]. The fact that Jesus became human through his mother, Mary, shows us that someone who was human had to be part of the reconciliation necessary to unite the human and the divine, and Jesus was the one to show us the way. What has not been assumed — our human nature — cannot be redeemed.

What do you think is the future of Catholicism in China and South (even North) Korea? —Robin Smith, Dayton

From listening to the Chinese Catholics here in the United States, it will be a difficult and long journey before Catholics will be able to have the same freedom of expression that they have in Taiwan or southern Korea. Communist authorities control the Catholic expression of faith in public.

When there are significant differences between various English translations of Scriptures, do you encourage students and alumni to select the wording that they like most? —Don Wigal ’55, New York City

As a teacher, I show them what it says from the original language — the Greek, Hebrew — and then have them see which of the new translations seems to capture what was in that original text. There’s a commentary given in four English versions that’s very helpful for students —the Complete Parallel Bible. What they like would be the personal application —Scripture is supposed to have an effect on you.

In a contemporary setting, especially in a place where religion is fading into the background, what role do the church and Mary have to play in society? —William P. Anderson, Lac du Flambeau, Wis.

Dignity of human work, dignity of owning property, dignity of the individual — this is really an area in need because of globalization. The church could really help the whole of society by promoting the compendium on social justice and peace statements in a simpler and clearer format, maybe by making them available at a lower price so more people would read them. And how does Mary fit in? I have a graduate student, Laura Morrison, working on that. She’s looking at Mary as a model of the Catholic social mission through the documents and scriptural passages and applying Catholic social teachings to the life and work of Mary.

My senior year at UD, I had the best possible job — student receptionist at Alumni Hall. One of the sweetest memories I have is when you bought a new pair of running shoes and were so excited that you showed them to me. Father Buby, are you still running? —Anne Muth Orlando ’85, Pittsburgh

I started running in 1970 and was still moving at a slow jog until a few years ago. I am not running because of a hip replacement; however, I do try to run from my superiors.

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