“The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
Strong words from a leader respected around the globe. And while he is neither a research scientist focused on climate change nor a politician tasked with protecting the resources of his country, Pope Francis’ words in his encyclical — Laudato Si’: Of The Holy Father Francis On Care for Our Common Home — carry weight among world leaders and practicing Catholics alike.
Pope Francis reinforced his strongly worded encyclical message during his recent trip to the United States.
“Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity,” he said in his Sept. 25 address to the U.N. General Assembly.
He went on to address the “boundless thirst for power and material prosperity,” the “misuse of available natural resources” and the impact they have on the “weak and disadvantaged.”
Francis is not the first pontiff to express his concern about the environment. In his first encyclical in 1979, Pope Saint John Paul II warned that human beings frequently seem “to see no other meaning in their natural environment than what serves for immediate use and consumption.” He went on to call for a global ecological conversion.
The tone of Francis’ encyclical, however, is one of urgency and action.
As Francis says, “It is my hope that this Encyclical Letter, which is now added to the body of the Church’s social teaching, can help us to acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face.”
Referring to his namesake as “the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically,” the pope implores us to follow in Saint Francis of Assisi’s footsteps.
He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and interior peace.
There are many ways to put the pope’s encyclical message into practice in our daily lives. Campus scholars weigh in on meaningful messages in the document, how to put Francis’ directives into action and why it matters.
Professor of Physics and in the Renewable and Clean Energy Program, and Director of Research, Hanley Sustainability Institute
“It needs to be said that, generally speaking, there is little in the way of clear awareness of problems which especially affect the excluded. Yet they are the majority of the planet’s population, billions of people. … Indeed, when all is said and done, they frequently remain at the bottom of the pile. This is due partly to the fact that many professionals, opinion makers, communications media and centres of power, being located in affluent urban areas, are far removed from the poor, with little direct contact with their problems. … Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
The last sentence Pope Francis writes is especially important.
Overall the pope is asking Catholics, and indeed all of us, to think integrally about our actions. Every small action we take has an impact, and therefore we should find ways to use fewer
resources — become far more energy-efficient, for example. I will get more concrete, although it’s not directly what the pope says. We, in the United States, should be clamoring to pay more taxes to build up infrastructure suitable for the future, such as renewable energy. We should be taking care of the least fortunate in our society and providing educational opportunities at appropriate levels to all. And we should think about our international obligations to aid development of those who will be most vulnerable in a changing climate. Our parents and grandparents did their part to provide appropriate infrastructure for us, but the current generation has become selfish and said, in effect, “We don’t care about the future because it might be too
expensive to us today.”
I am not Catholic, but as someone deeply interested in sustainability, I think we need to pay more attention to promoting renewable energy, wasting less, eating less meat and more locally. But Pope Francis is talking about something much bigger and more systemic and comprehensive, much of which should resonate no matter our religious beliefs.
SISTER LEANNE JABLONSKI, F.M.I.
Scholar-in-Residence for Faith & Environment at the Hanley Sustainability Institute, and Director of Marianist Environmental Education Center
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. …
Pope Francis’ “A Prayer for Our Earth” in Laudato Si’ encapsulates the call to tenderness and empathy through transforming encounters with all our neighbors — plants, animals and every person near and far.
I had a life-changing encounter while teaching global environmental issues at Chaminade University in Honolulu. The students — most from small Pacific Islands — shared their love of the ocean and how shorelines were changing through the accumulation of imported cans and bottles and the decrease in freshwater availability with erosion. I spoke about how climate change was predicted to increase storm frequency, raise sea levels and exacerbate saltwater intrusions. One student, Iumi, exclaimed, “Are you telling me my island and culture are disappearing? What are you going to do? Move us somewhere else and ship us bottled water?” Tears welled in me, as they do in each retelling. The next day, Iumi approached me: “I spoke out because I think you can do something about it.” I replied, “We each must do what we can and work together.”
Pope Francis is calling us to dialogue and action. We must mitigate the effects of climate change — choosing solutions that conserve resources, encourage energy efficiency and renewables, and create jobs and healthier air for all. To build bridges across perspectives — such as scientists and engineers providing expertise to faith communities — by forming partnerships and not working
Everyone needs to get involved and share their gifts, no matter where we are coming from. You could write a letter to the editor; I’ve seen people who have never even tried to write for a newspaper express in their own voice how important this is. Policymakers value constituent concerns. Get involved with a creation care team. Check with your local diocese or adjudicatory or visit the Catholic Climate Covenant (www.catholicclimatecovenant.org) to learn about opportunities to connect. Take the community spirit that you knew at UD and build a community in harmony with the environment where you are now. A Laudato Si’ online course (vlcff.udayton.edu) or a study group can support changes.
Little changes in the home, workplace and congregation can also make a big difference. Think about adjusting the thermostat and shifting to LED lights. Planting native plants will attract butterflies and birds and restore ecosystem services including air cooling and purification and preventing run-off. Visit meec.udayton.edu for educational resources.
Acting together, we are making a difference.
VINCENT J. MILLER
Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture, Department of Religious Studies
Francis’ message is essentially a spiritual one — one that nonetheless has profound economic and political consequences. He is asking us whether we can open our hearts to honor and care for all of those who sustain us and with whom we share our planet. Francis asks us to open ourselves to the best scientific arguments available as a way of attending to God’s creation.
“Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.”
We need to think on many levels.
First of all, the Vatican has been very explicit that this encyclical is timed to build moral pressure for governments to act with courage at the Paris climate talks in December. Pope Francis challenges President Obama, the U.S. Congress and the United Nations to act responsibly.
We need to follow his example and lobby our elected officials to negotiate and implement a strong agreement in Paris.
The United States has the highest per capita CO2 emissions rate of any major nation. We need to take serious steps as a nation and as individuals to reduce our carbon footprint. One of the most surprisingly effective ways to do this is to eliminate or seriously reduce our consumption of red meat. Eating lower on the food chain radically reduces the carbon fuel required to sustain our diet.
On the most personal level of change, we need to open ourselves to the world around us to see our interconnections with and responsibility for the rest of creation. Learn about backyard habitats. Connect with a local conservation group. Connect with an organic farm in your community.
The challenge we face is both spiritual and structural. We have to open our hearts and minds to the damage we are doing to the world around us. We need to act quickly to transform our energy system in order to leave our children and grandchildren a world that they can flourish in. Time has run out — we must change and act. The science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson once described our age as “the great dithering.” We owe our children more than that.
SISTER ANGELA ANN ZUKOWSKI, M.H.S.H.
Director of The Institute for Pastoral Initiatives, Professor of Religious Studies, and Marianist Educational Associate
“As Christians, we are also called to accept the world as a sacrament of Communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbors on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet.”
The idea of accepting the world as a sacrament of Communion shifts our perspective on how we interact with creation and all human beings. To be a “sacrament” is recognizing that it is a mirror of the creator. It calls for seeing with new or clearer eyes the beauty that embraces us every second of the day. It demands of us a renewed sense of respect and reverence, virtues which appear to be disappearing particularly in our modern Western civilization.
The words touch us where we need to be touched — in our conscience, mind, heart and lifestyles. We are called to a radical conversion in how we live and relate to the ecological and human factors of our world. This radical conversation involves, as Pope Francis constantly articulates, the reality that everything is connected. We do not live in silos, in isolation, but are by our very nature in communion with all things. In this sense of communion, we are called to be good stewards and care for all with compassion and love.
Finally, we are reminded, yes, we are pilgrims along the way. We are only passing through and we are called to care for the Earth and humanity mindful of the next generation. This idea of passing through helps us shift our lifestyle from thinking only about “me” and “my needs and wants” to what is best for the common good.
Bear in mind “not what I need and want” but how do my actions, lifestyle or way of life possibly impact the next generation? Am I over consuming? Where am I overconsuming? Whether it is food, water or energy use, how can I live more simply realizing less is more? Each day we need to awake and ask the question: How can I live more simply today? How can I raise the consciousness of others by my witness to preserve resources for the next generation? It may seem insignificant for one person, but when, as a community, we live more intentionally, it makes a huge difference. Once we begin to live more consciously with how we spend our time, use our finances and resources and realize that we are called to be stewards of creation and one another, everything can change. Most of us cannot bring about huge changes in the system, but we can change how we enter into each day and encounter and use the gifts that are offered. Everything can become a sacrament of encounter if we only have “eyes to see and ears to hear” (Deuteronomy 29:4).
I believe Pope Francis is striving to raise our consciences to the fact of integral ecology. We need to spend quality time reading, reflecting and discerning what this means for us as a community. This is a moral and ethical obligation — not simply a challenge — and each of us needs to contemplate our lifestyle and strive to work together for the common good for future generations.
Plus: Read how one student finds her place in her faith among a sea of pilgrims.
In 1850, St. Mary’s School for Boys opened with 14 students, one building — and most likely, a stack of books constituting a modest library. Here’s how the University’s 165-year-old academic center has transformed itself for the 21st century. (Hint: It involves hashtags.)
In the lobby, a delivery driver — summoned by a famished student study group — balances a stack of pepperoni pizzas. In the next room, history faculty consult with local historians to put the finishing touches on an exhibit commemorating Dayton’s 1913 flood. Upstairs, staff eye their computer screens as someone in Romania — and then someone in South America, and then someone in New Zealand — downloads the latest article from the Marian Library Studies journal.
In other words, it’s a typical afternoon in the University of Dayton Roesch Library.
Once viewed as an austere collection of books and bricks serving an exclusive group of equally solemn faculty and students, today’s academic library is a vibrant knowledge hub offering information and entertainment for people on campus, in the community — and even halfway around the world.
This isn’t your grandfather’s — or even your father’s — library.
In the beginning … there were books.
One of the oldest — but hardiest — institutions in civilization, the concept of a library was invented soon after we began chipping away at clay tablets and marking on papyrus scrolls. As History Magazine wrote in 2001, “Whether private or public, the library has been founded, built, destroyed and rebuilt. The library, often championed, has been a survivor throughout its long history and serves as a testament to the thirst for knowledge.”
The first record of a library on the University’s campus came in 1866, when a circulation record was referenced in St. Mary’s School paperwork. By 1876, a Brothers’ Library is mentioned in house council minutes. A decade later, the school catalog notes students must pay a $1 fee for use of the college library (a circulating library existed in the study room of each division). Chaminade Hall housed two libraries — one each for faculty and students — and a “special library” of spiritual reading books, later called Zehler Library and housed in St. Mary’s Hall.
In meeting minutes from Jan. 17, 1897, the need for a new library was discussed. Answering that call in the early 20th century was Chicago financier and St. Mary’s alumnus Victor Emanuel ’15, who gave $200,000 to build a stand-alone university library in honor of his father, Albert Emanuel. When the building opened in 1928, the school’s total enrollment was just shy of 900.
Less than 50 years later, UD’s enrollment had soared to 10,000, and the seven-floor, 176,220-square-foot mammoth of 1960s architecture now known as Roesch Library was built. It included the Marian Library, founded in 1943, and, with the blessing of the academic council, admitted professional librarians to faculty rank.
So, how does an institution with a 5,000-year history — and more than 150 years’ worth of campus presence — stay relevant in an era of 8-second attention spans?
It offers timely resources, with a side of Bill’s Donuts. (And then tweets about it.)
CHANGE OF SCENERY
“The library is one of the largest non-classroom buildings on campus, but a lot of learning still happens here,” said Kathy Webb, dean of University Libraries. “Our mission is to help facilitate the
learning in a variety of different formats.”
Like enticing students to come inside and learn more about the building’s offerings by passing out warm donuts on a fall morning, or organizing a multi-floor scavenger hunt for new student orientation — activities that, 25 years ago, were rare, said Maureen Schlangen, e-scholarship and communications manager for Roesch Library.
“More than 250 students participated in last year’s scavenger hunt, way more than we anticipated,” Schlangen said. “The prize was a free Popsicle, and we had to send someone to pick up more because we ran out. It’s unlikely a fun activity like that would have occurred to anyone, let alone happened, three decades ago. The library was a serious place for serious study and serious research.”
It still is, she noted, but the perception of what a library can do, and should do, has changed.
Said Katy Kelly, Roesch Library’s communications and outreach librarian, “The library is for everyone, and it can be serious, but it can also be a bit fun; it is what you
make of it.”
Ethan Frey ’16 has used the library all four of his UD years but is still impressed with its offerings.
“The front desk is a great resource. Not only can they tell you where to find certain books, but they can lend headphones and provide campus directory assistance,” he said. Perhaps more importantly: “It is also the only library I have been in that features a coffee shop,” he added, referring to The Blend, a student-run business in the Learning Teaching Center on Roesch Library’s ground floor.
Classmate Peter Hansen ’18 agreed, noting, “My library back home was nothing like Roesch; it was a one-room hall filled with dusty books and broken computers.”
Such shifts may be simple, but they’re important — and reflect changes happening not just at UD but in our culture at large.
“Our society has changed — we’re more casual now, and the library needs to evolve with that,” Webb said, noting that a policy update several years ago to allow bottled water first had to be put to a library staff and faculty vote. “It was a big deal. Now, students are welcome to have pizza delivered. We added a microwave on the second floor so they can heat their lunch from home. During final exams, students have been known to plug in coffee makers, set up sleeping bags and string Christmas lights.”
Taking a more active, rather than passive, approach to customer service is relatively new. Through email, website and social media, the library has regularly surveyed students on everything from carpet and paint colors (after hearing that the 1990s-era jewel tones were “too dark and gloomy”) to how late the library should stay open (the magic number: 5 a.m.). When Webb asked the University’s facilities crew to deliver three different chair styles — then set them out for students to test — it was the first time library staff had consulted students about the furniture where they routinely camp out. Two students also sit on the libraries’ advisory committee.
Said Webb, “I don’t think your father’s library listened to students. To have an opportunity to give feedback is very new. In an old-fashioned library, we wouldn’t have seen the need to provide both noisy and silent study spaces, but students asked for both, so we worked with them to identify and publicize the noise levels on each floor.”
IN WITH THE NEW
Unlike some entities that have experienced massive transformations over the past few decades — like mass media, for instance — libraries haven’t replaced their offerings; they’ve simply added to them. It’s an either/and, not an either/or, situation.
“Our physical circulation of print books has gone down, but our downloads of e-books and e-journals is skyrocketing. We’ve had many more visits to and requests for special exhibits and lectures, and those are things we didn’t spend a lot of time doing when I first arrived at the library in 1993,” Webb said. “We were busy showing people how to use print indexes. Now, it’s easier for people to handle online keyword searches on their own, so we can devote time to new projects.”
That change isn’t unique to Roesch. Krista Veerkamp ’12, a library services assistant at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, notes that “the library has changed so much from its traditional sense of simply providing books and information; it’s now a center for learning and discovery.”
One example: Forgot your phone charger or need a flip camera and video editing software to make your class presentation stand out? Roesch Library can loan you a device for that. The library now also teaches two credit-bearing classes for the philosophy and international studies departments, offers one-on-one librarian mentoring for honors students working on theses, and assists UD’s information technology office by administering software for faculty to track their scholarship, teaching and service.
In fact, very few of the library’s exhibits don’t have a curricular tie-in, Webb said. Imprints and Impressions: Milestones in Human Progress featured highlights from the Rose Rare Book Collection hand-selected by faculty to support the University’s emphasis on liberal arts. Lectures and panel discussions on themes found in the collection — including religion, typography, science and banned books — encouraged conversation.
University Archives and Special Collections — part of University Libraries, along with Roesch Library and the Marian Library — is also preserving the University’s past in real time with eCommons, a free online repository. UD’s version features everything from current scholarly research by faculty to The University of Dayton Alumnus from 1929.
“Our alumni, even though they aren’t on campus, can read what our faculty are doing in human rights research or see the student posters presented at the Stander Symposium,” Webb said. “It’s a one-stop-shop to experience the breadth of scholarly activity happening on our campus.”
It’s not only Flyers who benefit, Schlangen added. “There’s also a perception of academic libraries as being closed to the public. Now, we have exhibits where we actively encourage people off-campus to engage with our library, not just to view the exhibit but to look at all the other resources we have.”
Library services and exhibits are available to alumni and community members, not just students. In fall 2014, for instance, 8,000 people visited the library to view highlights from the Rose Rare Book Collection; the year prior, 5,400 came to see Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible and its accompanying presentations. Each Thanksgiving, about 800 people flock to the opening day of the University’s festival of crèches.
“With our exhibits and events, the University invites the public to come and experience something that is integral to our mission as a Catholic, Marianist university, in a way that is different than attending an athletic event, arts performance or lecture series,” Webb said.
MOVE IT OR LOSE IT
On a daily basis, Roesch Library sees approximately 1,800 students come through its doors each day — about 200 more visitors than the University’s RecPlex sees during the same time. During the 12 days of final exams each year, that library number jumps to 2,600, which is higher than the average student attendance (1,050) for basketball games in UD Arena.
“It’s a neutral space,” Webb explains. “Some of the academic buildings are limited to certain majors, or you need your student ID to access them after business hours. But everyone can get into the library.”
Like dining halls, the library is very much part of the campus experience these days, she said. “It used to be strictly functional, and a little bit stressful — it was tough going through the Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature, and you were doing it on your own. Now, there’s a social element and a teamwork function that reflects not just how people learn in the classroom but how they work in the professional world. It’s not just about new technology; it’s about how people are interacting differently.”
Based in part on the feedback the library solicits from students, its physical space sports several changes from when it opened in 1971. Built primarily to be storage from the second floor up, Roesch Library has now been reconfigured to make it more comfortable and user-friendly.
“We’ve been intentional about putting in moveable, comfortable furniture so students feel a sense of ownership; we want them to feel like this is a space they want to be in, where they have what they need to hang out and get their work done,” Webb said.
Kelly agreed. “We want the library to be for everyone, so everyone can find a place here,” she said. “What makes Roesch Library what it is, is the people: the people that work here and the people that use the library. The books you see on the shelf were selected by librarians. The paint colors on the study floors and the chairs you sit in were voted on by students. This makes the library unique to the UD experience, and truly a place made for people by people who care.”
The Knowledge Hub, an innovative new space on the first floor that opened in 2014 and is already averaging nearly 600 visitors per day, combined several student resources — like research assistance, peer writing support and tech-enabled team tables — into one central location. So far, the Knowledge Hub has provided 834 research consultations, 3,541 writing consultations and answered 6,057 questions.
It’s a model based on integrating, instead of simply co-locating, services that help students.
To be a librarian in ancient times was an esteemed profession, since it meant you were one of the elite few who could read. Today, those in the library field still provide valuable services, albeit with a job description that’s changed a bit.
Librarianship as a profession in the U.S. exploded after the Civil War, helped along in 1876 by the founding of the American Library Association (ALA) and the publication of the Dewey Decimal classification system. The first library school was founded by Melvil Dewey in 1887, and in 1928, the first doctorate in library science was awarded by the University of Chicago. By the 1960s, the library profession was becoming increasingly technical — what began as managing books under Dewey was quickly moving toward information science.
Today’s librarians are still the keepers of a wealth of information: where to find it, and what to do with it. In addition to the traditional roles of maintaining physical books and journals, audio and video recordings, and periodicals databases, today a librarian may also provide information services like computer instruction, coordination of community programming, literacy education, assistive technology for people with disabilities — even helping with music and video game downloads.
“Having information that is much easier to access has changed the way people look at research,” Webb said. “Before, you had to truly understand how each individual index worked to successfully find that information. Now, keywords and electronic journals make the hunt much easier. On the other hand, while it’s easier to search, you’re also introduced to a higher volume of information to sift through, which can be more difficult. It’s really changed the emphasis of the work of libraries and librarians.”
Roesch Library has hired staff to help with marketing, community relations, volunteer coordination and information technology, positions that weren’t on the radar 10 years ago. At Roesch, recent staff additions like Schlangen and Kelly represent this new frontier.
“Our profession has a reputation of actively picking new tools up and figuring out how to use them efficiently and effectively, and how to be relevant in students’ lives,” Webb said.
According to the ALA, there are more than 366,600 paid library staff in the U.S., with nearly a quarter (some 85,700) of those serving in academic libraries. What do these professionals do? Just ask a Flyer — about 200 University of Dayton alumni claim libraries — of which the ALA says there are 119,487 total in the country.
Cherie Hubbard Roeth ’85, director of the Bradford (Ohio) Public Library, describes the profession this way: “It’s a highly trained profession that encompasses skills that would boggle the minds of many. My staff are intensely creative and inspired to create activities and choose books and materials that entice the youngest to the oldest of our patrons, and we try to work closely with the community and be an integral part of our village.”
At UD, Barb Crone Feldmann ’71 helped with the library’s move from Albert Emanuel Hall to Roesch Library during winter break 1970. She has worked at the Washington-Centerville (Ohio) Library for 33 years.
“Libraries now are more than just places to get a book; they are places of all formats of materials and types of learning,” she said. “They are responding to changing community needs. They teach classes on computer literacy. They help people complete job applications, the majority of which are online now. They offer programming for children and families. They provide notary services and process passport applications.”
At Dayton (Ohio) Metro Library, where Allison Mikesell Knight ’09 serves as a children’s librarian at the Trotwood branch, patrons can sign up for crochet or self-defense classes, listen to author readings and take advantage of a free summer lunch program. “We even hatched chickens this spring — every day is different, and things are never boring,” she said.
As Linda Mares Pannuto ’69, children’s librarian at Orion Township Public Library in Rochester, Michigan, puts it, libraries aren’t “more than books;” they offer “books and more.”
Libraries may have changed over the years — no longer do scribes tote scrolls and heavy tablets — but the need for a repository of knowledge remains.
Thanks to #ClubRoesch (see above), that knowledge is now also at our fingertips.
Audrey Starr is managing editor of University of Dayton Magazine. She — and her Kindle — are looking forward to joining Roesch Library’s next faculty/staff book club.
UD Libraries: A Timeline
May 4, 1866 First mention of a circulation record.
1876 Brothers’ Library referenced in House Council Minutes.
1887 Catalog lists library usage fee at $1.
1888 Catalog references a circulating library in the study room of each division.
1901 Need for new library shelving, additional space noted.
1904 Chaminade Hall houses two libraries, one each for faculty and students.
1906 A “special library” of spiritual reading books is referenced.
1910 “Central/general library” moved from second floor to basement of Chaminade Hall; named Zehler Library after Brother Maximin Zehler, S.M.
1920 Zehler Library moved to St. Mary’s Hall, first floor. Brother Frank Ruhlman, S.M., serves as librarian.
1927 Groundbreaking for new Albert Emanuel Library, with funds given by Chicago financier and alumnus Victor Emanuel ’15 in honor of his father. Opens in 1928 and initially houses 25,000 books.
1937 Engineering library housed in Nazareth Hall adjacent to Zehler Hall.
1943 Marian Library founded in celebration of the upcoming Triple Centenary (founding of Society of Mary in America, founding of the University of Dayton and the death of founder Father Chaminade, all in 1849-50). First book was Devotion to Mary in the Twentieth Century by Father John Aloysius Elbert, S.M.; first director was Father Lawrence Moheim, S.M.
1954 Brother Walter Roesch, S.M., begins 8-year term as head librarian; Brother Ruhlman is assistant librarian.
1956 Separate libraries for physics (Grady), chemistry (Wohlleben), biology, engineering, science (Sherman) and curriculum materials (Chaminade) are found on campus.
1962 Academic Council admits professional librarians to faculty rank; Brother Raymond Nartker, S.M., begins 23-year tenure as director of University Libraries.
1964 Two wings added to Albert Emanuel Library.
1969 Groundbreaking for new University Library; cost $4.8 million to build, opens in 1971.
1979 University Library renamed Roesch Library after President Raymond A. Roesch, S.M.
1985 Edward Garten serves as director of University libraries for 18 years; will be followed by Kathleen Webb, current dean of libraries, in 2005.
UD students are eager to chat with Roesch Library staff; it just may not happen face-to-face. Since 2009, the library has met students where they are in the digital landscape, hashtags,
handles and all.
“Social media is not just another platform to share information about library resources and events,” said Katy Kelly, communications and outreach librarian. “If all you’re doing is posting
frequent updates, you’re essentially yelling at your audience, and there’s nothing social about that. You need to have a conversation.”
Student communications via Twitter have helped improve library spaces, technology and services. At UD, staff use notification tools and search functions to observe what students are saying about the library and engage with them daily. Monitoring chatter offers insight into what students are frustrated by (slow Wi-Fi or loud students on quiet floors) while also providing evidence that the library is a popular place on campus.
“The idea of the library as a club appealed to them, especially when students are in the library late at night or on the weekend,” Kelly said. “The discovery of #clubroesch was exciting because
it was not only being used often, but it was also the sole label used by student culture. Club Roesch highlights what students want their peers to see, not just what they want the library — or librarian — to see.”
The hashtag allows students to converse with each other, trade Club Roesch anecdotes and comment on their library experiences — which also paints a clearer picture for staff of how the library is used and viewed by students. Librarians are also using Twitter to respond to reference questions.
Other hashtag campaigns hosted by Kelly and her team include a #roeschselfie contest (snap a picture of yourself using the library, be entered to win a gift card) and the popular Club Roesch VIP contest, held before finals week each semester, which asks followers to retweet a @roeschlibrary post.
What prize awaits the lucky winner? A key to his or her own study room for all seven days of final exams.
Not too shabby for 140 characters.
UPDATE Jan. 7, 2016:
UD students’ passion for community is apparent when Red Scare is in full throat. CBS Sports Network highlighted these fierce and ferocious fans who see their support as just another expression of the UD community spirit. The video, left, aired prior to the Flyer men’s basketball team taking on UMass Jan. 6, 2016. Flyers won the A-10 home opener, 93-63.
The UD Arena was overwhelming the cold night of March 18, 2015. Dayton was trailing Boise State, but it was as if the students knew their cheers could make a difference. They began to scream louder and stand taller. The students of Red Scare didn’t want their chants to just go around the Arena; they wanted them to go around the nation.
The student section we’ve come to know, watch and love, whether from inside the Arena or on our TV at home, was not always burning red. Twenty years ago, students wanting to recapture the glory days of men’s basketball founded Red Scare. Today, Red Scare makes fans proud to be among the Flyer Faithful and rightly wins accolades of its own.
Red Scare’s creation story started in the fall of 1995 in 111 Evanston, a skinny two-story frame home where housemates Ashley Puglia Noronha ’96 and Katie Brown Konieczny ’96 hatched a plan to develop a student group to support the University’s athletics.
The seniors, you see, felt a little cheated. Noronha came to UD expecting the fan experience that birthed epic stories told by her alumni parents, Nora McNally Puglia ’70 and Fred Puglia ’65, who taught her UD’s fight song as soon as she could talk.
“When I came to UD as a student, I was shocked that no one else knew the song,” Noronha said.
In the Puglia household, NCAA and NIT wins made for “glory-days” basketball stories from a time when the UD fight song was sung constantly.
Noronha’s parents told of UD’s trip to the NCAA Tournament final in 1967 when UD played against UCLA and its 7-foot-2 center Lew Alcindor, later known as NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“UD lost, but my parents told me many stories of the dedicated fans and the camaraderie amongst them as they crowded into the UD student union to watch the games on screens that were specially set up for the occasion,” Noronha said. “My mom remembers that a student — in honor of the UD player Glinder Torain — painted on his car, ‘Who needs Alcindor, we’ve got Glinder!’”
Noronha wanted to resurrect the deafening cheers of the Arena and the pride that once filled the community, and she knew it was going to take a lot of energy and commitment.
The women took their idea of founding a student spirit club to Patricia “Trish” Kroeger ’66, UD’s spirit and special events coordinator for athletics. And she offered them her son, Joe, as one of the club’s first members.
Joe Kroeger ’97 had grown up with UD basketball, from selling programs before games at age 8 to running the coat check at age 14. He recalled the ’80s, when giants like Roosevelt Chapman and Damon Goodwin roamed the court and the Arena was electric. And he wanted to help bring some of that electricity back.
“The timing of it is really important,” Joe Kroeger explained. “Dayton was not winning basketball, maybe four games a year, so the [student] tickets were not selling. Our motivation was to fill the student section.”
The average attendance for men’s basketball in 1995 was barely 11,000 during the 7-20 season — still great by most universities’ standards, but more than 2,000 shy of the sellout the students thought their school deserved.
First, they needed to get students excited about filling the seats. Noronha said the enthusiasm was there — it just needed to be organized.
“Up to that point, students were scattered throughout the arena, so the fan power wasn’t cohesive,” Noronha said. “By bringing students together, Red Scare gave us an opportunity to support our fellow students in their athletic pursuits, for students to grow together in friendship, and to develop an appreciation for the distinguished athletic legacy of the University.”
Next, they needed to secure the seats. Trish Kroeger helped the student organization get a block of seats at football and men’s and women’s basketball games.
Finally, they needed a name. “Red Menace” and “Oliver’s Army,” for 1994-2003 men’s head coach Oliver Purnell, were thrown around, but the organization knew it had a winner with the name “Red Scare.”
“It was clever,” Joe Kroeger said. “It had a connotation that wouldn’t be associated with a group like ours. I rallied for it.”
A phrase once associated with communism and political radicalism was an unusual choice for a private university’s athletic support group. But it was unique and intellectual and had ways of making everyone start asking, “What is Red Scare?”
The organization started off small, Noronha said, debuting at the last football home game of the season, a 55-0 win over West Virginia State. Then Red Scare started filling five to 10 rows for the men’s basketball games, wearing shirts reading “Red Scare” on the front and “Go crazy or go home” on the back, painting their faces with red and blue paint, and bellowing the words to the UD fight song.
Soon students stopped asking what Red Scare was and started asking how they could join.
“There was a new and exciting energy around the program after a very challenging stretch of years,” said Michael Joyce ’96, one of the founding members of Red Scare.
Student participation rose, and men’s basketball home attendance rose — to above 12,000 by the 2001-02 season. And everyone had something to cheer about, including a 21-11 season in 2001-02 and a 22-14 season in 2002-03.
Red Scare — the honorary sixth man on the court — has gained appreciation from men’s head coach Archie Miller himself. Miller has repeatedly thanked Red Scare for its contribution through social media.
Miller tweeted after Dayton beat Saint Joseph’s, 68-64, “@red_scare you were fantastic tonight and we thank everyone who was at the arena helping us pull through! We have the best fans in COUNTRY.”
Players add to the praise.
After the Flyers’ 56-55 win over Boise State in UD Arena in the NCAA First Four March 18, 2015, then-senior Jordan Sibert told ESPN that UD’s crowd was a component for their success. “They were electrifying. … I don’t think we would have won that game without them,” Sibert said.
Red Scare also has found success beyond core sports as its spirit model evolved.
“I think we’re unique in the sense of putting a big effort in the non-mainstream [sports],” senior Ryan Phillips said. Phillips, the current Red Scare president, puts emphasis on appreciating all UD athletic programs. The crowds, victory chants and outrageous signs can be heard and seen at women’s basketball, volleyball, and men’s and women’s soccer games.
“We give them the home-field advantage,” he said.
In Red Scare’s recent past, students received coveted men’s basketball seats as groups by accumulating points for attending other athletics events. While it helped the other sports, it hurt basketball. Red Scare could look sparse or scattered when the student group could not fill its assigned seats because of class or other commitments, Phillips said.
At the start of the 2014 season, men’s basketball tickets became first-come, first-serve. Instead of getting points at other athletics events, students cheering at these events now receive free food, T-shirts or other giveaways from Red Scare. It worked, with the student section hitting capacity during some basketball games during the 2014-15 season.
Last season, Red Scare saw continued attendance growth and support for non-basketball sports, Phillips said, and basketball hit heights that would make the Red Scare founders proud. Men’s basketball had an average attendance of 12,718 and a team record of 27-9, including advancing to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Women’s basketball ranked 50th nationally in attendance — and first in the Atlantic 10 Conference — with 2,538, and the team advanced to the Elite Eight.
Although Red Scare puts the focus on cheering for all UD athletics, it also helps bring all Flyers, past and present, together, Phillips said.
“Everyone talks about community. Sports, in my mind, is one way you can experience true community,” Phillips said. “It’s not the University of Dayton Flyers. This is my University of Dayton Flyers.”
Red Scare has changed the game for athletics and all UD Flyers, say alumni.
“Over the years, the student section turnout and cheering has varied,” said Alan Hemler ’87, a men’s basketball season ticket holder. Hemler said he has loved watching students create a “high-energy environment” that supports UD athletics.
“The past four years of Red Scare have outperformed previous seasons,” Hemler said.
And the nation has noticed. In 2012, UD earned the title “Best Under-the-Radar College Basketball Atmosphere” from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Intersport. In 2013, Red Scare was nominated for a Naismith Student Section of the Year Award. And on March 25, 2014, NBC Nightly News highlighted the blue-faced, red-haired, flag-waving Red Scare in a feature on school spirit.
“The founding fathers are proud of the group — I certainly am,” Joe Kroeger said. That pride traverses the miles as he views the student section on TV from his home on the West Coast. “Keep it up for another 20 years.”
For a school that focuses on tradition and community, Red Scare is one embodiment. So here’s to 20 more years of Red Scare. May the chants always be loud, the seats be never empty, and the Flyer spirit soar.
DAYTON, FLYERS — GO UD!
The poncho underneath me crumpled. I found the most comfortable sitting position possible on the Capitol Building lawn and closed my eyes. Conversations in Spanish, French and English floated through the air, but I was most impressed that people had the ability to converse at 5 in the morning. Pope Francis’ Sept. 25 address to Congress wasn’t for another four and a half hours, yet I, and a crowd of around 50,000, were already gathered to hear him.
During the pope’s visit to D.C., I was one of the youngest members of the press corps, at the invitation of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. It was, at first, a professional opportunity — I’m a public relations major, and I tweeted the events for @daymag and gathered information to write this story. As a Catholic, it also became an opportunity of faith. You see, ever since I came to college I have been questioning what I believe. And I am not alone. According to a Pew Research Center survey of Catholics, only 30 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they attend Mass once a week, compared to 49 percent of those 65 and older. For the first time, I am being exposed to different religions and people making faith decisions based on something other than how our parents raised us.
I knew that, in the crowds gathered to see the pope, there were more like me who came to hear in his message not just words but a place for us in this worldwide faith. Maybe that is why, as college students, we are so drawn to Pope Francis. He talks, and we listen to him calling and challenging millennials as members of the Church that we didn’t know was ours all along.
The previous day, Sept. 24, I attended the Canonization Mass of Junípero Serra to live tweet what I experienced and to talk to students. I wanted to learn why so many of them were willing to wait in lines starting at 5 a.m. to attend Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The first students I talked with were four broadcast journalism majors from Duquesne University who were filming a documentary about Pope Francis’ visit. Why did they think it was important for college-age students like us to report at these events?
Junior Emily Stock said that, for the first time, she feels like students have a public figure we can all look up to, one who is finally doing what millennials try to do — accept each other.
“The pope is open-minded — he is a people-person,” she said. “He reaches out to undeveloped communities and appeals to both political parties.”
This was the first of many similar responses. The editor-in-chief of Catholic University of America’s student newspaper, Antoinette Cea, was next to me in line and joined in the conversation. “We [as Catholics] are comfortable being members of the Catholic Church again,” she said.
In the U.S., there are roughly 77.7 million Catholics, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, an increase of more than 20 million from 1965. But the number of Catholic millennials is decreasing. According to the Pew Research Center, only 16 percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 identify as Catholic, compared to 20-23 percent of those older than 35. My personal conversations with young Catholics mirror some of the reasons for this national trend: the Church’s views on marriage equality, divorce, abortion and contraception.
But as I walked around the basilica among 25,000, there was little discussion of what divides us. Instead, students talked about what united them to the leader of the Catholic faith: acceptance, humbleness, modern ideals and a charismatic attitude — not to mention a fondness for Twitter [see @Pontifex].
Although this was my first encounter with a pontiff, it wasn’t America’s. Pope Paul VI was the first pope to visit the U.S. in New York City Oct. 4, 1965. Pope John Paul II made seven trips to the United States over two decades. The last time a pontiff visited America was Pope Benedict XVI, who stopped in New York and Washington in 2008 where crowds of roughly 83,000 gathered, according to The New York Times.
Pope Francis’ visit to D.C., Philadelphia and New York was monumental because his trip coincided with national and international political discussions, including on the environment and the poor. Within a week, he canonized a saint, spoke to the United Nations, ate lunch with the homeless, addressed Congress and attended the World Meeting of Families.
While I was in D.C. on the lawn, UD students were in the Kennedy Union Hangar. Among the comfy couches and bowling lanes was a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 200 watching the address to Congress on the big screen and engaging on social media.
Sophomore Alexandra Altomare, who tweets at @alibearie7, spent that morning in the Hangar playing pope bingo (she earned a space when the pope said “joy” or discussed the “economy of exclusion”). She tweeted, “Started my morning with donuts, bingo, politics, and Pope Francis. I love UD! Very proud to be a Catholic today! #UDPope #pope2congress.”
Some of those same students, days later, piled onto two buses to join the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia Sept. 26-27. Pope Saint John Paul II started the World Meeting of Families in 1994 in Rome and, every three years, it is the largest gathering of Catholic families in the world.
The UD family included 111 students, staff and faculty who traveled together to witness Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia, including senior Megan McAuliffe.
“I enjoyed celebrating and worshipping as one Catholic family,” she said. “Pope Francis called everyone to serve and care for each other as freely as God loves the human family.”
Pope Francis also spoke to inmates at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia. There, he said, “We know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from traveling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey. He doesn’t ask us where we have been, he doesn’t question us about what we have done.”
Back in Dayton, Dominic Sanfilippo, Jack Schlueter, Andrew Ekrich and I discussed Pope Francis’ visit around their duct-taped kitchen table at their Marianist Student Community house on Trinity Avenue. When asked specifically about Francis’ concern for our consumerist-dominated society, Sanfilippo said, “Pope Francis is calling us to be aware of how we walk around in the world. We have to take a step back from the world and question, ‘How am I acting today?’ We have set up the world where so many people profit at the expense of another and with our generation — it doesn’t have to be that way.”
Through Pope Francis’ various stops in the U.S. — and his willingness to talk about debated issues while remaining true to the idea of caring for the common good of all creation — he transformed for me the idea that Catholicism is just something practiced on Sundays into a ritual lived out in the way we accept others.
When Pope Francis finished his address to Congress, he emerged on the Capitol balcony and said, “And I ask you all, please, to pray for me. And if amongst you there are some who don’t believe, or can’t pray, I ask you please, to wish good things for me.”
The hair on my arms stood up and a chill raced up my spine. I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. As I stood alone in the crowd, I knew I wasn’t the only one who was blinking back tears.
Through that simple statement, Pope Francis recognizes that while we all question our faith, we are accepted anyway. That one statement reaffirmed that there was and always will be a place for me in Catholicism.
Read more about what the pope says (and why we care).
“Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”
Singing the words of Psalm 122, the congregation prepared to enter through the doors of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, led by the Most Rev. Joseph R. Binzer, auxiliary bishop, Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
The Aug. 16 rededication of the chapel echoed its first rites of dedication and consecration June 24, 1869, celebrated by the archbishop of Cincinnati at the time, John Baptist Purcell.
“This historic renovation of the chapel,” Bishop Binzer told the congregation during his homily, “goes beyond bricks and mortar to renew the heart of the University.”
He said he had gone to the University’s homepage, clicked on the link titled “Guided by Faith,” and come to the vision statement for the chapel renovation. From that vision, he shared these words:
Since it was built in 1869, the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception has been the focal point of the University of Dayton. In terms of mission, spirituality and campus geography, the chapel marks the central axis around which the University has grown: It is truly the heart of the University of
In 1869 Maltese crosses were put on the side walls of the chapel. They are still there. They signify that this consecrated space must remain one whose primary purpose is to celebrate the liturgical rites of the church.
That purpose has not varied.
Over the years, some physical changes to the chapel have taken place. Many early photos are dominated by an ugly coal stove in the center of the congregation. The stove mercifully yielded to steam heat in 1898.
In 1876, the reredos (the wall behind the altar) was added with statues of Saints Peter, John and Mary. At some unknown point, Peter morphed into Joseph. In 1907, the sacristy was enlarged; in 1919, confessionals added. The statues of Our Lady of the Pillar and Blessed William Joseph Chaminade were put in the niches in the outside wall flanking the massive doors in 1951-52.
In 1971, the dome was painted blue.
The dome is still blue, the cross still above it. Our Lady and Father Chaminade still welcome worshippers. John and Joseph still attend Mary.
Behind the altar, Mary continues to stretch out her arms, today also welcoming people to a new reservation chapel. Above her, the historic rosette window of the crucified Christ is now in full view of the congregation.
Original windows have been restored, new stained glass windows added. A real immersion baptismal font. A reconciliation room. Wooden pews.
But the chapel is more than a place.
At the rededication, Bishop Binzer drew the congregation’s attention to that fact by again quoting from a document on the renovation:
The history of the chapel’s refreshment, renewal and renovation reverberates in every corner, but its true power extends beyond its four walls. It appears in the lives of all who come here to worship the triune God, receive the sacraments, pray in times of quiet hope and desperation, and share joys and sorrows. We leave this sacred space with a fervent desire, buoyed by God’s grace, to carry out the mission of Mary — the Marianist mission of bringing Christ’s life into a world always in need of refreshment, renewal and renovation.
The congregation left the chapel Aug. 16 having seen it blessed, having felt the holy water and smelled the incense, having watched the anointing of the altar and walls where hang the Maltese crosses, having rejoiced in the lighting of the candle, having celebrated the Eucharist and having seen lit the sanctuary lamp of the reservation Chapel — Christ present, his mother nearby, arms outstretched, welcoming all to the salvation earned by Jesus Christ, her son, our Lord.
To see a video of the rededication ceremony and to read more about the renovation of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, see go.udayton.edu/chapel.
BEAUTY IS IN THE DETAILS
After years of planning and 14 months of construction, the $12 million renovation of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception has been accomplished. The beauty is in the details.
1. Reservation chapel The Eucharistic reservation chapel, in accord with church liturgical guidelines, is a distinct space, here sitting to the east of the sanctuary. The canopy from the old, unused pulpit is now above the tabernacle.
2. Windows in the nave The 10 windows in the nave have been replaced, with elements echoing those of the chapel’s original windows. Each also has a medallion, 2 feet in diameter, depicting an image of Mary from Scripture or tradition. Franklin Art Glass was commissioned for the new windows as well as the restoration of the historic windows.
3. In the sanctuary The furnishings, designed by Brother Gary Marcinowski, S.M., include the altar, ambo, presider chair, processional crucifix, candles, cantor stand and Easter candle stand.
4. Wooden pews Curved wooden pews salvaged from a former church not only provide an aesthetic upgrade from metal-framed chairs but also contribute toward LEED certification through the reuse of materials.
5. Devotional areas On the north side of the chapel, one devotional alcove is devoted to Mary; one tells the story of the Marianist founders; and one is dedicated to Jesus.
6. Baptismal font As worshippers enter through the west doors, they encounter a baptismal font, emblem of the first sacrament of Christian life. At the font’s base stand restored wooden statues (formerly part of the unused pulpit) of Mary and the four Evangelists.
7. Eastern windows The crucifixion rosette, above the reredos, is flanked by two new rosettes, representing the Alpha and the Omega. To the sides, the four windows portraying Saints Peter and Augustine on the north and Saints Paul and Ambrose on the south have been restored.
8. Reredos High on the wall behind the altar, the statue of Mary, standing between the statues of St. John and St. Joseph, not only overlooks the assembly but also welcomes worshippers to the Eucharistic reservation chapel.
9. Stations of the cross Along the north and south walls of the chapel will be the Stations of the Cross by Ohio artist Michael Bendele.
10. Pathway of Discipleship In the new reconciliation room and south hallway, five new windows grace a Pathway of Discipleship with images from Jesus’ life: baptism, the Word of God, prayer, Eucharist and service.
11.Western windows The three rosette windows in the western wall have been restored. Relocating the organ and lowering of the balcony have made all these windows, for the first time in history, visible to those assembled in the chapel.
For more details, download the Chapel commemorative booklet.
BY THEIR HANDS
The mostly unseen hands of more than 1,705 donors helped renovate Immaculate Conception Chapel for the glory of God and the exultation of community. Their gifts made possible the $12 million, 14-month project.
“We give special thanks to our generous, visionary donors who made our dream a reality,” said renovation committee co-chairs Sandra Yocum and Father James Fitz, S.M. ’68.
In attendance at the rededication Mass were Francis and Janet Berkemeier, whose names are among those donors. They took special pride in the rich walnut woodwork on the reredos, where the statue of Mary stands with Saints John and Joseph behind the altar. The wood came from the trees on the family farm in Jackson, Michigan, where generations of Berkemeiers — and Flyers — have begun their trek to Dayton. Francis, a 1969 graduate, said the wood donation signifies the family’s enduring connection to UD.
“We can become part of the brick and the mortar and the landscape,” he said.
Outside, in the St. Mary’s Courtyard, an extension of the sacred environment of the chapel, is a garden in recognition of all those who made the renovation possible. The sculpture by Dayton metal artist Hamilton Dixon is reminiscent of a timepiece set to the 3 o’clock hour. Etched in marble is the Three O’clock Prayer, a prayer of spiritual unity for Marianists around the world. The sculpture now also unites the hearts of all those who have contributed to the spiritual heart of campus.
Watch the Berkemeier trees transformed for the chapel on YouTube.
The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception means something special to each of us for different reasons. Senior Ryan Phillips — the face of Red Scare, one of the longest-tenured student workers at the RecPlex and a Eucharistic minister — sat down with us to talk about his chapel moments.
Squint at first sight
I didn’t plan to attend the University of Dayton, but in the fall of my senior year, my family and I
visited anyway. It was the stereotypical college day. As my tour passed through the center of
campus, I squinted in the sun to look up at the blue dome of the chapel.
Breaking up is hard to do
There would be certain times when I would just go and sit in the chapel. I was there with my brother and one of my best friends a few weeks after my breakup with my high school girlfriend. There weren’t many words, but there was that comforting feeling of “I’m here with you.”
You go to any church back home, and a lot of people are just sort of sitting there. They’re doing their “hour of the week.” When I go to the chapel 10 minutes before Mass here, everybody is sitting there laughing and hugging and talking about
their weekends. That was the first time I saw and understood true community.
Center of it all
After returning from the UD Summer Appalachia Program, I realized that everything at UD is focused on the Marianist charism. It’s at the core of every decision we make. Brothers live in the middle of the student neighborhoods, and the chapel is in the heart of campus. The blue dome is so prominent because it is so symbolic of what
the University is based on: our faith.
Friends in faith
As a first-year student, I sat in the chapel with 40 other students for the Callings Christian leadership program. It was centered around the
Marianist tradition. That day, I met a lot of people with whom I have led retreats, and we’ve stayed friends. This year, I’m even living with three of them.
Brothers that pray together…
I just sat there and talked to my brother for an hour. That conversation wasn’t just between me and my brother, but between me, my brother and God because we were sitting in front of the Eucharist. Even in the moments when we sat in silence, we bonded over that.
My fascination with fear comes directly from my awareness of how life can change in an instant. I was in a car accident in the mid-1960s, when I was 6 years old. My dad crashed into a telephone pole while driving down a four-lane road. I flew through the front windshield and sustained major head and facial injuries. My parents were told at the time that if I lived, I’d be “a vegetable.” The doctors were wrong.
Within two weeks, I was out of the hospital, and I recovered fully.
Fear continues to lurk in my middle-aged life, and instead of ruminating about it, I decided to explore it from the mindset of an observer and collector. Through other people’s words and my visuals, I have been steadily creating what I call the Fear Project, a narrative about common and not-so-common fears that others have shared with me. These fears include death, failure, losing a child, losing one’s voice, losing one’s mind, centipedes in the shower, needles, cancer, speaking honestly with one’s spouse, déjà vu, seaweed, being wrongfully imprisoned, biscuits and clusters of small holes.
The project’s participants — friends, neighbors, colleagues, my students, family members, acquaintances and people I’ve never met — share their fears with me via email or in person. Many people have told me that after seeing a tangible interpretation of their fear, they feel less burdened by it.
Why talk about fear? Because we live in a world where fear is a driving force in our everyday lives, like it or not. Fear sells. (Buy this, or else!) Fear persuades. (Repent, or ye shall be damned!) Through daily headlines, we learn early on that the world is indeed a scary place — terrorism, school shootings, melting ice caps, epidemics, polluted water. If we’re not scared, we’re told, we’re foolish.
I’m often asked if it’s depressing for me to work on drawing these fear pieces. The short answer is no. It’s actually quite the opposite. A visual representation of fear generates thought and conversation. Placing fear in the context of drawings that are colorful, multilayered and accessible gives people a way to face the darker parts of their lives in a nonthreatening way.
I may dwell in this world of fear, anxiety and phobias, but honestly (and fortunately), I am not frozen with fear in my own day-to-day life. I’ve even done some things that exhibit some measure of fearlessness, I think — I’ve lived in many different states, tried on numerous jobs, hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in one shot and completed my first year-and-a-half of college-level French in my 50s.
I’ve said “yes” to many things before I had a chance to let any worries get the best of me. I have learned that “Onward!” is a powerful mantra. I believe that many people carry heaps of blankets of fear with them, yet they continually aspire to move beyond whatever holds them back.
This project resonates strongly with people, I’ve discovered — simply because of how deeply embedded fear is in most of our everyday lives. I’ve come to think of this project as my “fear beat,” and as long as fear remains a constant presence in our collective consciousness and conversation (which it will, no doubt), I know I will never run out of material.
Julie Elman is an associate professor of visual communication at Ohio University. She graduated from UD in 1982 with a bachelor’s in commercial design. She is happy to take your fears at fear-project.com.
They beat breast cancer, only to be battered by side effects of treatment. Assistant professor Mary Fisher is helping survivors thrive with research and clinical practices to keep their bodies in motion — and their quality of life soaring.
As co-chair of her 50-year class reunion committee, Joanne Daley ’57 stood out among her peers at Reunion Weekend 2007, buzzing around Kennedy Union and greeting her fellow Flyers with a warm hello.
Colorful scarves and hats hid the vestiges of her chemotherapy treatment. She remembers the sheer exhaustion she felt as she worked to fulfill the Reunion Weekend duties she had accepted months before a Stage II breast cancer diagnosis. A tumor in her left breast was triple negative, a type that tends to grow and spread aggressively. Daley says her doctors “threw everything they could at it,” providing a standard of care that sent her cancer into remission and extended her life.
On March 19, 2015, Daley, now 80, celebrated eight years of being cancer-free. A scar marking the spot where tissue was removed remains a permanent reminder of what she endured eight years ago; a compression sleeve on her left arm, swollen to double the size of her right, symbolizes the continuing physical restrictions she manages as a result of her treatment.
Daley’s story is one Mary Fisher has heard countless times in her career as a physical therapist and assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy: A breast cancer survivor completes radiation or chemotherapy, only to notice debilitating physical limitations, usually in the arm and shoulders, that weren’t present before.
“The survival rate for breast cancer is nearly 90 percent,” Fisher says. “After breast cancer treatment, we should be able to help these women return to the same level of quality of life they had before their diagnosis.”
That vision guides Fisher’s research as she works to raise awareness among survivors, their doctors and loved ones that the fight against breast cancer can continue, in a different arena, long after the cure.
MOVEMENT AFTER SURVIVAL
Three months after Daley’s surgery in March 2007, she developed lymphedema, a painful condition in which fluid fails to drain from body tissues, leading to swelling in the arm or leg. Removal of lymph nodes from around the armpit, called axillary nodes, is a common risk factor, and close to 60 percent of breast cancer survivors report symptoms of lymphedema after completing cancer treatment.
“It’s a pain in the butt — you can quote me on that,” Daley says.
The swelling in her hand and arm make gardening, one of her favorite hobbies, range from uncomfortable to painful. Washing dishes becomes a struggle with a swollen hand, as does the simple task of holding food in place to cut it. Trips to buy clothes become exercises in frustration, as Daley struggles to slide coat sleeves over her left arm. She must buy two sets of gloves to make a pair to fit differently sized hands.
As common as such complaints are, doctors and other health care professionals are usually more focused on keeping cancer at bay. The rest of the patient’s physical state isn’t often part of post-treatment conversation.
Because of her interest in physical therapy, however, Fisher listened to these survivors.
“While I was in graduate school, I had a conversation with a colleague who had breast cancer many years before, and she said to me, ‘You know, Mary, I’m still having trouble with my arm five years later,’” Fisher says. “That got me looking into this and thinking about it, and I began to read the literature and find out what kind of problems women who have had breast cancer treatments face.”
Among her findings is that not all regain full arm function even six years after undergoing surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. She is also finding that early intervention with exercise and physical therapy can help women recover fully.
It’s an easy solution in theory, but there’s another catch. By the time most women begin noticing signs of lymphedema, it’s too late for them to return to full function. Other limitations can be overcome through physical therapy and exercise.
Since 2007, Fisher has participated in multiple local and national studies to first confirm, and later, to determine best practices to address arm function limitations among breast cancer survivors. Her initial findings have encouraged her to promote prospective surveillance — the practice of monitoring an affected group after a medical event to observe pattern development — and early intervention efforts to improve survivors’ physical capabilities and prevent long-term functional limitations.
She considers prospective surveillance a paradigm shift in addressing the needs of all cancer survivors after treatment — a change Fisher says will improve the quality of life for men and women long after they’ve overcome cancer.
STUDIES IN MOTION
Until the late 20th century, breast cancer diagnoses were often delivered behind a veil of shame and secrecy, with women quickly given mastectomies to remove the affected breasts, often without fully informed consent.
Breast cancer advocacy emerged in the 1970s when women began to talk more openly about their diagnoses and push for more involvement in their treatment. Prominent women like Shirley Temple Black, the former child star and U.S. ambassador, and First Lady Betty Ford lent their voices to the cause. Women began pushing for research, more sensitive medical care and treatment options that didn’t result in mastectomy as a matter of course.
Nearly 40 years later, it’s clear such advocacy and awareness has worked. The long-term outlook for breast cancer survivors in the United States has never been better — in 2013, the National Institutes of Health reported a 90.5 percent survival rate five years after diagnosis, up from the 75 percent for women diagnosed between 1975 and 1977. Lumpectomy and radiation therapy, rather than mastectomy, are now the standard of care for early-stage breast cancer.
Because most survivors now live decades after their initial diagnoses, post-treatment complaints are emerging with greater frequency. As a physical therapist, Fisher began noticing a common trend among those who visited her for arm limitations. Quite a few had completed post-lumpectomy treatment in the past few months, or perhaps the past year or two, and complained of arm pain or limited function. Sometimes lymph nodes had been removed; in other cases, they had not.
“I can tell you this story over and over again,” Fisher says. “Even if she didn’t develop lymphedema, she can barely move her arm.”
Fisher wanted to know how long the problems persisted after cancer treatment. While completing her doctorate in rehabilitation sciences at the University of Kentucky, she began studying arm function in long-term breast cancer survivors. Her 24 years of clinical practice as a physical therapist at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton also influenced her research.
Her dissertation findings confirmed that breast cancer survivors had limited motion compared to women who hadn’t had breast cancer. This was especially true for left-handed women who had cancer on their right sides, and for right-handed women who had cancer on the left sides. Survivors also reported a slightly lower quality of life and slightly higher arm disability than women who hadn’t had breast cancer.
Fisher then had to rule out other possibilities for decreased long-term arm mobility before attributing the change to cancer treatment. Perhaps the physical issues were simply part of the normal aging process? Or were other factors involved? Those questions hadn’t adequately been addressed, she says.
To find out, she began conducting studies at UD in 2011 using healthy controls — 79 women who’d never had breast cancer or a shoulder injury or surgery — and compared them to 50 women who’d had breast cancer and treatments more than a year in the past. She put them through a series of tests, timing them as they picked up light objects and placed them on a shelf, similar to an everyday activity like putting groceries in a pantry.
The survivors had more disability and less arm function than the healthy controls, regardless of age, she found.
In January 2013, Fisher joined a National Institutes of Health team working with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington, D.C. The group has been collecting data since 2004 on the arm function of most women diagnosed with breast cancer who have received services at Walter Reed.
The study examined 150 women after breast cancer treatment. The group measured the women’s arm functions at the study’s start and at regular intervals thereafter — one, three, six, nine, 18, 24, 36 and 60 months out. The following year, the group began collecting data on healthy control subjects for comparison.
Researchers used a tool called a perometer to measure changes in limb volume, such as swelling in an arm. Their results showed that even a 5- to 10-percent increase in limb size was not reversible. But there was also good news. Prospective surveillance alerted health care providers to increases of less than 5 percent in limb volume. Patients and providers then employed aggressive management, and patients showed less disability long term.
“At the first hint of preclinical lymphedema, which is a 3-percent difference in arm volume from the pretreatment measure, they’ll put a (compression) sleeve on the patient, teach her how to do manual lymph drainage and start an exercise program,” Fisher says. “They’ve found it very effective in often reversing lymphedema.”
The NIH team is now working to develop more sensitive tools to measure arm function and standard tests of muscular endurance for post-treatment evaluations, as none currently exist.
Limited arm function might be of less concern to survivors than the cancer itself, but Fisher believes cancer treatment shouldn’t rob women of what they enjoyed doing before their diagnoses, such as gardening, in Daley’s case.
“Ultimately, if arm function is impaired, quality of life is often diminished,” Fisher says. “That’s what we’re trying to address.”
STOPPING BEFORE IT STARTS
In 2010, Terri Baldasare, a former annual fund employee at UD, was more than a year out from the surgery that removed a cancerous lump in her breast. She traveled to South Carolina for a vacation and noticed her hand had swollen significantly after a day playing golf.
Baldasare, a Beavercreek, Ohio, resident and friend of Fisher’s, was aware of the potential physical changes she could encounter after surgery, but she thought she had avoided them.
“A year and a half [later] … you just never know,” she says.
Lymphedema was the diagnosis. As part of her ongoing treatment, Baldasare, 66, now has to wear a protective sleeve, which compresses her arm to reduce swelling and promote lymph drainage.
Fisher notes that lymphedema can develop at any point after treatment, even 20 years later.
Although Baldasare is managing her lymphedema through physical therapy and exercise, earlier examinations and treatment could have identified and prevented the swelling. Fisher says Baldasare’s experience is common — by the time a woman notices swelling in her hands or arms, the condition is often irreversible, making prospective surveillance crucial.
Although lymphedema might be among the more painful conditions a survivor can experience, patients who don’t develop the disorder could still find themselves struggling with arm pain. Fisher says some women move their arms and shoulders differently to avoid pain after surgery, a practice that ultimately worsens their condition and requires neuromuscular retraining through physical therapy. A typical course of treatment can be four to six weeks of motion and strength training; that can increase to two to three months for lymphedema sufferers.
Avoiding arm dysfunction altogether is Fisher’s ultimate goal for breast cancer survivors, but research shows that exercise and physical therapy can help mitigate existing limitations. She reviewed past studies from other researchers that debunked old myths, such as one suggesting that strength training was harmful for women after cancer treatment.
In fact, it has been shown to reduce swelling and pain.
Establishing the importance of physical activity provided another piece to the puzzle. Fisher’s next move would be testing other exercise practices to learn what could help women avoid or manage issues resulting from arm restrictions.
In 2013, Fisher received a University grant to study the possible beneficial effects of yoga for breast cancer-related lymphedema. Results of a seven-person pilot study indicated that yoga was a safe exercise.
Fisher continued the study in fall 2014, gaining funding from UD for studies examining yoga practice among women with lymphedema.
One study primarily examined yoga and arm volume, while the other looked at yoga’s effects on arm volume, along with balance and range of motion, in affected women.
Participants entered an eight-week yoga program. Devon Schmidt, an instructor at Day Yoga Studio on Brown Street near UD’s campus, led two classes each week, and participants completed a third at home with a video. Some participants wore compression sleeves during the classes, and Schmidt modified poses as needed based on physical capabilities. Some did arm and shoulder stretches while holding on to a chair. Schmidt modified popular positions like the triangle, a standing pose that opens the chest and shoulders while stretching legs and hips, by placing blocks on the floor for participants who couldn’t stretch their arms that far.
UD students pursuing their doctorates in physical therapy helped find participants and record data before, during and after the yoga class.
“It was amazing to hear their individual stories,” says Meghann Ford, a 2015 physical therapy graduate who worked with Fisher. “There were 10- to 15-year survivors, and women who were just going through another round of radiation. They were strangers when they first started, but by the time they finished, they were hugging, sharing stories and planning ways to meet after the class was over.”
For the first study, Ford and other students measured six participants’ arm volume, self-reported arm function, self-reported quality of life and hand grip strength. With the second study, which also included six participants, measurements for shoulder range of motion and balance were added, while hand grip strength was not measured.
Data was taken at the beginning and end of the yoga class, and for the second study, again at one month after the final class.
Results showed a significant decrease in arm volume after eight weeks, but no changes in the other measurements taken in the first study. With the second study, data showed a decrease in arm volume, an increase in arm flexion (raising arms straight up), an increase in quality of life and improved balance. Self-reported arm function showed improvement that wasn’t considered statistically significant, but quite significant from a clinical, or practical, perspective.
Daley, the octogenarian survivor, was a believer. “When I went to clean my flower beds that night in my garden after going to yoga class, I didn’t hurt as badly,” she says.
Schmidt wasn’t involved in data collection, but watching and listening to feedback from study participants also confirmed to her that yoga, notably the poses that involved stretching the arms and shoulders, had proven beneficial.
“I was actually surprised that they progressed so quickly,” Schmidt says. “I saw them improve as they progressed through the course, and some of them didn’t need modifications at all by the end of the eight weeks.”
Schmidt says some participants have continued to take classes at her studio, enrolling in courses open to the public and doing modifications as needed.
Fisher’s study also showed the importance of maintaining an exercise regimen. Gains made during the class were not maintained by the time the one-month follow-up date arrived, data showed.
Daley says she noticed three months later how much worse she felt because she hadn’t continued her classes. During the summer, she decided to change that and enrolled in a weekly yoga class for cancer patients and survivors at Kettering Medical Center.
“It’s very basic, but it’s certainly been helpful,” she says.
LIFE IN FULL
Fisher’s long-term goals are simple: make the recovery from breast cancer treatment as effective as possible so survivors can return to the life they had before diagnosis. This, she says, requires a multipronged approach to find the most effective treatments, educate health care providers about prospective surveillance and make care accessible to all.
The UD studies address the first goal of figuring out what works best for breast cancer survivors’ arm functions. Fisher has seven publications and presentations scheduled for 2015, and four of her doctoral students — Ford, Minna Cho, Olivia Morris and Karissa Feucht — presented a poster at the National Lymphedema Network’s 11th International Conference in Washington, D.C., in September 2014. They also presented at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association in Indianapolis in February 2015.
The topic, “Effects of Yoga on Arm Volume, Quality of Life, Self-reported Arm Function, Shoulder Motion, and Balance in Women with Breast Cancer-related Lymphedema,” received a Graduate Student Showcase Award in Physical Therapy at UD. All DPT students are required to participate in research projects.
“I had never really been into research before this, but the experience really opened my eyes to being a part of research studies in the future,” says Ford, who’s now working at a skilled nursing facility in Springboro, Ohio. “This opportunity has opened a lot of doors for the four of us.”
Fisher is already beginning work on a study quantifying arm activity of women who had breast cancer on their non-dominant side. Her dissertation findings suggested that women with cancer on the side of their lesser-used arm experienced more long-term issues. She’ll now see if women with cancer in their non-dominant arm use that arm less than women who haven’t had cancer, effectively slowing recovery.
First, she is collecting data. Women who have had cancer and healthy women serving as controls are given activity monitors to wear on both arms for one week, and data from the two groups will be compared. Fisher has recruited 22 of 30 participants, and her study will continue through the end of the year.
Although studies are progressing, another paradigm shift might be required to fulfill Fisher’s other goals. Health care providers will need to encourage women to be acutely aware of potential physical changes after cancer treatment and immediately refer those women to physical therapy. University programs should educate students in health care fields about physical side effects so they can incorporate that knowledge in their future practices. Greater publicity — like this article — also increases awareness of lymphedema and other issues among those going through treatment and survivors.
Then there’s the issue of accessibility. Certain types of physical therapy could be out of reach for many lower-income women. Distance and lack of transportation could prohibit some from participating in physical therapy or exercise programs. Compression sleeves, a crucial element in lymphedema treatment, are costly and not often covered by insurance. Financial barriers prohibit survivors from managing their limitations effectively and prevent them from participating in everyday activities — whether they be jobs or hobbies.
Surviving breast cancer is a victory worth celebrating. After defeating it, survivors should be able to thrive as well.
Shannon Miller’s mother, Jennifer, is a breast cancer survivor. She has been cancer-free for 10 years.
The clamor of pep bands still echoed around the emptying arena where 7,686 fans had cheered on a game that showcased the best of women’s basketball, including lightning passes and sprints across the centerline that had even the mascots in a sweat.
But outside, it was quiet on the Flyers’ idling bus. Six-foot-4-inch center Jodie Cornelie-Sigmundova shuffled down the aisle carrying a 3-foot poster board of her head. Screaming fans had waved it an hour ago. Now, in the dim light of the bus, it was an anachronism.
Players sat alone, faces in cell phones, waiting for the long trip home after the team’s largest loss of the season.
Whether it was from exhaustion or dejection, coach Jim Jabir wasn’t having it.
Listen up, he said. You need to hear three things:
“Coach [Geno] Auriemma just told the whole world and me that we’re the best team he’s played in the last five years.
“UConn assistant coach Chris Dailey came running back to me and said, ‘I don’t know what you do, but every one of your kids looked us in the eye when we shook hands. That’s special.’
“And a member of the ESPN crew went out of his way to tell me that, in his 35 years, he’s never enjoyed being around a group as much as my team.”
Two weeks later, Jabir sat in his Cronin Center office reflecting on his team’s historic run to the Elite Eight, including its first-half lead against top-ranked and eventual national champion Connecticut, something no other team accomplished this season. He was so proud.
“I think we ask a lot of them,” Jabir said of his players, “and when they get it right, they need to hear it.”
The women’s basketball team got a lot right this season. The regular season saw the Flyers go 28-7 overall and win the Atlantic 10 regular-season title with a record of 14-2. The team’s four-year seniors topped 100 career wins during their fourth — and the program’s sixth — consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
And then there was the NCAA Tournament run and the game that impressed UConn’s coaches and the rest of the basketball world.
The season was defined by teamwork and hard work, locker-room dances and goofy jokes, skill and perseverance. Most of all, the team believed it could win, so it did, over and over, along the way becoming one of the eight best women’s programs in the nation.
When the cheerleaders jumped in unison, it made your stomach do a little flip. Several hundred fans packed into the Time Warner Cable Flight Deck with the pep band and cheerleaders for the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Selection Show March 16. At every syllable of D-A-Y-T-O-N, the cheerleaders bounced, and the floor suspended above the UD Arena swayed just a bit.
That feeling of having your feet not firmly planted under you — whether from excitement or uncertainty — was familiar to Flyer fans this season. At the selection show it was butterflies of anticipation, just as it was at the very start of the season. Returning were seniors Ally Malott, Andrea Hoover and Tiffany Johnson among a talented cast that included Jenna Burdette, a freshman point guard who would help direct the team’s winning offense.
But the season started with trips west that had the Flyers losing three of their first four games. Inexperienced players fouled and sent opponents to the line. Slow rotations left the opposing players with wide-open shots. UD’s bigs got beat on the inside.
Making mistakes — and learning from them — was what the Flyers were there to do, Jabir said after a 90-83 loss to Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
And learn they did. After a 77-33 win at home Jan. 21 over the Rhode Island Rams, Hoover told the Dayton Daily News that depth and consistency had become hallmarks of this year’s team.
“You can’t focus on just one player,” she said of her opponents’ strategy playing the Flyers. “If you do, the other four on the floor can hurt you. We got away from that a little at the beginning this year, but we’re getting back to it now, and it’s making us a better team.”
Losing, it turned out, made them more motivated.
Three times this season, the Flyers met George Washington on the court. Dayton played — and lost — both home and away, and then faced the Colonials again in the Atlantic 10 tournament final.
The Flyers adjusted their game to contain 6-4 forward Jonquel Jones — but instead of succeeding, they broke everything they had built. They didn’t get beat by just Jones, Hoover said; the Flyers got beat by the entire Colonials team. Final score: 75-62.
“A lot of people doubted us because, how can you guys lose to the same team three times?” Hoover said, noting she heard rumblings that the Flyers didn’t belong in the NCAA Tournament. “It made us kind of angry.”
Anger can be a strong motivator. So can feeling slighted, like when the team received a lower-than-expected No. 7 seed on Selection Monday.
First up for the Flyers in the round of 64 was 10th-seed Iowa State, a game played in Lexington, Kentucky. Another slight came from President Barack Obama, who filled out his NCAA bracket and picked the Flyers to lose to these sharpshooters. The Flyers beat Iowa State, 78-66.
“We busted his bracket,” Hoover said.
Next up for the Flyers in the round of 32 was No. 2-seed Kentucky on March 22. Media coverage before the game all but ordained an eventual Elite Eight meeting between Kentucky and UConn.
But being discounted didn’t dampen the Flyers’ conviction. In fact, players said it was this second-round game — played on Kentucky’s home court in front of 3,300 fans in blue surrounding a small section of red — that solidified the Flyers’ belief in themselves.
The game was a scorcher, with nine lead changes and nine ties. Going into a timeout, the Flyers were down 10 but never felt out of the hunt.
“I was never scared, even though it was so close,” said Malott, who ended the game with a team-high 28 points and 13 rebounds. “In games in the past, I could feel it slipping away — you try to do something about it, but you can’t.”
This time, she said, everyone stepped up.
Eight Flyers played, necessitated by five fouls that sat Hoover on the bench for nearly half the game. Cornelie-
Sigmundova and Burdette also fouled out.
Jabir said that every time someone was needed, she stepped up. Sophomore Saicha Grant-Allen came in for Cornelie-Sigmundova and scored six. Junior Amber Deane added 23 points in 28 minutes played, including a 3 with 24 seconds left that put the Flyers up by four. Senior Tiffany Johnson sunk all four of her shots from the free-throw line late in the game. Junior Kelley Austria scored 17, including a 3 that gave the Flyers the lead for good.
In the second half, Dayton made 64 percent of its shots and five of its eight 3-point attempts. For the game, the Flyers were 28 of 31 from the free-throw line.
Final score: Flyers 99, Wildcats 94, and UD’s first ticket to the Sweet 16.
In the locker room, freshman JaVonna Layfield danced. Cornelie-Sigmundova jumped from floor to bench, head thrown back in a victorious cry. Sophomores Christy Macioce and Andrijana Cvitkovic hugged teammates. When Jabir entered the locker room, Malott and then the rest of the team swarmed him and rubbed his close-cropped hair. Jabir broke out in a laugh.
It’s funny, Jabir said. You go to the tournament five years straight and don’t make it out of the first weekend, and you wonder what you’re doing wrong. And then you have a season where everything goes right.
“For 30 years and for all this season we’ve spent trying to get here,” Jabir said to his players in that locker room. “And then we try to get you to believe — we want you to believe. …
“And we believe.”
That belief is what carried the program to its first Sweet 16, in Albany, New York, March 28. The opponent, No. 3-seed Louisville, had experience — five other Sweet 16 appearances since 2008. This would be Dayton’s first — big game, national stage, and focused media attention on the players, the coach and the Sweet 16 tattoo he promised he’d get to commemorate the big day.
The game’s first half was plagued by lead changes and turnovers, including two Flyer passes to the red Louisville Cardinal mascot instead of a red-jerseyed teammate. Dayton led by only a point at halftime, but the second half couldn’t have been choreographed any better. A 3-pointer from Deane capped an 11-2 run. The Flyers made 21 of 25 free throws. At one point, Hoover dribbled and drove to the basket, pirouetted past a defender, and stopped a nd popped in a 2.
This is why they call it dancing.
The final score over Louisville was 82-66, with the Flyers winning a spot in the NCAA Elite Eight, another first for Dayton’s program.
During a press conference Sunday before the Elite Eight game, Jabir had an answer to the question everyone was asking: Does your team have a chance against No. 1 UConn?
Well, he said, it would be really dumb if we didn’t believe we did.
“I think lots of people thought we were going to Kentucky and lose, and I think a lot of people thought we were going to come here yesterday and lose” to Louisville, he said. “And our kids didn’t. I don’t know what it is — maturity? — but when we’ve been in the huddle in the last two or three games, there’s a different look on their faces, a different look in their eyes, and they really, really believe that we’re going to get this done.
“So who am I to tell them that they’re not?”
Malott believed, but she credits the coaching staff for believing first. It’s easy to tell
when a coach is just saying something to get you to work hard, she said. That wasn’t what was happening here.
The night before the UConn game, Malott stood with her teammates waiting for a table at Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse. Life-sized caricatures of Frank Sinatra, Al Pacino and Madonna beckoned from the walls behind them, but the players focused on the television in front of them. No. 1-seed Duke was beating No. 2-seed Gonzaga in the last men’s Elite Eight game of the season. Earlier that day, No. 7-seed Michigan State won a Final Four slot; it would be the only low seed to compete.
“If they win,” Malott said of Duke, “it will be like the women’s Final Four: one-seed, one-seed, one-seed, seven-seed.”
If No. 7-seed Dayton beat UConn.
It was a big “if,” by all accounts. The Huskies were 35-1 going into the Elite Eight, beating their opponents by an average of more than 44 points. Nine-time NCAA national champions since 1995, the Huskies were coming in on a roll, having won championships in both
2013 and 2014.
Being the No. 1-ranked team in the nation for so many seasons lends a certain mystique, one that usually intimidates opponents and puts the Huskies up by an easy 20 early.
No one on Dayton’s team was going to let that happen. As they took the court, Dayton controlled the pace, with freshman Burdette sinking the first field goal of the game. The first half was fast-paced, with an average of 15 seconds ticking off the clock between shots. The lead changed 15 times and was tied 10 times, one score balanced by another at the other end. Austria had 11 points in the first, including a zig-zag-zig around UConn defenders for a 2.
And then the halftime buzzer rang, and the audience exhaled for the first time in 20 minutes of play. Dayton was up by a point, 44-43. It was the first time UConn had trailed at the half this season — and the first time an opponent had scored so many points against UConn in a first half since March 1, 2008.
“I wanted to run right past the locker room and get on the bus, go home,” said Jabir, his characteristic crooked smile revealing the truth in his wisecrack. “I did. I don’t know if we could have played better, and I knew [UConn was] going to make adjustments. But in those 20 minutes, it was ideal.
“We were fearless; we were not intimidated — the whole NCAA Tournament, we were never intimidated; we were never fearful. We didn’t have to get them mentally prepared for the inevitable. [Our players] thought they were going to win every game they played — that was so cool. Then to catch and shoot and drive, and it was so — including Connecticut — it was so pretty just running up and down, such freedom and flow. It was a beautiful thing to watch.”
In the locker room at halftime, the Flyers went about their normal routine: while the coaching staff discussed strategy in another room, the players analyzed their own performance. They gathered around a whiteboard with Malott as scribe and ticked off what they needed to improve:
• One-on-one defense
• Keep attacking
• Get on (Kaleena) Mosqueda-Lewis — stop her
“He puts a lot of the decision-making on us,” Malott said. The point guard is expected to survey the court and call the plays; the players analyze their performance and anticipate their opponents’ next moves.
Coaches and players finished the halftime with this certainty: UConn would adjust to regain control. That’s how the Huskies came to be No. 1 — skill, intensity, adaptability and killer 3-pointers from senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. The Flyers’ goal: maintain pace and keep UConn from going on a run.
It worked for the first 10 minutes, but then a one-point gain fell to an eight-point deficit that grew through the half. Mosqueda-Lewis kept her footing from beyond the arc, setting an NCAA career 3-point record with 395 baskets made.
The Flyers never regained the lead.
And they never gave up. Buried in the final score of 91-70 is a first half for the record books — and memory books.
“This is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Malott said, “and it’s the way to go out.”
Malott’s memory may be long, but basketball’s is not, despite the Flyers receiving much media attention during the weeks around its NCAA Tournament run.
“The cynic in me understands that this is temporary,” Jabir said. “If we have a losing record next year, no one will remember who I was. So you try to do the best you can now to gain as much from it and enjoy it, understanding that you never stay the same; you either get better or you get worse. My whole point of being right now is to get better.”
That includes answering calls from recruits who this winter never bothered calling him back. It means vetting 12 potential transfers, all interested in playing for that team they saw on TV. His coaching staff watched hours of video, talked to coaches who played against the prospects, met the women to get a feel for their personal and professional goals. Would they be a good fit with the Flyer basketball family? Would they be part of the UD community? Or were the players simply shopping for a shinier jersey with a more successful school?
“I rely on my gut a lot,” he said. “Is the kid being sincere? Sometimes your judgment is right, and sometimes it’s wrong. You try your best.”
One of those Jabir added to the roster was junior Madeline Blais of Marist College, who will bring both
shooting and league tournament experience to the team. As a transfer, she’ll sit out until the 2016-17 season.
While it’s all about making the program better, he’s also a pragmatist and understands the limits of what he can do. You can teach good players to play the game well, he said. But that small pool of really great players? They’re still all headed to UConn. And Stanford. And Notre Dame. And Tennessee.
“It’s difficult to do what we did this year — it’s very difficult,” Jabir said. “… I don’t know if, in the real world, Dayton should aspire
to be more than a first- or second-round team — I don’t know.”
The success of recent years was enough to make Tim Wabler ’74 smile as he sat in Albany after the Sweet 16 game. The vice president and director of athletics said the University made a conscious decision to commit resources to both women’s and men’s basketball programs, and it’s paying off for the school, the players and the fans. Case in point: the growing attendance at the women’s games and the good show fans see at UD Arena.
He’s also excited to see both the women’s and men’s teams playing so far into March each year.
“On a national level, it reinforces that the Dayton community and the University of Dayton are about basketball,” he said. Pointing to the depth of the current women’s roster, Wabler added, “Basketball in Dayton is going to be real exciting in the next three years.”
Dayton isn’t the only women’s program that benefits from the UConn-UD match, characterized by sports reporters as an athletic game between upstanding players in front of supportive fans who travel well.
Former WNBA commissioner Val Ackerman released a white paper in 2013 about how to grow women’s basketball throughout the country. Her findings included speeding up women’s games, cultivating fan support, and focusing on vision and
Check, check and check.
“This is what it is supposed to look like,” Jabir said of the Flyers’ Elite Eight first half. “It was so fun to be a part of it on a national level.”
And the national exposure continues.
This spring, Malott and Hoover became the first Flyer women to be drafted into the WNBA. Malott’s first-round pick by the Washington Mystics was the third-highest draft pick of any Dayton student-athlete. She was picked eighth. (Jim Paxson ’56 went third in the 1956 NBA draft, and John Horan ’55 went sixth in the 1955 NBA draft.) Hoover was chosen 31st by the Los Angeles Sparks.
The two teammates were scheduled to become opponents when the Mystics and the Sparks met in Washington, D.C., June 23.
Both Malott and Hoover said it will be strange to be on opposite coasts. For four years, these roommates have been just a bed or a bus seat or table away. At team dinners, Hoover would be talking — saying something completely serious or making a joke — and in the next moment, Malott would fall off her chair, laughing. Any topic is fair game for a ribbing, from Malott’s compulsion with putting ketchup on all meat to Hoover’s obsession with peanut butter.
Watch them talk together, and you’d think they were family. You’d be right. (See story, Page 38.) Jabir said his program’s dynamics are a lot like his family’s. It works, he said, because of the Marianists and the University and their focus on mission and values. Community isn’t just a catchphrase — it permeates his team, too.
An Elite Eight year like we had, he said, does not happen without this campus.
“I think that’s why I’m comfortable here, because the values of this school reflect my values and the program’s values,” said Jabir, who is starting his 13th
season at Dayton. “There’s this synergy that works really, really well, and that’s why we’re
“It’s not just our Elite Eight. It’s everybody’s Elite Eight — because we’re all a product of it.”
Michelle Tedford played basketball in middle school. In high school, basketball conflicted with newspaper paste-up. That was the end of one story and the beginning of many more.
‘My fondest wish for each and every one of us is that we will find something in our lives worth fighting for because, when we do, we will have found a way to unite the will of the spirit with the work of the flesh, and the world would discover fire for the second time. Then may the light and the heat from that fire confirm our purpose with every thought, every word, every action to help heal a broken world wherever we may find it.’ —Martin Sheen, actor and honorary degree recipient
In the tunnels under UD Arena, one new alumnus was so proud of his degree he couldn’t stop smiling. He greeted every robed and tasseled figure with a hearty hello, a handshake and a congratulations.
While those he greeted likely took four or five years on their UD journey, his took more than 50.
Actor and Daytonian Martin Sheen, 74, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Dayton under his given name, Ramon Estévez, during undergraduate commencement May 3. Like the other 1,441 graduates being honored, he shook hands with President Daniel J. Curran, received his diploma and smiled for the cameras. And then he spoke from the heart in a confluence of emotion and memory:
“It’s a pleasure to return from whence I came for such a special occasion. …
“It is the absolute necessity for justice, healing and mercy that really unites us. …
“We are not asked to do great things; we’re asked to do all things with greater care. …”
The day before, Sheen attended a family reunion in Dayton. Estévez siblings, children and grandchildren gathered around to watch a video created by Sheen’s brother John. It featured photos of their parents, Francisco and Mary-Ann Estévez, immigrants from Spain and Ireland respectively, who raised 10 children in a home along Brown Street. That evening, Sheen attended Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Second Street, where his parents were married in 1927.
“I wasn’t prepared for the deep, emotional crack it made in me,” Sheen said after receiving his degree. “This was about my dad. I had to come here. I had to celebrate him. I had to recognize him.”
And so, the night before the commencement, Sheen rewrote his brief remarks into a speech both funny and heartwarming, one that stoked the fires of social justice — to which he has dedicated himself these last 34 years and for which he was being honored the next day — and gave tribute to his father.
“He was my first hero; he was the best man I ever knew, and I’m honored to remember him this day with thanksgiving and praise,” Sheen said from the stage.
The graduation ceremony was a fulfillment of Francisco’s dream for Sheen — to be a University of Dayton graduate. The dream started at the moment of Sheen’s birth, Aug. 3, 1940. Doctors used forceps to deliver the baby boy, crushing his left shoulder and leaving Sheen with limited use of his left arm. His father was also crushed.
“He thought I was a cripple,” Sheen said, recounting the story to a group of students after the ceremony. And so Francisco, an NCR factory worker who Sheen says likely made no more than $147 a week during his life, saved enough money for his son to attend UD.
It was not a dream Sheen shared, and he punctuated his desire to be an actor by intentionally failing his UD entrance exam. The men eventually healed their rift, and Francisco gave his son his blessing to move to New York. Known for the roles of President Josiah Bartlet in television’s The West Wing, a serial killer in the film Badlands and a troubled soldier during the Vietnam War in Apocalypse Now, Sheen said his most nourishing role has been that of social activist. He has spoken out against war, abortion, genocide and capital punishment, and he has been arrested for his protest of the School of the Americas. He supports environ- mental sustainability, workers’ rights, human rights and an end to gun violence.
“Acting is what I do for a living,” he said, “and activism is what I do to stay alive.”
His activism exemplifies the Catholic, Marianist mission present at both UD and Dayton’s Chaminade High School, where he at- tended as a boy. Sheen has said the teachings of the priests and brothers of the Society of Mary helped shape his commitment to social justice, human rights, service and peace. “Remember this, above all: One heart with courage is a majority,” he said at graduation.
“Over the entire history of the human race no one has ever made any real contribution without personal suffering, self-sacrifice and sometimes even death.”
At a post-graduation lunch reception, Sheen greeted family and friends, including sons Ramon and Emilio. He also gathered with other special guests, including UD’s Chami- nade Scholars, who were leaving in two days for a pilgrimage to Rome. He shared with the students his role as a pilgrim in The Way, a 2011 movie by Emilio about El Camino de Santiago, “the way of St. James” in the northwest of Spain.
Sheen ended by inviting them to sing with him his favorite hymn, “How Can I Keep From Singing?”
“If you start your day with that, you’re in good shape,” he told them.
It was his interactions with students — both gracious and deeply personal — that revealed the depth of his passion for social justice and the energy he absorbs from the activism of others.
When he sat later in the day with faculty and students from the Human Rights Center in Raymond L. Fitz Hall, Sheen balanced his chin on his right hand, leaning forward to engage the students in conversation.
Sophomore Leena Sabagh talked about her work with Students for Justice in Palestine; Sheen offered her contact with director Ellie Bernstein of Ghost Town, The Hebron Story, for which Sheen served as narrator. Sophomore Rosalia Stadler talked about her research in uncovering human trafficking in the consumer supply chain; Sheen shared stories of work- ing with Father Shay Cullen, who has fought trafficking in the Philippines for more than 30 years.
As Sheen learned about the Human Rights Center’s use of evidence-based strategies to help NGOs, he shook his head in amazement that students would volunteer to travel to developing countries and learn from the people about their challenges and dreams.
“I’m very encouraged, and the fact that it’s here, it’s amazing,” Sheen said.
After another round of autographs and selfies, Sheen walked out to his waiting car — two hours later than scheduled — and thanked his UD entourage again for the wonderful day that connected his roots to his personal passions.
In the parking lot, he met new graduate Lori Claricoates. She set down an armload of drawings she had just cleared from her locker in the Department of Art and Design to offer him a handshake and thank-you for his inspiring speech. He countered with a hug and a hearty congratulations, asking questions about her new job, her family and her hometown.
Standing there in the sun, they were simply two forever-Flyers in the process of realizing their dreams.
The days begin early at Annunciation House. The four women here rouse themselves from sleep and pad their way to the chapel for the 6:25 morning prayer and then Mass. Twice a day they gather for prayer, and several times a week they share meals together. In between, it’s household chores and jobs out in the community, jamming hymns on guitars and, yes, sitting around talking and eating ice cream.
For people exploring a religious vocation, Annunciation House in Kettering, Ohio, a few miles from UD’s campus, offers a temporary home to see for themselves what it might mean to live a consecrated life — a life of religious community devoted to Jesus Christ, each person publicly professing the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and stability.
In today’s Western world, they are not easy vows, but ones Pope Francis has called attention to during this Year of Consecrated Life. He asks us all to be aware of the gift of the lives and work of consecrated people in our communities. He also challenges these religious “to wake up the world,” “step out more courageously” and discover “perfect joy.”
Again, not easy. But at a time when the number of vowed religious is falling, it is this call to a joyful life in community young people may well find attractive — young people who will ultimately be the future of the Church.
It is not enough to simply create attractive recruitment programs, says Pope Francis: “The consecrated life will not flourish as a result of brilliant vocation programs but because the young people we meet find us attractive, because they see us as men and women who are happy!”
Gabby Bibeau ’11 sure does. The 26-year-old has lived at Annunciation House since December 2014. “The individual brothers and sisters here [at UD] are very Christ-like. Meeting them and knowing them has made me want to be like them,” she says. “Living here is a good path to holiness.”
Religious community and continuous discernment shepherd everyone who’s on the path. Their journey is called formation, several years of living the spirit of the vows with the freedom to step out at any point and choose another direction.
It all begins with inquiry, which includes gathering information, going on retreats and working in ministries. Bibeau did that before reaching aspirancy, when she became a pre-novice, or postulant, by committing to a year at Annunciation House and doing full-time ministry in religious education as a pastoral associate at a nearby parish.
Next comes life as a novice, which 30-year-old Craig Irwin, n.O.S.F.S. ’07, will have been for a year, learning about the foundation of the order with other Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales novices in Brooklyn, Michigan. Community living and strictly scheduled prayer are preparing him for the step of temporary profession. That’s when, depending on the order, those in formation further their university education or return to full-time ministry work. Thirty-one-year-old Brandon Paluch, S.M. ’06, is doing the latter until he’s ready to take final vows, when he would devote himself to a consecrated life — for the rest of his life.
These University of Dayton alumni are on their journey during the Year of Consecrated Life, which began the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 30, 2014, and ends on the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Feb. 2, 2016. It marks the 50th anniversary of Perfectae Caritatis, a decree on religious life, and Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.
During this time, the pope is urging everyone to “look to the past with gratitude,” “live the present with passion” and “embrace the future with hope.”
Those considering a consecrated life examine where they’ve been, where they are and where they might be going. In Dayton, they can turn to Sister Nicole Trahan, F.M.I., for guidance. As the Dayton-based vocation coordinator for the Marianist sisters and brothers, she helps mostly young men and women determine whether religious life is right for them. If the person thinks so, she “walks” with him or her through the process to enter the first stage of inquiry. “We talk and email a lot,” says Trahan, 40. She often invites people to Annunciation House for prayer and supper.
During suppers and discernment retreats, questions come up. “Is God calling me to this life?” asks an undergrad who has yet to declare her major. The young man who grew up an only child wants to know, “What does it mean to be a Marianist sister or brother?” “Will my family understand this?” asks another student who lives with his parents. “How does one live the vows?” questions anyone who wonders, “Can I do this?”
Trahan says the path to perpetual vows is full of questions.
“Everyone answers in a different way. There’s also, ‘What if,’ ‘Am I sure,’ ‘Am I lying to myself?’ There are always going to be some doubts. We do our best to trust that God won’t let us down.”
Fewer Catholics worldwide are answering the call to a consecrated life. Internationally, since 1970 the number of religious priests, sisters and brothers has dropped 27 percent. In the U.S., the number is down 66 percent to 66,211 in 2014, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, or CARA. In the U.S., there are approximately 300 vowed religious in the Society of Mary and Daughters of Mary Immaculate, identified by S.M. for priests and brothers and F.M.I. for sisters.
Many things can attract a person to a religious life. For some young people, service opportunities give a glimpse of a life devoted to Christ.
Paluch’s journey began during UD BreakOuts, when he served in Haiti, India and the Appalachia region of the U.S. “These experiences were so enriching and only added to what I was learning in the classroom,” he says. Take the one he had in Haiti, spring 2003, working with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity at a home for the dying. “While I was massaging a man on his deathbed to relieve some of his pain, I remembered what someone told us as we were preparing to leave for Haiti: ‘Jesus hangs out there a lot.’ For me, this man was the suffering Jesus.”
In Paluch’s encounters with the brothers and priests he met on his travels, “the golden, common thread was they were loving and selfless,” he says. “The consecrated life was somewhat strange, but I admired these people, and that slowly opened me to seeing it as an opportunity for myself.”
During his third and last inquiry retreat, in December 2008, while a graduate student at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Paluch seriously considered aspirancy. “A life totally dedicated to God and to serving others, holy and filled with God’s love, was very attractive to me,” he says. “But I was going back and forth with, ‘Is this my call?’
“Then I had a conversation with a very wise Marianist priest, Father Paul Landolfi, who was in his 80s then, and he told me, ‘I would encourage you to make a decision, because I think it will free you.’ If I didn’t try the life, I thought the idea of it would have followed me. So in 2009, I decided to join the Marianists.”
What attracted Paluch then, and still does, he says, is, “Mary’s warmth of welcome to God and others. She gathers under her mantle people from all walks of life: rich and poor, from different cultures and with different ideas. She brings us together so we might be closer to each other and to her son. This is the deep meaning and root of UD community.”
Paluch is now in his third year of temporary profession. Coordinator of community outreach at UD’s Center for Social Concern, he connects students to social justice volunteer opportunities such as serving soup-kitchen meals and assisting people with disabilities. The students give of themselves “from a faith-based perspective,” he says, “answering the question of why they’re engaged in the work at all — because that’s what Jesus asks of us. Then, through self-reflection and conversations with me, they explore how their experiences connect with
the ones they have at church and with the Scriptures.”
Paluch also counsels people during what he calls very tender parts of their journeys in life, whether it’s facing an uncertain future or the illness or death of a loved one. “Together in this community of faith, I hope to point out that God is alive and right here for them,” he says.
It’s community that provides the support for considering and committing oneself to living a consecrated life, says Tracey Horan ’10, a postulant with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. “I’m choosing to make our mission and community central to each decision that I make.”
The 27-year-old learned a lot about religious community life while at UD. The summer between her junior and senior years, in 2009, she and four other students flew to Nairobi, Kenya, and lived with a men’s Marianist community for five weeks. Every day, they went to one of the largest slums in the country, Mukuru, and tutored youngsters eager to pass an eighth-grade test that would win them scholarships, allowing an escape from the slum.
“Having that consistent, common ministry and then talking about it during mealtimes, I saw the value of living together, rooted in Gospel values, and I drew strength from that,” she says.
After earning her bachelor’s at UD in middle childhood education and Spanish, Horan lived with the Sisters of Charity in El Paso, Texas, for two years. “You can visit communities and learn from books, but to sit down at the table with women called by the Gospel, dedicated to a common religious life, and see the passion, joy and struggles they experience together, and their perseverance, was very influential for me,” she says.
Irwin’s initial inspiration came from the namesake of his order, St. Francis de Sales, a bishop and famous author in the early 1600s.
“He taught that everyone can be holy, that no matter who you are or what you do, you can live a holy life for God,” Irwin says. “I was attracted to this charism also because it doesn’t require a heavy intellectual understanding of Christian life. The Oblates are very down-to-earth, and they work with the ‘common man’ to be holy. I don’t come from a wealthy background, so I like the idea of helping the everyday person.”
In his ministry at Crossroads of Michigan, a Detroit social service agency that offers emergency assistance, food, clothing and counseling, he says, “I give myself fully and completely to the needs of humanity and the Church. This gives me a sense of accountability. I’m vowing to God, consecrating myself to God, answering to God.”
While ministries take Irwin and others who are on this path out into the world, the world doesn’t always understand the life they’ve chosen.
“A lot of Catholics, especially older ones, remember the nuns in school as angry old women,” Irwin says. “Nowadays, I haven’t met a single ‘angry old woman.’ I’m trying to change that assumption, helping people see the truth, through conversations with them, and also through our actions, by the way we live and love people.”
The consecrated life also isn’t supported by mainstream culture, says Trahan: “It’s difficult to live the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in our society today, one that’s so materialistic, focusing on individualism and the accumulation of things, and somewhat oversexualized.” What helps the most, she says, is prayer — and community.
But sharing space with others isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to obedience, says Bibeau.
“I cannot make some decisions without seeing how they could affect others in the community,” she says. “This requires me to compromise. Before I was in formation, I could take a weekend to visit my family or go on vacation with a friend. Now if I want to do those things, I need to ask other people and see if it works with everybody’s schedules, because maybe I’m needed for some ministry.”
Sometimes, Horan says, the test comes from within.
“During formation, you’re asked to look at yourself, your strengths, downfalls and struggles, and why you struggle. For me, it’s my stubbornness and my resistance to compromise even on small things like parts of the daily routine. It makes you feel very vulnerable,” she says. “It’s tough to dig through parts of my past that have made me who I am and recognize how this impacts my own discernment and ability to be present in community life. It’s very humbling. I’m learning to ask for support from others, but it’s not easy.”
For Irwin, living in community requires learning to love each other, in spite of the differences. Paluch agrees. He says, “Jesus taught us to love everybody, even our enemies. It’s a tall order to love like Jesus loves, to be merciful and accepting and compassionate. It’s something we can only do with God’s grace.”
With an eye toward a consecrated life, Horan says she feels part of something bigger than herself.
“That’s motivating, and it propels me to know that we have this common mission and call to follow the Gospel and be present to others in a way that shows radical love,” she says. “I feel like this life is where I fit the best, where I can most be my authentic self, and as a result, the gifts I have are magnified. Whatever I do give becomes more because I’m part of this life. I think I have a strong, prophetic voice in that I’m not easily satisfied when people’s needs are not being met or when there are injustices and people’s voices are not being heard. I have a gift for calling that out, and asking ourselves to be more of a society as people of God and to live up to the Gospel. And that means everyone is included and valued.”
Horan aspires to be more present in the moment: “I want to be more open to learning, open to others’ perspectives,” she says. “And I hope to have the courage to respond when a ministry comes up, or some other opportunity, where my gifts would really fit.” She sees herself in an advocacy role or as a community or labor organizer.
Irwin says parishes and dioceses should take on new roles, especially as more support is becoming available to those who need it most.
“For example, the poor now have greater access to health care,” he says. “So what can we make happen there that hasn’t been thought of yet? I don’t know the answer to that, but the pope is a good example of someone who’s open to new ways of thinking and doing things.”
Who doesn’t want to make the world a better place? For Bibeau, that world includes herself.
“I want to remain open to growth and learning and become more comfortable about what it means to be a religious sister and more trusting of God and how God is working in my life,” she says. The earliest she could take temporary vows is in about two years. After that, “I don’t know. It depends on what your gifts are, and that’s something you discern with the community.”
Here’s something Bibeau does know: She’s honoring religious community, as Pope Francis asks the world’s Catholics to do, by observing the Year of Consecrated Life. It’s the people who choose that life who pulled her to the path to begin with. In their holiness, she saw the happiness the pope says young people like herself will attain, helping the consecrated life thrive.
Each day brings Bibeau closer to living it and being like the people who already do. Meanwhile, together in community, cooking meals and doing chores, talking and eating ice cream — “and especially praying,” she says — “I feel like I’m a better version of myself.”
Claire Sykes is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon.