Read our interactive issue to see videos, links and more.
Construction worker Mark Wallen once spotted a 1960s RC Cola can sitting on an I-beam in the ceiling of Good Samaritan Hospital during a renovation project.
But when he stumbled upon a yellowed, brittle envelope covered with sawdust during the renovation of Founders Hall, he immediately knew he had discovered something far more intriguing.
“I took my pocket knife and carefully opened the envelope. I thought it was cool because it was like finding a little time capsule,” said the plumber with Wat-Kem Mechanical.
The letter, scribbled in cursive, was dated Feb. 23, 1956: “I, John Beckman, have secretly slipped this note into the inner wall of this partition when it was being constructed,” wrote the first-year student from Ottawa, Ohio, who was studying pre-optometry. “Let this note be kept for ages in the silent walls of this chapel.”
And it was for more than half a century — until Danis Construction embarked on a $10 million renovation of the 400-bed residence hall in May.
The surprising find didn’t surprise John Beckman’s family. “He was an ornery guy. He sometimes did the unthinkable,” said Midge Lause, 74, of her older brother who was known for his dry sense of humor.
Beckman, of Toledo, died of Parkinson’s disease on Sept. 13, 2010, at the age of 74. He only attended the University of Dayton for a year before briefly entering the seminary.
He was not destined to be either an optometrist, like his grandfather, or a priest. He managed Doebel Flower and Greenhouses for 15 years before opening his own flower shop, Parc Fleurs, in Toledo. He and his partner, Erwin Heer, also owned and operated three Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries stores.
None of that popped up in the University’s records. Relatives, friends — and even strangers — filled in the blanks when the University posted a photo of the note on its Facebook page and asked for help locating John Beckman. Nearly 400 people shared the request; dozens more wrote in.
2009 grad Louis Guzzo’s aunt tracked Beckman down through genealogy software. Eileen Richmond, of Belmont, Mass., went a step further and reached out to nephew Stan Beckman, who operates the 126-year-old family-owned Beckman Jewelers in Ottawa, and Beckman’s sister, Midge. Richmond even posted a link to Beckman’s obit on UD’s Facebook page.
What would Beckman think of the discovery of his secret letter?
Niece Rebecca Krouse posted on Facebook, “I know he is smiling in heaven knowing this was found.”
His brother Pete thinks differently: “He’d laugh and say, ‘I never thought they’d find that.’”No Comments
When University of Dayton biology professor Robert Schuellein ’44 got an offer to work at the National Institutes of Health in 1963, he had to make a difficult choice between two things at which he excelled: teaching and research.
Research won; Schuellein left the University and the Marianist order, took the job at NIH and stayed there until his retirement in 1983.
But he never forgot UD and the legacy he started here: With his faculty colleague and fellow Marianist Paul Machowicz ’41, Schuellein helped create the first master’s program in the College of Arts and Sciences. When Schuellein died in 2011 at the age of 91, he added to that legacy — with a bequest totaling $2.5 million for a faculty research endowment in biology.
A questionnaire for his 50th class reunion in 1994 gave an indication of the pride he took in the work he did. Asked to name his most significant experience at UD, Schuellein answered, “Attending the defense of my graduate student for the M.S. degree in biology — the first M.S. degree conferred at UD.”
That student was Henry Maimon ’64.
“There aren’t enough adjectives in the English language to describe what a fine and wonderful gentleman Rob- ert Schuellein was,” said Maimon, who later earned a medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and ran the gastroenterology department at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Dayton for 26 years. “I feel I owe him a debt of gratitude in helping me get through that degree.”
Maimon had already earned a bachelor’s in English from Princeton University, but he chose to pursue medicine or research instead. Schuellein became both a mentor and a role model.
“He worked hard to make very difficult subject matter clear,” Maimon said. “He tried to cultivate the best in whatever abilities a student had. He could evoke your brain to think a little more and work a little harder.”
George Noland, who came to UD’s biology department in 1955 and became chair in 1963, said Schuellein took measures beyond what was typical to ensure that his students grasped the material.
“But he was a born researcher, and witha born researcher, you’d have to cut off his hands to keep him from it,” Noland said. “Teaching a full load and getting a research lab established at the same time is a horrendous burden. It’s almost impossible to do both, but a born researcher will do it.”
Schuellein knew that funding would make a major difference, Noland said.
“With the teaching load and everything he did for the Marianists, there were just not enough hours in the day for the research,” Noland said. “When Schuellein came in, there were no laboratory assistants. The faculty members had to do all the prep work themselves. A little money makes it possible to maybe teach one less course or hire a student assistant for a class or hire research assistants in the lab.”
Schuellein’s gift also included more than 2,000 projection slides.
“I remember when he started that collection,” Noland said. “You can’t believe what we worked with in those days. My budget for materials in 1963 was $50. If you had a slide projector in the department, it was a big deal. In those days, people didn’t just order slides. They were expensive. He was serious enough about his teaching that he assembled these materials because he knew it would help the students learn.”
Patricia S. Bryant, a retired program di- rector at NIH, worked with Schuellein during the 1970s and ’80s.
“He was a very warm and giving person, a very humble guy,” Bryant said. “His passion was training researchers for the future … building a pipeline of scientists who could make the important breakthroughs.”
It’s fitting, she said, that his legacy gift is now supporting scientists and research.
“If you’d say he was an advocate in his own quiet way for anything, it would be that.”
Additional sources for this story included Renate Myles, acting chief of NIH’s news media branch; Brother Bernard Zalewski, S.M. ’58; Eliot B. Spiess; Dr. Marie Nylen; and George McGowan ’63. Read more thoughts from Schuellein’s colleagues here.
A book by Joseph Szimhart ’69
Joseph Szimhart based his literary debut, a novel about a disenchanted college dropout who joins a religious commune in remote New Mexico, on a true story: his own. Since his involvement in a small cult in the 1970s, Szimhart has become a sought-after consultant and speaker in the field of exit therapy, appearing on The Maury Povich Show and advising Oprah producers while conducting more than 500 interventions with patients aged 17 to 75. “I wrote it primarily as entertainment, but there are many layers of philosophical, psychological and social themes that religious seekers and others will hopefully find enlightening,” he said.No Comments
A book by James Kaserman ’75
The idea for James Kaserman’s historical account of swashbuckling scoundrels in the Sunshine State was more than 50 years in the making. Kaserman, who co-wrote the book with his wife, Sarah, dedicated it to his high school history teacher, who in 1956 taught the then-freshman that some of the cruelest pirates who ever lived were those on the Ohio River. “He told us that there’s always more than one story, more than one truth, to our history. You need to look on all sides of the pages that tell our story,” Kaserman said.No Comments
A book illustrated by Alexandra Higgins ’08
Julie Morse’s children’s book about a spunky kindergartener who survives a childhood cancer diagnosis mirrors the experience of her son, Greg, in both prose and picture by Alexandra Higgins. Said Morse, “Alexandra had never illustrated a book be- fore, so I sent her the manuscript and she sent me some drafts. I was stunned: the character she created is the spitting image of Greg, even though she had never met him or seen a photo. It still gives me shivers — the good kind.” Higgins went on to illustrate the entire book, proceeds from which support the Sunshine Kids Foundation for pediatric cancer.No Comments
A book by Debra Dane Scholten ’04
Now spanning two decades, Debra Dane Scholten’s professional counseling career began in a restored warehouse that served as office space for an Oregon bank. “I was 24 and un- employed, so I took a part-time job with their customer service call center. I didn’t even know what a principal balance was, but I worked well with irate customers, diffusing their anger and calming them down,” she said. Scholten’s first book is aimed at encouraging young women to not just bounce back, but move forward, when life changes. “It suggests that each of us is an artist with an inner vision,” she said. “Imagine what the world would be like if we were all expressing our artistry.”
Winning and building a legacy — that’s what it was all about for Dan Pugh when he started his softball and basketball intramural team, the Walton Gang, more than 30 years ago.
Pugh, now better known as sportscaster Dan Patrick, built the Walton Gang with several guys from his floor in Founders Hall in 1978. It was named after Patrick’s favorite NBA player, Bill Walton.
“Bill played team first, he wasn’t worried about individual stats,” Patrick said. “That was the beauty of playing with guys like the Szinks, the Lindesmiths and (Mike) Bankovich. They rubbed off on me to make me a better team player.”
It didn’t take much time for Patrick’s team to hit their groove as several of the team members grew up playing sports together. Patrick is the first to admit they weren’t the biggest or fastest athletes — an observation also noted in an April 11, 1978, issue of The Flyer News (click picture at left to read the article) — but they managed to out-compete most other teams. One of the Walton Gang’s first big wins was the NBA 1977-78 IM basketball championships. From there, Patrick hoped their legacy would grow.
“Whether it was softball or basketball, if you were playing the Walton Gang, you’d know what to expect,” Patrick said. “We probably annoyed a lot of people on campus, but when we showed up at the Pac or the Field House, they knew we were in the building.”
The Walton Gang went on to win several championships continuing past Patrick’s graduation in 1979. Years later, the team and players’ legacy continue to live on, from team reunions to mentions in Dan Patrick’s book The Big Show.
“One of my favorite memories at UD was the Walton gang, and it’s hard to put into words what it was,” Patrick said. “Without those guys, my college experience would not have been the same. They were true, no-ego friends.”No Comments
With pride and as a reflection of the excellence of a University of Dayton education, the Alumni Association recognizes alumni accomplishments through an annual awards program. The 2013 recipients are:
David Bradley ’71 | Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering
The next time your computer freezes, you can thank a Flyer when you’re quickly able to unlock it. Best known for inventing the three-key sequence known as “Control-Alt-Delete,” David Bradley holds 10 patents related to computer design and was one of the original 12 engineers who began work on the IBM personal computer in 1980.
He was responsible for the Basic Input/Output System, known as “BIOS,” writing the code that controlled the display, keyboard, diskette drive, printer and other system hardware devices. Because two of his patents were critical to IBM’s success, he was honored with IBM’s Corporate Patent Portfolio Award. He also wrote a technical manual for the PC and founded a PC architecture group to assist in establishing consistency across IBM products.
After earning a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from UD, Bradley earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from Purdue University. With a busy schedule, keyboard shortcuts are still his favorite time-saver.
“I started using PCs when everything was entered on the command line; no drag/drop/click. So, the shortcuts I’ve learned through the years, like Control-C to copy, or Control-V to paste, make a difference. I hate moving my hand to the mouse to do those things,” he said, noting that he’s not immune to a computer’s time vacuum, either.
“My favorite time wasters are probably just like everybody else. Reading blogs by people I don’t know about things I really don’t care about, just because they are interesting, reading things discovered while looking something else up,” he said. “One not like everybody else — I love taking a PC apart to make it run faster or better.”
On top of a 30-year career at IBM, Bradley has been an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University and North Carolina State University.
Theresa Flores ’07 | Master of Science, Human Services
As a teenager, Theresa Flores was made a slave — first raped, then threatened with her life and her reputation if she failed to comply with the demands of the sex traffickers who oppressed her. Today, she is a vocal advocate for victims of human trafficking, educating others about this modern-day slavery and bringing about legislation and grassroots action to stop it.
Flores, who earned a master’s in human services from UD in 2007, has raised awareness about a subject that society is uncomfortable acknowledging. In 2008, she started the nonprofit Gracehaven House to find and free girls enslaved in child sex trafficking. She was appointed to the Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission in 2009 and has testified before the Ohio House and Senate in support of human trafficking legislation. Her outreach program, SOAP (Save our Adolescents from Prostitution), mobilizes volunteers in cities with major conventions and high-profile sports events to distribute the national trafficking hotline on bars of soaps in hotels.
Phil Cenedella ’84, executive director of the National Association of Human Trafficking Victim Advocates, met Flores four years ago as part of his search for a conference keynote speaker.
“When I called her to be involved, I did not know that I was about to meet a true angel living right here in Ohio,” he said. “One of the many things that impresses me about Theresa is her ability to share her painful story with complete strangers, almost daily, not for fortune, fame or ego, but simply to help others in dire need. If the Christian Service Award is meant for an alum who leads the life Christ asked us all to lead, then there is truly not a better recipient than Theresa Flores.”
Bucky Albers ’68 | Bachelor of Arts, Communication
A sports reporter and columnist for more than 50 years, 1968 communications graduate Bucky Albers started his writing career at the University of Dayton with the Flyer News and the sports information department. After long stretches covering the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds and professional golf, he spent the last 19 years of his career covering Dayton Flyers football and basketball, following the teams to games, tournaments and championships.
He still remembers the night he snagged an exclusive interview with UCLA’s Lewis Alcindor (a.k.a. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) at the 1967 NCAA finals. “When UD upset UNC in the semifinals the night before, everyone was on top of the world; I was the only unhappy person in Dayton. Our rival newspaper had gotten locker room interviews, and I didn’t, so going into the final game I was extra-motivated to find something special,” he said.
He taught journalism classes — 17 in all — at UD in the 1970s and early 1990s, and several of his former students have become nationally known sports journalists. In 2005, one year before retiring, he added the University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to his resume, eventually moderating six popular courses on sports topics.
Albers has also received a lifetime achievement award from the Southern Ohio PGA and holds membership in the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame, the Dayton Hockey Hall of Fame, the Dayton Amateur Golf Hall of Fame and the Dayton Speedway Hall of Fame.
Laura Schmitz Keefe ’05 | Bachelor of Arts, English
Laura Schmitz Keefe took the University of Dayton’s learn, lead, serve tradition to heart and to work, starting the Marietta, Ga., youth mentoring program YELLS (Youth Empowering through Learning, Leading and Serving).
The program matches high school student mentors with elementary school students in creating large-scale service projects, such as a local community garden. The goal? To ensure that young people in Marietta have voice and value, develop leadership skills, build confidence and character, excel academically, build collaborative networks and work for positive change.
“YELLS has been a medium where I can actively change a life and manipulate my own life to be what I want it to be,” wrote one participant.
A former high school English teacher, Keefe’s students inspired her to start YELLS. “They come alive when you give them ownership of a project, and they’re empowered when you enable them to have a voice. I wanted to do more than make a difference; I wanted to teach the next generation to want to change the world,” she said.
Now in its fifth year, YELLS also recruits Flyers from the Atlanta alumni chapter as volunteers. “We did Christmas off Campus with YELLS in 2011, and we’ve had a wonderful experience. I’m so pleased that Laura is being recognized with this award,” said Erin Brick-McManus ’97, chapter president.
Father Norbert Burns, S.M. ’45 | Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy
Father Norbert Burns, S.M., has given more than 60 years of his life to the University of Dayton in roles like student, clergy, professor, counselor and evangelist for the Marianist charism. “I’ve spent 70 years as a Marianist, 60 years as a priest, 50 years as a professor, 67 years in the classroom, 40 years as a marriage counselor, 25 years as a radio program host and 20 years of service in local parishes and to UD students in the Chapel,” he said. “And, I’ve presided over more weddings of UD alumni than I can count.”
With his signature Christian Marriage course, which more than 27,000 University of Dayton students took (a campus record), he quickly became a part of the collective University of Dayton experience. For 25 years, he hosted a call-in radio program on the challenges of modern-day marriage, and he always had a faithful following during the years he presided over the 12:30 p.m. Mass in the Chapel.
“I saw the classroom as the best possible incarnation of Father Chaminade’s vision. When I walked in on the first day, I greeted each student and tried to remember all their names. On the last day, I gave each one a hug so that the class was an example, a demonstration, of what his vision was all about,” he said.
Even after he retired, he continued to teach Christian Marriage — at the special request of the president, as well as by popular demand. He visited alumni chapters around the country to share his six universal keys to healthy relationships, and on campus, he led conversations about the University’s Marianist identity and the role of relationships in it.
Today, he still attends Reunion Weekend, visiting every class party, porch party, cluster and table. The scholarship fund bearing his name continues to attract gifts each year; in all, it’s received more than $75,000 in contributions from hundreds of individual donors.
In addition to his bachelor’s degree from UD, Burns earned a licentiate of sacred theology from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, a doctorate in sacred theology from St. Thomas University, Rome and a post-graduate degree from Yale.No Comments
Answering questions in this issue is Susan Ferguson, director of UD’s Center for Catholic Education and a Marianist Educational Associate. Questions not appearing in the print edition are listed first.
As a Catholic educator, I have been challenged with the tension of being a Catholic school advocate and yet acknowledging the need for quality public schooling in order to promote social equity in our society. Have you also grappled with this tension? —AMY DEMATTEO ’04, SEATTLE
As educators in Catholic schools and advocates for Catholic schools, our professional nature and understanding of the demands for social justice call us to be supportive of education as it exists in the public, private and faith-based sectors. Every child has potential that can be unlocked through an educational environment attuned to the gifts a child has been given. It is important that parents and families of all socio-economic levels, cultures and faith traditions have a choice to enroll their children in schools where faith is the foundation, the culture is accepting and academic excellence is the goal, should parents/families deem that best. I view your sense of tension as a means to advocate for choice for all families.
As a Marianist Educational Associate, what role at UD do you play in caring, listening to and saving souls? —PAMELA CROSS YOUNG ’02, SPRINGFIELD, OHIO
Our campus community has become more intentional about the integration of the charism through academic programming via the Habits of Inquiry and the Common Academic Program and through the Commitment to Community document in student life. As an MEA, this intentionality provides the foundation for listening, caring and “saving souls.” When an MEA explains her caring actions or ability to listen lovingly as grounded in faith and part of Marianist culture, students and colleagues experience firsthand the charism in real time and with real purpose.
Callings, a Campus Ministry program for incoming first year students during the summer before their official school year arrival date, provides an opportunity to share hospitality, community building, and reflection about transition, service, and faith. As an MEA, I participated in some of the activities collaborating with experienced undergraduate student leaders. The interactions between student leaders, first year students, and faculty and staff become manifestations for learning and passing on the Marianist traditions. Igniting the Marianist charism early in students’ time at UD provides great promise of ensuring the tradition will continue. A student leader with whom I partnered during Callings over four summers became a Lalanne teacher and now a Lalanne graduate. It is in these relationships that we foster faith formation, integrated quality education, family spirit, service, justice, and peace, and adaptation and change to enrich the greater good.
What are the most important elements of the Marianist tradition of education? —BROTHER RAYMOND FITZ, S.M. ’64, DAYTON, OHIO
The most important elements of the Marianist tradition of education are family spirit and hospitality, faith formation, a community of equals and stability or staying at the table. A sense of belonging and being welcomed and cared for provides the foundation for lasting relationships and some would say the way to encounter God. When we see the good in others and others see the good in us, we encounter Jesus. I have witnessed many students grow in confidence to risk being authentic because of the support they receive from the campus community. I have also seen many students grow in faith and choose to become catechists thanks to this support as well.
The support of the community when all are valued for the gifts they bring to the community is another aspect of the Marianist tradition of education that has a lasting influence. When the administration, faculty, staff, students and community partners are understood as valuable to the operation of campus life, students see respect for all contributors. Stories have been told about food service personnel who know students by name and inquire about their well-being. When all employees of an institution are seen as contributors to Marianist education, students daily encounter a model of a community of equals where all are respected. Life lessons and academic lessons are integrated.
Finally, “staying at the table” seems to be elusive in our society. Vowed Marianists pledge to remain in dialogue when problems need to be solved. Keeping an open mind and an open heart when disagreements occur is a strong element of Marianist education that seems lost in current political, social and sometimes religious sectors. Marianist education may contribute most to our current state of affairs through practice of this element. A friend once said, “God gave us two ears and one mouth. Perhaps this was to indicate the importance of listening over speaking.”
You teach first-year students who aspire to be teachers. How do you see the Marianist charism as shaping teachers who graduate from UD? —KATIE KINNUCAN-WELSCH, DAYTON, OHIO
Our University teacher education candidates are encouraged to see the potential in each child. In light of respecting the whole child, our students are expected to develop a variety of methodologies to meet the variety of needs individual students bring to the classroom. Rapport with students is also important in the Marianist tradition of education. When teachers take extra time to know a student more fully as opposed to only caring about academic achievement, a student feels valued and often motivated to embrace education with enthusiasm and to persist when challenges arise. As more students encounter challenges in their families, in socio-economic status, in cultural shifts of individualism and less regard for spirituality, these important elements of the Marianist tradition of education will embolden graduates of Marianist institutions to live lives of service, justice, and peace as witness for the common good in their communities.
By way of example, a number of years ago a tornado caused great devastation in a community just south of Dayton. In the aftermath of the destruction, two recent UD Department of Teacher Education graduates were interviewed while assisting with the cleanup, and they noted that they were teachers giving back to their community because that was what they were inspired to do as a result of their UD education. As I saw the news story, a tear trickled down my face because it was clear that the Marianist charism continues in the lives of these UD alumni and likely many others.
If you could look down the road 10 years from now, what do you hope to see in our Catholic schools? —MARY-KATE GERAGHTY SABLESKI ’98, DAYTON, OHIO
I hope to see existing Catholic schools full and new schools being created as families see the spiritual gifts and academic excellence a Catholic education can provide. I hope Catholic schools will be places where families can meet each other and support each other through life in school, in faith and in society. Through a strong religious education program, children and their families will be able to practice contemplative prayer as a means to center their personal lives in God. I assume technology will be embedded and utilized but through means to build community rather than separate. I hope Catholic schools will be hubs of activity that reach out to the poor and marginalized and be places of welcome and hospitality. I hope Catholic schools offer hope to all who are touched by the members of these educational communities.
The following answers appeared in the print edition of the autumn 2014 University of Dayton Magazine.
In what is the Center for Catholic Education involved? —PAMELA YOUNG ’02, SPRINGFIELD, OHIO
We partner with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and provide professional development for teachers and administrators in Catholic schools. The Urban Child Development Resource Center, a group of mental health therapists and a social worker serving Catholic schools, assists students and families with social and emotional development. The teachers in the Lalanne Program serve in under-resourced Catholic schools in Dayton, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Lansing for two years while living in a faith community and earning a master’s degree. The National Catholic Educational Association has hosted conferences on UD’s campus in each of the last two years.
How successful is the Lalanne Program? —PATRICIA M. HART ’73, YELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO
More than 130 Lalanne teachers have completed the program. Ninety percent remain in education. Ninety percent of those remaining in education remain in Catholic education. Several graduates have earned doctorates.
How can catechists engage parents who may not understand the importance of religious education? —NANCY PHELAN HARRISON ’95, GAHANNA, OHIO
Inviting families to take part in lessons shared with their children is an obvious suggestion, but a variety of invitations may be necessary. Phone calls, home visits and family nights with food and child care for very young children may create relationships. Jesus met people where they were. Catechists need to do the same.
How do you live out Marianist spirituality as a lay person who is both a professional and mother? —BROTHER RAYMOND FITZ, S.M. ’64, DAYTON, OHIO
Marianist spirituality has provided a means to step back and examine choices. Trying to put myself in the place of my co-workers and my children has helped me choose my words carefully so as not to hurt or discourage someone. I have sometimes been accused of being overly optimistic, but that is a conscious choice. If Marianist spirituality calls me to serve and act justly, then optimism and enthusiasm seem to be a more likely path to bring these to fruition.
What are some emerging trends in Catholic schools? —KATIE KINNUCAN-WELSCH, DAYTON, OHIO
Overall, Catholic schools are beginning to see strategic planning as paramount for growth and sustainability. I have seen a surge in the interest in P-12 Catholic schools from many Catholic colleges and universities including our own institution. Many Catholic schools are visiting their mission statements to be certain they reflect the importance of faith formation and academic excellence. Means to better form the spirituality of lay teachers and leaders must be developed. Shifts in population, personnel and financial stability have resulted in efforts to bolster leadership and operational vitality. Catholic schools are reviewing curricular standards to insure the integration of Catholic identity across disciplines; the National Catholic Educational Association held the first STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) Symposium at the University of Dayton in June 2014. Immigrants may benefit from the service of a Catholic education. Providing mental health services and meeting needs of students in poverty in urban Catholic schools must emerge as an urgent need.
How did you come to be a part of the Marianist family? —JACK WELSH ’15, PORTSMOUTH, OHIO
Myron Achbach, then director of admissions, came to my high school, Byzantine Catholic, in Parma, Ohio, my senior year and convinced me that UD was my college. From 1972 until 1975, I grew to love UD and the Marianist spirit. We caught the Marianist spirit by osmosis. Father Joe McDonald, S.M., and Father Jim Russell, S.M. facilitated C.A.R.E. retreats and were the first Marianists I came to know as spiritual directors and mentors. My husband and I met during my senior year at UD. He has been employed at UD for 41 years, and I have come to know many more vowed members. In the late 1990’s Brother Raymond Fitz and other Marianists in his community invited members of the faculty and staff to faith sharing evenings. In these times of reflection and discussion, I better realized how the long time and lasting effects of the Marianist charism had shaped my faith, family, and professional life. For this I am eternally grateful.
For our next issue, ask your questions of Father Norbert Burns, S.M. ’45, who taught tens of thousands of our readers. EMAIL YOUR QUESTION TO MAGAZINE@UDAYTON.EDU.No Comments
Brother Brandon Paluch, S.M. ’06, is coordinator of community outreach for campus ministry at UD. [The first two questions and answers are in addition to those appearing in the print magazine.]
Since UD is a Marianist school, why are there so few Marianists on campus? —DON WIGAL ’55, NEW YORK
Though there are fewer Marianist brothers and priests on campus now than in years past, I’m not so sure there are fewer Marianists on campus. So many people here live the Marianist charism in a variety of ways: Marianist Educational Associates, Marianist student communities and students who make commitments as Marianist laypeople, just to name a few. Blessed Chaminade was blessed with an understanding of the critical role of lay leadership in the church. Every baptized Christian is charged with a mission extending far beyond occupying a pew on Sunday morning. The Marianist family invites everyone, “You have been given a gift. How are you sharing it?”
How do you feel the Marianist charism transfers to the work you do with students in the community? —LESLIE KING, DAYTON
Sometimes people talk about the Marianist charism as a bulleted list: Faith, Mary, Mission, Inclusivity, and Community. While this can help describe parts of the Marianist charism, the charism itself is something much deeper—it is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Someone once distinguished between a doctor and a charismatic healer: a doctor heals an illness or injury but a charismatic (one who shares a gift of the Holy Spirit) touches the very heart of the person. I hope and pray that we all can have that kind of presence and impact in our work.
What do you see as the most important contribution the Marianist mission has to make to North American society today? —FATHER CHRIS WITTMANN, S.M. ’83, BEAVERCREEK, OHIO
Our Marianist mission is to witness, form and transform. We’re called to bear witness to the love of Christ in community, to form faith-filled leaders and communities on fire for the Gospel, and to work to transform our society so it more fully resembles God’s kingdom of peace and kinship. If we — Marianist laypeople, brothers, sisters and priests — live this mission with passion, we can make a great contribution to our society.
What would be your advice to people who are exploring the possibility of a religious vocation? —BROTHER TOM WENDORF, S.M. ’86, ST. LOUIS
Pope Francis addressed a crowd of young people saying, “Ask Jesus what he wants of you and be brave! Be brave! Ask him!” It takes courage to listen, to let God chart the path. If you’re being invited to religious life, you will find joy there — in spite of difficulties and even if it seems to others like foolishness. Be brave! Ask him!
You are an optimist by all accounts. Why are you optimistic? —DICK FERGUSON ’73, BEAVERCREEK, OHIO
Someone once taught me the distinction between optimism and Christian hope: Optimism trusts in the power of people while hope is rooted in faith — it is the belief that God can and will transform our world. I’m much more hopeful than I am optimistic. The Holy Spirit wants to bring new life; we just need to cooperate a little more. Father Norbert Burns, S.M., started class with a quiet prayer, “Lord, help me get out of your way.” If we could all live that, we would see our lives, neighborhoods and nations change for the better.
What statement from [founder]Blessed Chaminade inspires you, gives you focus for your Marianist life? —BROTHER TOM PIEPER, S.M. ’67, DAYTON
I love Chaminade’s vision of the “spectacle of a people of saints.” The Marianist family should really leave people wondering, “What is this all about?” We’re called to be a community of ordinary people filled with extraordinary love who warmly welcome everybody — even enemies.
You have experience in urban Catholic schools. What are your hopes and dreams for them? —SUSAN M. FERGUSON ’76, BEAVERCREEK, OHIO
In my favorite Christmas song, “O Holy Night,” we hear, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining ’til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” Jesus appeared in the manger, in that lowly place so people could know their worth. Many Catholics have disappeared from the inner city where so many of our brothers and sisters still struggle in poverty. I hope we can re-appear and commit ourselves to working with children and families in urban Catholic schools. In doing so, we might discover our own and each other’s great worth.
What does being part of the church mean to you? —CYNTHIA CURRELL ’80, DAYTON
Many people today identify as spiritual but not religious. The late, great Father Joe Lackner, S.M., used to joke, “I’m religious, but not spiritual.” I cherish being a member of the church because it is a living body, Christ’s body. I love the church because it brings me face to face and shoulder to shoulder with people seeking the same light. Yes, we sometimes have disagreements, scandals, lackluster liturgies and disappointments. But it is a family, not to be abandoned, even when things get rough. And most importantly, Jesus is there. We can only find him in and with each other.
What was the most important lesson you learned about working for justice during your year of internship in the Fitz Center? —BROTHER RAY FITZ, S.M. ’64, DAYTON
This summer in Mexico, I met a man working a traditional loom. The complexity of the mechanism was astounding — thousands of intricate parts working together. He told me it would take about two weeks of full workdays to weave one blanket. Working for justice is something like that. It is a complex and demanding art. To do this in a Marianist way means taking things one step at a time, gradually, as a mother raises a child. Eventually, the child reaches maturity and the blanket is brought to completion, but not without patience, perseverance and sacrifice.