When the Marianist Sisters celebrated the 50th anniversary of their arrival at UD last October, Maria Ollier Burkett noted a line from Sister Laura Leming, F.M.I., regarding the “littleness” of the Marianist Sisters. Leming’s description of “littleness” referred to a recognition of God’s grace and presence in the everyday and ordinary parts of life, and how that “littleness” could make a significant and lasting impact on others.
Leming started a graduate assistant program in campus ministry 25 years ago with one assistant based in Marycrest, and Burkett completed the program in its early years. Without Leming’s “little” act, Burkett said, Burkett wouldn’t have received the practical and formative experience that led her to her current role as coordinator of program for Christian leadership in campus ministry. Campus ministry now has nine graduate assistants, and six current University staff members were once GAs.
More than 200 years ago, a French teenager’s “little” act of forming a small faith community with a group of friends was one of the catalysts that led to the founding of the Society of Mary.
“All three founders were doing this kind of work in a society in upheaval,” Burkett said. “Adèle was persistent. She had an idea at age 13 and was asking and requesting things that people of her age and gender didn’t ask.”
Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon and Father William Joseph Chaminade organized religious communities with similar goals. After years of correspondence, the two began working together and, in 1816, Adèle founded Daughters of Mary Immaculate, the Marianist Sisters.
Each January, the Marianist family around the world celebrates the lives of Adèle and Chaminade, two of the founders of the Society of Mary.
The University will recognize the feast day of Mother Adèle at 12:05 p.m. Jan. 10 with a Mass at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, followed by a reception in the Kennedy Union Torch Lounge. A celebration of Chaminade takes place 12:05 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, in the chapel, and the Founders’ Dinner Jan. 30 concludes the month.
Read the thoughts of a current Marianist Sister, Nicole Trahan, F.M.I., about how Adèle continues to inspire her spiritual walk at http://udquickly.udayton.edu/scribblings/2013/01/reflections-on-adele/