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University of Dayton Magazine
Photo by Larry Burgess

Living in a Beatitude world

10:50 AM  Jul 15th, 2013
by Audrey Starr

The day before religious studies professor Sister Angela Ann Zukowski boarded a plane to Italy with students in her Vocation and the Arts course, she realized an essential item was missing from her suitcase.

In need of a pair of sunglasses, she raced to the store, grabbed the first pair she saw that seemed unlikely to break, and purchased them without even trying them on. Twenty-four hours later, she placed them on her face while en route to Assisi for the group’s first class; and discovered more than protection from the sun’s rays.

“I had this ‘wow’ experience: whatever was in those lenses, everything was magnified double. The clouds were beautiful, all the colors stood out; I was looking at the world through two lenses that complemented each other and made everything around me clearer,” Zukowski said.

When it comes to being a Catholic educator in the 21st century, Zukowski advocates this same unique perspective. In a presentation during Friday’s Catholic Education Summit, she described how today’s technology-driven lifestyle actually works in tandem with a Beatitude way of life.

“In our digital civilization, what it means to be human is shifting very rapidly, and unless we as educators understand this fundamental shift, our methodologies are going to miss the mark,” she said. “The light of God is around us all the time, but we’re distracted by so much in our life that we don’t see it. How do we wake up our students, our faculty and our staff to realize we’re living in the kingdom of God now? The Beatitudes are ways that we reflect that, but if we don’t live them out, others won’t see or experience it.”

Hosted by the University’s Center for Catholic Education, this year’s summit drew more than 200 on-campus participants from as far away as Portland, Ore., and Los Angeles, with many others viewing presentations online in real time.

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