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University Prayer Service Celebrates Saint Francis de Sales

by Janelle Hill Feb 3, 2021
Prayer Service in Celebration of the Life of St. Francis de Sales

What do gentleness, humility, gratitude, hospitality, and wisdom mean to you? 

More than 100 students, faculty, and staff came together virtually for a special prayer service to reflect on the University’s core values and to celebrate the life of Saint Francis de Sales.

Patrick Mulcahy, professor of theatre and producing artistic director of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, reflected on the words of Shakespeare, then St. Francis, when describing humility. 

“What is humility? Is it the ability to act ashamed when you tell people how wonderful you are? Saint Francis de Sales gives us a definition of sorts: ‘Humility consists in not esteeming ourselves above others and in not seeking to be esteemed above them. Provided that God be glorified, we must not care by whom.’”  

Gabe Moses, a senior theatre major, spoke about hospitality and delivered an inspired performance of Langston Hughes’ Let America Be America Again in honor of Black History Month. 

Sara Hulse Kirby, assistant professor of theology, contemplated the connection between knowledge and love while reflecting on wisdom. Jeff Richter, director of campus environment, described gentleness in the context of our everyday lives. 

Dr. Sarah Starling, associate professor and chair of the psychology major, spoke about remaining grateful despite the challenges of the past year. 

“To truly be grateful, we must be in the moment,” she said. “When we are in the now and we focus just on what we have in this moment, we are reminded that we do have so much to be grateful for. Even when things are hard, we can find blessings to be grateful for. Gratitude only really has room to grow.”

Students Sabrina Ricciardi, Nolan Beck, Meghan Joseph, and Christian Bryson offered prayers throughout the service, while Joe Freemont and Dr. Dennis Varley, director of Liturgical Music, provided the music. Student speakers also paid tribute to and gave thanks for Matthew Hammerstone, a senior criminal justice major, who tragically passed away last year.  

The prayer service was just one of the ways the University community celebrated the Feast of St. Francis de Sales. Other events included a Character U keynote, Oblate bingo, and the Second Annual French Wine Tasting.