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Reflecting on the Spirit of DeSales at Mission Convocation

by Paige Hawk Sep 9, 2021

DeSales students singing at Mission Convocation.

The campus community connected at Mission Convocation to reflect on Salesian spirituality, praise God, and celebrate our University’s humble mission. 

After faculty processed through Connelly Chapel, Father Kevin Nadolski, OSFS, Ph.D., vice president for mission, welcomed all in attendance, including those joining virtually via Livestream. 

“We look forward to this graced opportunity to pray together, to give praise and thanks to our God for the blessing of the shared mission that we hold dear here at DeSales University,” Fr. Nadolski told the audience of faculty, staff, and students. “As a university community, we are called through our own faith expression to bring the presence of our God into the world and to testify and to illuminate God’s light.”

The program included spirited song and prayer as well as reflections from Averi Jordan ’22, a student-athlete and nursing major; Dennis Razze ’75, associate professor of theatre; and Kristin Laudenslager M’13, M’21, DSU’s director of web communications. 

Razze mused about how DeSales has grown over the years, yet the community’s Salesian spirit and kindness have never changed.

Semi-Famous Poet Kristin Laudenslager reciting a poem at Mission Convocation

Kristin Laudenslager reciting a poem at Mission Convocation.

Laudenslager recited a poem reflecting on her experience of being a parent of a student who was shaped by DeSales’ mission. Her daughter has grown from someone who used to be revolted by doing dishes to someone who, “...has now built schools in the heat of Honduras, / tended community gardens in South Africa, / found jobs for the imprisoned, and counseled / the grieving victims of the court system.” 

Jordan recounted our core values: gentleness, humility, gratitude, hospitality, and wisdom. She described how DeSales encompasses these values through its programming and activities, and, like others throughout Mission Convocation, she noted that the people of DeSales make the community special.

“When I first visited DeSales, I genuinely asked my mom after the visit, ‘why is everyone so nice here…’ After being a student here for four years I can finally answer that question. It’s because DeSales creates a welcoming atmosphere through the culture they cultivate which starts with the core value of gentleness.”  

 Averi Jordan ’22

In closing, Father James Greenfield, OSFS ’84, University president, offered faculty three takeaways. He reiterated the importance of, “Tapping into the imagination and idealism of our students. Giving them an intellectual resource to understand what it means to be a human person in a human community, and to being a conduit for them to see Jesus is at the heart of this Catholic and Salesian University, regardless of our faith tradition.” To all, he encouraged partaking in transformative learning, as informed by the teachings of St. Francis de Sales. 

For more photos of the Mission Convocation, see our Flickr album. Visit our YouTube channel to view a recording of the Livestream.