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Exploring the Healing Power of Gentleness at Mission Convocation

by Paige Hawk Oct 21, 2022

Contemplative. Inspirational. Impassioned. These words embodied the spirit of this year’s Mission Convocation—an annual event that celebrates our University’s Salesian heritage and commitment to service.

The program commenced with the traditional faculty procession, which was followed by music, provided by the University Chorale and Schola Cantorum, prayer, and reflections by Lauren Brown, Ph.D., associate professor, Thomas Berg ’23, an education major and student-athlete, and Father Kevin Nadolski, OSFS, vice president for mission. As a special treat, students from the department of dance performed a piece called Gratitude.

Brown acknowledged that DeSales has made great strides toward achieving our mission but challenged our community to work even harder to fulfill its promises.

“Every single person in this room can very easily have gratitude for the human dignities you have been shown and extend them to everyone in our community. Have the humility to recognize your privileges, understand the systems that gave you those privileges that negatively impact others in our community, and take the small actions necessary to dismantle these inequities.”

 Lauren Brown, Ph.D., associate professor

Fr. Nadolski encouraged those in attendance to reflect upon the special relationship between our patron, Saint Francis de Sales, and Saint Jane de Chantal.

“Maybe our hearts aren’t broken like St. Jane’s, but maybe they are aching, anxious, or angry,” he said. “The gentleness that Francis de Sales extracted from the heart of Jesus, whose gentle and humble heart was like a spiritual prescription drug that helped heal Jane’s heart, can help our hearts too.”

In closing, Fr. Nadolski offered this advice:

“As we reflect on our mission today, let’s commit to some pure and simple glances of God’s goodness wherever we find them: in the joy of our loved ones, our vocations in Catholic higher education, the beauty of creation, or in the hope that gentleness can change the world.”

The program concluded with words of gratitude from Father James Greenfield, OSFS ’84, president of DeSales, as well as a prayer.