On Thursday, Carondelet celebrated St. Joseph's Day with a liturgy that honored the acts and courage of women of all ages whose faith and commitment to an enduring sense of love remind us that the soul of human possibility lives in each and every one of us.
The St. Joseph's Day Liturgy celebrated Jefferson Award recipients, the 2018 and the 2019 Alumna of the Year Awards, the first ever 2019 Inspirational Mentor Award, and a renewal of the vows by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. These important recognitions allow us to see the breadth of women in action over several decades. From our youngest recipients to our most enduring legacies, we see the sharing of heart and deeds that change the way we think about kindness and service.
Our Carondelet students who received Jefferson Awards (Marie'Sa Rumsey '19, Jana Labib '19, Athena Sanchez '20, and Nicole Abudayeh '22) were selected for the differences they make in their communities and the world. By recognizing the ways these women engage in earthly things, we see what it means to keep a heavenly promise to serve the dear neighbor.
"There are opportunities all around us, in our daily lives, to serve and to be the light. I think it starts with just showing up, with taking the time to be there for your family, your friends, or the stranger in need," said 2019 Alumna of the Year, Mary Fichtenkort McFarland '77.
Mary's words reveal that the course of heart, faith, and courage begin with an enduring act; to show up each and every day with love in your heart, so the practice of love becomes an action. When we shelter a refugee, build a community, aid a friend, or read to a child, we live the meaning of grace.
2019 Inspirational Mentor, Mary Beth Kulaweic Dittrich '79, seemed to echo the thoughts of Mary Fichtenkort McFarland. In her acceptance speech, Mary Beth Kulaweic Dittrich said, "We all can love in small, simple, and beautiful ways... I challenge you to look every day for small things that you can do out of great love – small things that the world may see as unreasonable, but things that show your love of God and your love of the dear neighbor."
There may be no greater, enduring symbol of eternal love than the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Part of the liturgy included a renewal of vows by the CSJs. When they renewed their promise, we saw the embodiment of a community that blazed the trail for our young women to follow. When Sister Rosheen Glennon, CSJ, asked the assembly for a resounding Amen to acknowledge the life and legacy of the CSJ order, the strength of this unending hymn of praise filled the Garaventa Center with promise. It is not an endpoint but an everlasting regeneration, a reminder of the enduring and daily acts of kindness that ignite the flame of today's women in places expected and unexpected.
"Even though my career has been primarily in public education it has been my goal to create that sense of community and belonging that Carondelet gave to me that can sometimes be lost on a high school campus of over 2,500 students," said 2018 Alumna of the Year, Julie Reid Duncan '87.
Perhaps that is what we learn most from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, our inspirational alumnae, students, and faculty. We are, all, part of the same community in God's eyes. That all things merge into one, and our timeless acts are sacred promises. A world where communities large, small, and different try to commit in word and deed to the daily acts that unite us. To fill our hearts with love. To guide our spirits with hope. To continue to serve the many dear neighbors we meet and have yet to meet.
To read more about the recognitions of Julie Reid Duncan '87, Mary Fichtenkort McFarland '77, and Mary Beth Kulaweic Dittrich '79, please click women of heart, faith and courage to learn more.