Dr. Catherine Martin, College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE) professor and chair of the health and wellness area, was one of three recipients of the Servant Leadership Award presented at the Annual Spirituality Convocation See, I Make All Things New! on April 21, 2012, in the Annunciation Center on campus. The event was hosted by the CSE Center for Theological and Spiritual Development, newly renamed the CSE Center for Ministry and Spirituality, under the umbrella of the CSE DePaul Center for Mission and Ministry. Also honored there were two others: Thomas Zanzig, who has been involved in professional ministry for more than 40 years and has developed some of the most popular and influential religion curriculum materials in the U.S. and Canada; and Eduardo C. Fernández, S.J., a faculty member teaching pastoral theology and missiology at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in and the Graduate Theological Union, both in Berkeley, Calif.
Spirituality Convocation Draws Large Crowd
Several hundred participants came to campus for the Convocation to hear leading theologians and educators conduct workshops on prayer, worship, ministry, and spirituality. The day began with a rousing musical liturgy led by Bob Hurd and accompanied by the CSE Elizabeth Singers. It ended with the dedication of the Saint Vincent DePaul portrait and the announcement of the establishment of the DePaul Center for Mission and Ministry that encompasses the Center for Ministry and Spirituality, the Office of Campus Ministry, and the Geraldine Riordan Center for Volunteerism and Service Learning. In between, the attendees chose from 17 workshops, three additional workshops offered in Spanish. The convocation ended with mass in the Holy Family Chapel.
The event also featured three - two English, one Spanish keynote speakers. The morning keynote was by the Rev. John J. Cecero, S.J., the rector of the Jesuit Community and director of the Center for Spirituality and Mental Health at Fordham University. In his lecture entitled, From Healing to Wholeness: Practicing a Spirituality of Flourishing, he stated, “We need to shift how we look at health and wellness, away from a focus on disease to a focus on how to foster health.”
That shift, he explained, will allow individuals to soar despite their everyday challenges, or even illnesses. “Flourishing is a lot more than controlling symptoms,” he said. “How we practice virtue helps us flourish...it helps us develop character strengths.” Virtues he urged the audience to practice are creativity, love, humility, gratitude, spirituality, and forgiveness. “We are meant to be whole persons,” he continued. “What we focus on flourishes…virtues gets stronger by practice.”
In addition to his keynote, Rev. Cecero also offered a morning workshop entitled, Overcoming Lifetraps: A Psycho-Spiritual Approach.
The afternoon keynote was given by the Rev. Dr. Kathleen J. Rusnak, Ph.D., who presented Living an Authentic Spiritual Life: Lessons Learned from the Dying. She is a Lutheran pastor and president and founder of The Brick Wall 2, Inc., a website that provides assistance in exploring the spiritual shift that occurs after a major crisis. In her lively lecture, she spoke of her work with the dying, saying, “For the person who is dying, there is a before and after. The pivotal moment is when they are standing before the doctor who says, ‘You have four months to live.’ There is an existential shift that takes place. They ask, ‘How did I live my life? Why am I here? How did I treat people?’ At the end of our lives, nothing is the same. There is a wall in front of us that we can’t see our own future. When we no longer have a future, we are forced to live in the present. The dying teach us to live authentically in the present because they know that is all we have.”
Dr. Rusnak also led a workshop entitled, Living an Authentic Spiritual Life: Lessons Learned from the Dying, the Conversation Continues.
Fr. Eduardo C. Fernández, S.J., gave a morning keynote address in Spanish, entitled, Pongámonos las Pilas! Que el Espíritu Santo Nos Impulsa (“Let’s Get on the Ball (Recharge Our Batteries), as it is the Spirit Who Impels Us!” He also led two workshops: The Challenges of Diversity for Pastoral Leaders: Developing a Spirituality of Hope, Trust, and Patience in the Slow Work of Evangelization, and La Espiritualidad del Ministro Laico: o como Mantenerse Sano Trabajando en la Viña del Señor.