President’s Corner: The maternal influence at Salve Regina
Here we are in the final week of this crazy semester, and I continue to be so proud of how Salve Regina has navigated these past two months. I was thinking of our community of mothers on Sunday, many of them trying to juggle working from home with the full-time needs of their children. I hope you had a good Mother’s Day weekend, and I am in deep admiration of all that you do.
As I look at my own journey through this pandemic, I’m incredibly grateful for those voices of support sustaining me along the way. In my work-life prior to Salve Regina, many of my mentors were male due to the history of their institutions (Jesuits, for example). But since I’ve been at Salve Regina, I’ve been reveling in new maternal influences from the Sisters of Mercy.
I often find myself turning to Catherine McAuley’s words for guidance and comfort, and we’re so fortunate to have the presence of Sisters of Mercy here at Salve Regina. Our Chancellor Sister Therese, who lives close by, offers her wisdom and nourishing home cooking (she’s keeping me healthy, as I can’t cook at all). We have five Sisters of Mercy on the Board of Trustees, and Sister Marypat emails me at least every Monday with words of encouragement, while Sister Chris sends cards of support in the mail that lift me up when I open them after a long day.
Sisters of Mercy on our faculty are often the first to send a kind note after a Town Hall meeting. They are so other-centered in all that they do, reminding me to look outside of my own concerns and to think about what the world needs from me. We all crave these voices of comfort and encouragement in our lives, particularly now when we are spending so much time in isolation.
Many of us are seeing our worlds blend together and have a new appreciation for the work of those living close to us. One of our faculty at Salve Regina received a wonderful email from the mother of a student, because she had witnessed his teaching now that her daughter was home and learning remotely.
Here’s an excerpt from the mother’s email:
“Little did I know that I would be in some ways participating in class to a degree as we have been at home together since March. I have been so impressed. I found the material intriguing and the methods by which you presented it remarkable and engaging. The fact that you were able to get the class to speak up and express their thoughts about subjects that to many … would be taboo … sets you aside from other educators … I could go on and on … but for now, I simply just say thank you again … Here’s to you!”
On Friday night, I was privileged to view the livestream of associate professor Lindsay Guarino’s dance class performance along with family and friends in the same virtual space with the students, all of us logged in to bear witness to their achievements. It felt as if we were together in a large living room, some of us eating popcorn, as we celebrated the beautiful work. Guarino hosted the evening, and her love for her students was palpable.
And these are just a couple of examples of how the Salve Regina community has lifted each other up—one person at a time—each day. Love, kindness and good teaching find a way through, even across physical separation and the glitches of technology.
I hope you all know how much you are cherished here at Salve Regina. Sending my very best well-wishes as you wrap up this final week of the semester. I will now start counting the days until I can see you in person again!
Check out stories every Tuesday that showcase the world of academics at Salve Regina and how faculty, programs and students are innovating with remote living and learning during Virtual Salve. #academictuesdays #salvesgotthis