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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hidden Growth

This is a mustard tree grown from the smallest of seeds. It is able to spread its branches and welcome all the birds of the air. Who would have thought that the tiny seed would have such a destiny?

Today is my last official day at St. Thomas University. I am going to take the one who is now heading the International Online Certificate Program in Spirituality Studies around to introduce her to many in administration and some faculty and, at the same time I will be saying good-bye after twenty-four years of teaching at the same University. I have seen the growth. We now are the School of Theology and Ministry and have graduated our first doctoral students in practical theology. We have expanded and continue to expand with a new Doctor of Ministry Program to begin soon.

At the same time, I feel that I was that tiny mustard seed that began the Spirituality Center back in 1986 with a post-master's program in Spirituality and a training program for Spiritual Directors. I also spent a great deal of time that first year in trying to interview about a hundred older adults about their spirituality. That was a real learning experience for me and I am grateful for that opportunity. I look back and see that the growth was real, but hidden at the time. Now I feel that I am rooted firmly in my own spirituality and able to open to all the world. To be a Religious of the Sacred Heart is to have a heart as big as the world and open to all. I leave St. Thomas knowing that I will return to be there for noon liturgy at least once a week, use the library, continue with my faith-sharing group and keep up with friends on the faculty and staff. I leave with gratitude and joy; it is time and I am ready!

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