Save Campus Ministry
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“How can we teach the love of God if our own hearts are cold?”- Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy. Saint Xavier University is an institution with a foundation built from mercy. SXU opened its doors in 1846, as a college for women. For over 170 years, its values have guided the university in educating its students in the name of mercy.
In 2000, the McDonough Chapel of the Mother of Mercy was introduced to the campus. Shortly thereafter, a Campus Ministry team was built, and a community was formed. On a daily basis, students enter the chapel to study or complete homework in the community conference room, attend retreat meetings, talk to peer ministers and graduate assistants, and go to mass. The chapel has witnessed both pain and happiness, and is known as a safe space. It is a home.
Recently, changes from SXU’s administration have counteracted the purpose of the chapel. Before school began, the Director of Campus Ministry left, leaving the graduate assistants and peer ministry team to lead the department. Without the direction of a director, we are powerless, and as a result, we are suffering the consequences. In the beginning of the semester, it was decided by the current president of SXU, Dr. Laurie Joyner, that she would transform the community conference room into an office for herself. This is a space that has been used for studying, meetings, community meals, and retreat planning, to name a few. Goodbye parties were held in that room. The destruction of the conference room is the destruction of a community.
Now, she has decided that our volunteer from the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Carol, must move out of the chapel, along with others in the department. For eight years, Sister Carol has served our students with love and kindness; she embodies the chapel and mercy values. She often sells donated books in the diner, in an effort to raise money for Campus Ministry, which aids many students with financial hardships. Now, she has no space for them and is forced to get rid of them. Without her, there can be no mercy in the chapel. She deserves far better.
Because of its location, it offers a break from academia, and offers students the space to breathe. No students will want to visit PMs or HMs in a cramped office in the Warde Academic Center. Furthermore, Campus Ministry is rooted in the chapel. It serves to welcome all faiths and bring the university together. Yet, division only weakens us. Expanding the influence of Campus Ministry cannot be achieved by tearing it apart.
Since President Joyner arrived, she has not followed the mercy values. Where is the mercy in overtaking a sacred space? Where is the mercy in removing ministry from its roots? Where is the mercy is taking an advantage of a department without a director? Where is your mercy President Joyner?
There is nothing more discouraging as student leaders than to see years of passion crumble before our eyes. We have created this petition to bring awareness to what is happening to Campus Ministry. We encourage alumni, students, staff and faculty to help us make a strong statement, as it impacts the SXU community as a whole.
Our goals for the petition are as follows:
1. Allow Sister Carol, the graduate assistants and the impending director to remain in the chapel, where they belong.
2. Reclaim the conference room.
3. Encourage collaboration between ministry and administration, and erase tension.
4. Exemplify the true meaning of Mercy while opposing injustice.
Please stand with us and encourage Dr. Joyner to live up to the mercy tradition the university prides itself on.
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