Student Reflections on Core Values

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Each year, beginning in 2011, Rockhurst University focuses on one of the six Jesuit core values. These annual themes are infused into the Rockhurst experience, from academics to special events to student reflections.

Twenty-six students are selected each year to provide a reflection on that year's theme. We encourage you to browse these thought-provoking reflections and discover what each value represents in the eyes of today's Rockhurst students.

Themes for each year are:

2018-19: Cura Personalis — Care for the Whole Person

Zach Harbin

Zach Harbin is a pre-med student majoring in biochemistry who hails from Quincy, Illinois. He enjoys traveling both near and far to make new memories with whoever will join him. In his free time, he likes spending time with his friends and exercising. Throughout his time here at Rockhurst, he has been a member of ADG, APO, Tri-Beta, and SAB, as well as being involved in campus ministry (Lumber-jack Service Retreat pictured at left) and orientation. He will attend Kansas City University medical school in the fall.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to become a doctor. This decision made me choose more science and math classes. Due to the Rockhurst University core curriculum, I had to take some philosophy courses. At first, I wasn't excited about these types of classes because they were extremely different than the classes I was used to. This semester I am taking a class about medical ethics. In this class, I have started realizing that there is so much more to healthcare than math or science. Medicine is an art because every person is different and has different needs. As a physician, the goal is to take care of the patient and to fulfill all of their needs whether that be physiological, psychological, social, or spiritual. Rockhurst helped me see a different side of the career I dreamed about as a child. Caring for the whole person is crucial in medicine and is something that I hope stays with me throughout the rest of my life.

Amarvir Ghuman

Amarvir Ghuman is a sophomore from Galloway, New Jersey. He is pursuing a double major in biology and English and is involved in Alpha Delta Gamma, social mentors, SEEK Interfaith Council, and is a tutor at the Learning Center. In his spare time, Amarvir enjoys drinking coffee and spending time with his friends and family.

As humans, we are one of the most complex living species to ever walk the surface of the Earth. We have come such a long way as a whole from entering the Neolithic Revolution to the discovery of medicine and to being accepting of how people put themselves out in the world. While we have come such a long way, there are aspects of our beings that can come across as burdensome. As humans, we are prone to make mistakes and do things that we can instantly regret. What makes us so beautiful and sets us aside from other species is our ability to realize our mistakes, learn from our mistakes, and forgive. While it is often tempting to throw our past under the rug and move on, we can come to terms with our difficulties, no matter how enduring they might be.

Last year, after our campus was fliered by white supremacists, we banded together as a campus and a community. Instead of acting as if nothing happened, we were able to address and assure that all people, except for white supremacists, are welcome here no matter what their circumstances might be. We were able to make our community stronger and "build a home for all."

Being able to recover from the darkest of times is what I find delightful about being human, and why I appreciate our core value of cura personalis.

Mi'Kayla Taylor

Mi'Kayla Taylor is a sophomore who plans to double major in Philosophy and Criminal Justice. She hails from St. Louis, Missouri, but loves life here in KC! At Rockhurst, she serves on the E-Boards of Black Student Union and Phi Alpha Delta (Pre-Law Fraternity). An interesting fact about Mi'Kayla: she is a member of an artist collective group that makes music about combating gun violence and other issues in the Saint Louis area.

When I see this Core Value written somewhere or when it comes to mind, I ponder the fact that there are so many different aspects to us as human beings, therefore it can be difficult to tend to each one of those aspects because of how busy life can become. My struggle with self-care is an example of this. When I constantly care for others and see to others' needs, I sometimes neglect to see and care for my own. There are times when I feel like I am juggling more than I can handle or more than I should and I feel like I don't have or can't make time to satisfy my needs and take care of myself. I believe many of us can relate. Cura personalis is about caring for the whole person and tending to the needs--emotional, physical, mental--of others, but it does not exclude making sure I care for myself as well. We should care for ourselves as we do for others because you can't pour from an empty cup.

Maria Kramer

Maria Kramer is a sophomore from St. Louis, Missouri. She is majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders, minoring in Catholic Studies, and enjoys being involved with Campus Ministry. Fun fact: she is a little too proud of earning the senior superlative of "always sleeping" in high school.

St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:12 "the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body...". To me, this illustrates the importance of cura personalis- the respect we must have for everything that makes us children of God. He gave us the beautiful gift of both soul and body. We are to take care of and nurture both in order to best serve God. I struggle with this sometimes- keeping in mind that I cannot properly take care of my soul if I'm neglecting the body. I used to try to convince myself that I could ignore meals and get inconsistent amounts of sleep, then try to pray or study. It's sort of hard to serve God to my best potential if I neglect the body He gave me. It is also important for me to keep in mind that when presented with two inherently good options, choosing the option that brings me closer to Christ is taking care of the whole person. Ultimately, holiness is our main goal and cura personalis is a way to aid in attaining that.

Frank Macias

Frank Macias is a sophomore from Wichita, Kansas. He is currently studying Business Communication and is minoring in leadership and music. Frank is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha, active minds, and helps out with campus ministry. In his free time, Frank enjoys playing guitar and singing, he is a die-hard Sporting KC fan and loves his dachshund Sampson.

Last year my campus involvement was very low, so this year I focused on being as involved as possible. While I was eager to join many organizations, I was not prepared to take on all the work that came with it. I found myself running from meeting to meeting right after class and never giving myself a break. I knew I needed to fix something when my busy schedule started affecting my grades and health. I put getting good sleep and exercising healthy habits at the bottom of my list and the exhaustion that came with it showed during the day. In order to give my best effort into my organizations, I needed to give the best effort into myself first. With help from friends and faculty I was able to plan my daily schedule in a way that benefited me and others. Part of cura personalis for me is being aware of what I can't handle and knowing what I can't fit into my schedule so that I don't work myself to death. Another aspect of living cura personalis is holding myself accountable and knowing how my actions affect the well-being of myself and others. By applying this change in my life, I can see how having a greater care for myself allows me to also have a greater care for the world around me.

Kendra Vandament

Kendra Vandament is currently a sophomore here at Rockhurst University. She studies nursing in the hope of becoming a pediatric nurse. One fun fact about Kendra: she absolutely loves traveling, particularly her previous mission trip to Uganda in East Africa.

As I reflect on cura personalis over this past year, I realized that towards the beginning of the year I wasn't truly caring for the whole person, I was only caring for half the person. I was focusing all my time on other people and my school work. This didn't leave much time to take care of myself. I have been battling some health issues over this past year; not taking care of myself only made it worse. I constantly pushed off rest and I failed to prioritize my health concerns, deciding instead to focus all my time on my social life and schoolwork. Once I reflected and realized this, it helped me to take control of my life again. I started to do the things that I love, like my devotional, working out, getting plenty of sleep, and having time for myself. I saw that it was okay to focus on me. This fuller understanding of cura personalis is slowly helping me to change my life around for the better, as I not only care for others, but myself too.

Jacob Williams

Jacob Williams is a junior at Rockhurst studying English and Psychology as well as working as a Resident Assistant and working with The English Club, The Rockhurst Coalition of (Board, Card, and Video) Gaming, and Rockhurst Theater. He was also born with three thumbs, so he's always been unique!

Whenever I think of religion or the idea of faith, my main thought is usually of caring. Simple and wholehearted caring. Now who that caring is for or why these specific people think that they should be caring, I'd say is up to whatever specific religion you subscribe to. But for me at least this idea usually sticks with just general caring, mostly because I am what is called an agnostic in my faith. This idea may be very vague and arguably too much so, but this vagueness seems to fit perfectly with cura personalis. The Latin phrasing of caring might be specific to Jesuit Teachings, but caring is a value that I think we can all notice in our lives. Whether it has been in my psychology classes, Resident Assistant training, my personal spiritual ideas, or even in English classes (Othello could have used a lot more of cura personalis) I have noticed a lot of this core value throughout my time here at Rockhurst. Though all of the other core values are definitely important in their own ways, cura personalis is one that I know will stick with me throughout the rest of my life.

Abby Seipel

Abby Seipel is a junior majoring in Exercise Science and Spanish, in hopes of pursuing a degree in Physical Therapy. She is from rural Callao, MO where she grew up on her family's farm raising sheep, cattle, swine, goats, and chickens. Abby is very involved in her sorority, Theta Phi Alpha, Campus Ministry, VOICES for Justice, Sigma Delta Pi, and is on the Mission and Ministry Committee. A fun fact about Abby is that she has had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru and Costa Rica during the past two years!

Before coming to Rockhurst I had never heard the term cura personalis. All of my life leading up to college I was involved in everything possible. Even today, I find it ridiculously easy to spread myself too thin without even realizing it. I love being active, helpful, and supportive of the causes and people about which/whom I deeply care, but sometimes I lose myself along the way. For me, continuing to learn and apply the value of cura personalis to my life has become incredibly essential to my well-being. As much as I want to care for the people in my life, deep down I know that I cannot possibly give them my best if I do not first care for myself. This idea of not being able to pour from an empty cup has continually presented itself to me during my college career. It will probably take a very long time for me to understand and really incorporate that concept into my life, but it is something I am continuously trying to improve. I am so thankful for the joy and transformation that I have experienced in my short time at Rockhurst. I am beyond grateful for the students, faculty, and staff who have encouraged and supported me along the way. These experiences and incredible people continue to help shape me into a more well-rounded person. I know the only way I can return the favor is if I continue to care for my whole person.

Aqsa Choudhry

Aqsa Choudhry is a second-year student from Blue Springs, MO. She majors in Biology and Psychology and minors in Art and English Literature while journeying on a pre-med track. She is a member of Student Senate, the APO service fraternity, and the SEEK student interfaith council. Aqsa loves any outdoor activity, big cities, traveling, photography, and writing, and she flows a sweet spoken word.

As I walked onto campus as a first-year commuter student, I worried that I would not be able to meet new people. Now, about halfway into my sophomore year, I realize that I had no need to worry at all, thanks to the ways in which the Rockhurst community lives cura personalis.

When I first think of this year's core value, I immediately think of me caring for the people I love. My experience here at Rockhurst University has reversed and expanded this insight. From the first day of orientation, because of the welcoming vibe I received, I have been able to meet new individuals, create new groups of friends, and connect with many student organizations, which welcome all students to join. I have experienced cura personalis through friends who:

  • ensure that I arrive home safely from my evening commute
  • offer what literally amounts to a second home, in the form of THV space or a residence hall desk, during long breaks between classes
  • reschedule organizational meetings to accommodate my commuting schedule

These simple gestures truly make the difference for me, and further implement the care for members of the Rockhurst community in light of their specific needs.

Allison Vermiglio

Allison Vermiglio is in her second year at Rockhurst. She is from St. Louis and is majoring in Global Studies, English on the Film and Writing tracks, Philosophy on the Social Justice track, and pre-MBA. She is a Resident Assistant, the Service Chair of VOICES for Justice, a Service Mentor for the Service Academy, and a member of Theta Phi Alpha.

When first learning about Cura Personalis, I had a very service-oriented mindset. My understanding of Cura Personalis was fully about helping others in any way I could. While helping others is great, I now think that my previous understanding of Cura Personalis is not the full picture at all. Getting caught up in a mindset of serving the "less fortunate" can be dangerous because it implies a separation between the two parties involved. What I now understand Cura Personalis to completely erase that line. I think it is simply about every part of every person having inherent human dignity and treating them as such. Everything that makes up a particular individual, whether that be physical, emotional, spiritual, etc. deserves to and should be cared for equally. There is no group of people who have everything and no group who needs everything. Every part of a person is both equally worthy to be cared for and equally dignified and valuable.

Ciaran Sweetman

Ciaran Sweetman hails from Kansas City. He attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School prior to Rockhurst University, where he now majors in business management as a sophomore. He works on the RU Grounds Crew, sings in two student choirs, the Musica Sacra Rockhurst Community choir, and in the Joyful Noise liturgical choir. An interesting fact about Ciaran: he can solve a Rubik's cube in 17 seconds.

In May of this year I was chosen to go on the Lumberjack Service Retreat with eight other Rockhurst students. Many times during the retreat, Cura Personalis came to my mind. We worked very hard all day splitting wood for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, an organization that serves isolated senior citizens in Upper Michigan. We began and ended each day with a full body prayer on the lakeshore. It was during this prayer that I engaged in Cura Personalis the most. It allowed us to prepare ourselves for the work ahead of us that day, as well as stretch out all of our aches and pains before we went to bed. This ritual each morning and night showed me how prayer should not only involve the mind, but also the body. We all found ourselves fully entering into this prayer because it allowed us to connect with God on a deeper level. We experienced the beauty of the earth that God created, all of the sounds of nature around us like the water, birds, wind, and the sounds of the amazing people around us. For me, full body prayer has become a big part of Cura Personalis and caring for the whole person.

Madeline Carlson

Madeline Carlson is a senior from Warrenton, MO. She is a double major in Exercise Science and Physics of Medicine with a minor in Theology. She has hopes of attending a Physical Therapy school starting in May. In addition, she runs cross country, is a leader for IMPACT (Rockhurst's praise and worship ministry), and befriends every stray cat she meets.

When first considering Cura Personalis, I reflected on what caring for others truly looks like. I thought about how I can care for others in my place on campus, where my leadership lies, and how I can use that to benefit the community around me. We often limit our view of caring for others to the organizations in which we are involved and our leadership positions; however, I have learned an entirely new understanding of the value of Cura Personalis through focusing on care for myself. I realized that part of caring for others truly and sincerely starts with true and sincere care for myself. Though over the course of my three years my involvement has dwindled, my investment in both myself and others has been able to increase. A sweet friend once shared with me that "you cannot pour unto others from an empty cup." I try to live Cura Personalis by constantly asking myself if my cup is full or empty. I invite you to consider ways in which your cup is filled and how you can use your filled cup to pour unto others.

Nhukha Nguyen

Nhukha Nguyen is a sophomore from Lee's Summit, MO. She is pursuing a biochemistry major and a physics of medicine minor. She is a Resident Assistant (RA) in McGee Hall, a member of Gamma Phi Beta, Ambassador, Student Senate, SEEK Interfaith Council, and the Rockhurst Honors Program.

Cura Personalis is a value everyone can carry out despite our differences. In college, it is sometimes difficult to be distracted or caught up in our obligations. I may forget to take care of others or myself. However, I find myself most alive when I strive to create acts of care and kindness.

An effort I strive to make every day is taking care of my grandmother. My grandmother is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She often forgets to eat her daily meals and take her medication. During my breaks in between class, I will stop by her house to make sure she maintains her health and diet.

When I was younger, my grandmother took care of me and has always taught me to give back. Being impactful to another person leads to an ultimate chain of care for the whole person.

Andrew Mallon

Andrew Mallon is a sophomore from St. Louis, Missouri, and is double majoring in English and Education and minoring in Theatre. He is involved in the Knights of Columbus, Love Your Melon, Respect Life, Campus Ministry, and Rockhurst Theatre. Fun Fact: back in March, Andrew cut 12 inches of hair off the top of his head and donated it to Children With Hair Loss.

While at Rockhurst I've gotten involved in quite a few co-curricular activities. Being involved in so many activities has formed me into a much more well-rounded individual than I was when I got to college. I've learned more about myself in things I never thought I would end up doing. I knew coming into college that I wanted to grow deeper in my faith, but I wouldn't have guessed that I would use tactics I learned in my Rockhurst acting class to enhance my prayer life. I prayed when I came into college that I would find an amazing group of friends with which I could constantly surround myself. That prayer was not answered abruptly; it happened throughout my entire first semester by getting involved with various organizations, clubs, and activities. Being a leader in some of these activities has also helped me grow in ways I didn't know I could. I am now in a mental state where I'm constantly pushing myself and expanding my capacity to grow and learn, and without my classes and co-curricular activities, that state wouldn't exist. Truly, Rockhurst has extended Cura Personalis inside and outside the classroom.

Allison Delgado

Sophomore Allison Delgado hails from Lee's Summit, Missouri. She is double majoring in Molecular Biology and Spanish on a pre-med track. She serves the Rockhurst community as a Student Senator and as a member of the SEEK student interfaith council. An interesting Allison fact: this past summer she began teaching herself how to play guitar.

Ingrid Patten

Ingrid is a senior studying elementary education. She hails from Gallup, New Mexico, and is involved in VOICES for Justice, Student Ambassadors, Theta Phi Alpha and KDP (the education fraternity). She currently student teaches the craziest sixth grade class in the history of education and she’s LOVIN’ it!

During my years at Rockhurst, the core value cura personalis has taken on a new meaning for me. I’ve learned that, for me, caring for my whole self includes actively fostering the kind of person I want to become. I’ve been able to participate in and serve as a leader in organizations that spoke to my heart and challenged me to grow. By taking two different leadership roles in VOICES for Justice, a social justice organization, I have surrounded myself with people to admire and emulate; the ways in which they care for others and the world around them inspire me! The other leadership roles I’ve had around campus have also shaped me into a different person than I was before coming to Rockhurst, and I’m so thankful for that. In each new position, I realized a new area of growth I could work on. Being at this school has not only prepared me to be a teacher, but it has also made me a better human being.

Mehmed Atik

Mehmed was born in Ankara, Turkey, grew up in Houston, and absolutely loves Kansas City, where he has been living with his wife since 2016. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Houston in 2014 and is set to graduate with a Master of Business Administration degree from Rockhurst University in May 2019.

I believe that it was God’s plan for me to come to Rockhurst. Having strived through most of my adult life to pursue a medical career, I was unknowingly guided by God towards business school instead. While I continue to learn and experience the Jesuit values at Rockhurst, I tend to relate them to the teachings of Islam. A person must care for himself before he can care for others, but what we think is good for us might be bad for us, and vice versa. As a Muslim, I find it essential to practice tawakkul, an Arabic word meaning “perfect trust in God and reliance on Him alone,” because only He knows what is truly best for us. Hence, the perfect cura personalis is that of God’s. I believe it was through His care that I am now on a career path that I am passionate about. The holistic personal development I am undergoing during my time at Rockhurst is allowing me to become better at cura personalis towards others.

Stephanie Lopez

Stephanie is a native Texan who majors in nursing. She serves as a resident assistant and is a member of the cross country team and Theta Phi Alpha.

“Living life in the balance” is a common phrase that any Rockhurst athlete knows too well. This mantra is repeated over and over again to us, but 1) What does it mean? and 2) How does it relate to cura personalis? As we all know, cura personalis means caring for the whole person, but who is that person? For most of us, we view that as caring for others or our neighbor. For many of us, we forget that person also needs to include "myself." I am heavily involved around campus while also balancing my nursing major on top of that. When reflecting on my involvement, I realized that most of what I chose to be a part of is heavily “other” focused (from being on a team to serving fellow students as an RA) and that I tend to put my own needs after others. I realized that it is hard to care for my neighbor when I am struggling to care for myself. Moving forward with this new year, I hope to reflect on the value of cura personalis and remember the balance I must find within that. Continue to care for others, but also take time to care for myself in the capacity I need.

Megan Page

Megan is currently a first-year student from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is majoring in special education and minoring in English. In her free time, Megan loves to write, travel and spend time with her family.

Cura Personalis
I present a facade.
Accept it.
Don’t explore who I am.
You pursue my heart,
And I’m scared of what you’ll think.
My heart’s been broken a thousand times,
But no one has ever come back to mend it.
Why do you want in?
Why should I let you in?
Will you love what I don’t display?
There is ugly hidden in me.
I promise my struggles aren’t simple,
If I let you in, what will you say?
You won’t be able to fix me.
But you whisper so gently.
You will love me not fix me.
You will take me as I am You are here to listen.
I have value because I am human,
Because I am complex and unique.
Looking back, I know
It’s messy,
But it is all my story.
It is all me,
And it deserves to be loved.

Jermal Perkins

Jermal is a sophomore majoring in communications; he plans to pursue a minor in English (literature track) and educational studies. He loves to read, write poetry, go on adventures and make new friends. He is passionate about talking to people about God, getting to know where people are in their lives. A fun fact about Jermal: He is a twin.

I have learned that technology hinders my ability to be intentional with God, myself and others fully as whole persons. I try to combat such distractions by going away, being quiet and being alone in the morning and at night. Every morning, I try to read the Bible and meditate; this helps me to enter the day in a space of openness and acceptance. This mental/spiritual preparation allows me to be open to the new experiences and challenges that come with each new day. This also frees me to be authentically joyful, because I am not carrying old burdens into the new day.

After this daily preparation, I try to care for the whole person by loving people where they are in their life. I believe that, in order to truly care for the whole person, I must accept others for who they are. It is impossible to care for the whole person if I say I love someone but want to change them. My core belief is that love should be enough and that by loving someone, I can hopefully plant a seed in their heart.

Hunter Oakes

Hunter is a junior majoring in electrical engineering, hoping to be a control systems engineer. He works in Mabee Theatre as a sound designer and oversees a robot build for a local startup. He is a member of the Rockhurst Coalition of Board, Card, and Video Gaming, UNITY and he makes music happen for IMPACT. Fun Fact: He makes mini arcade games in his free time.

When on campus, do you ever look around and just see what there is to see? I was doing just this right after the closing of my freshman orientation. Most of the freshmen were wandering off to their residence halls. I wandered around the quad and the orientation leaders were in a circle, reflecting over the course of the weekend. I ended up resting about 30 yards away from them, when one of my orientation leaders approached and asked me to share the best thing that I learned from the weekend. For me, the answer was family. Over the course of the weekend, the groups that we had formed had started to feel like family. The entirety of the weekend had the end goal of connecting the freshman with one another and creating a shared identity of a class; the orientation leaders had succeeded. That family extended and grew as the class began to become friends with the older students.

Everybody had grown to know each other. Grown to be friends. Some more than friends. We had learned to care for each other, and that has shown. Cura Personalis is stressed to many students as taking care of oneself, but the idea of Care of the Whole Person extends to the people around us, too. The love that we show for ourselves is important, but ultimately it is the love that others show us, and we show others, that shapes who we are. More importantly, the love that we show for others IS love that we show ourselves, because they will give back. Cura Personalis is an idea that is cyclical by its very nature, and it is a cycle of love for others as well as ourselves.

Sydney Hunter

Sydney is a senior hailing from the greatest neighborhood of Kansas City: Waldo. She studies nonprofit leadership and fundraising. In her free time, Syd enjoys listening to NPR, rooting for the Royals and teaching Father Curran about Snapchat filters.

As college students, we live in a time of constant connection to other people. In class, on campus, online and on the weekends, we are continuously surrounded by our peers. Rockhurst’s community is strong and intentionally built for connectedness. However, in an environment so saturated with interaction, it seems we have lost the art of truly connecting with each other. That phrase seems so cliché that I roll my own eyes at my words, but its truth cannot be denied.

It can be so easy to reduce our peers to passing conversations and social media presence. With our heavy class loads, work and extracurricular obligations, I can hardly blame us. We rarely take the time to truly check in with each other — to sit with the joyful, the funny, the uneasy and the difficult. However, it is these moments of compassion and selfless interest in another that constitute Cura Personalis. We talk a lot about Cura Personalis in relation to ourselves, but employing this value towards others is just as important.

Rockhurst is built on a community of connectedness. I invite us to take that personally. I have been blessed with incredible friends who care for me in a holistic way. I challenge us to be that person for each other. Grab a friend and a coffee and truly listen to one another. Our values as Rockhurst students are meant to be lived daily, and I can’t think of a better way than to live them than in service to those we love most.

Jace Hasterlo

Jace is a sophomore originally from Omaha, Nebraska, studying history, theology and French on a pre-law track. He is the president of UNITY, on the executive board for Phi Alpha Delta, and a resident assistant in the Town House Village. An interesting fact about Jace: He is the master of 2005 pop-punk trivia.

The beauty of a college campus like Rockhurst is how easily it allows us to build community. That sense of community is tangible in the legitimate, actual concern that students, faculty and staff demonstrate while looking after each other. People exist as more than just students or employees; the following example served as a reminder of this fact.

Midterms, like other tests, bring up the need for reflection upon Cura Personalis as a core value. A friend of mine recently told me about a rough week he had last semester at Rockhurst. He eventually decided to talk to one of his professors about it. When he went into the classroom, his professor first acknowledged that he seemed stressed. As time passed, the professor continued to try to help address the root causes of his stress. This professor’s example — to go above and beyond — shows the power of caring for the whole person.

Brooks Hanson

Brooks is a first-year student who drove down to Kansas City from Wayzata, Minnesota. He is majoring in data analytics and marketing. When not studying, you’ll likely find him playing varsity lacrosse, engaged in Honors Program activities or serving as a liturgical minister at our 6:00 p.m. student mass. In summer he likes to hike, camp and swat mosquitos.

I love technology. I enjoy watching videos of the newest phones on the market, checking out the latest gadget, or thinking about the coolest new technology that could be in our hands in the hopefully not-so-distant future. I used to get annoyed when adults that didn’t grow up with technology criticized us for always being on our phones, but now I reluctantly realize that they have a point. The time that I spent as a kid reading books and playing outside and exploring the world around me is now spent with my eyes glued to a screen.

Every minute that I spend mindlessly scrolling through Instagram is another minute that I could spend developing my whole body, mind and soul. Finding the right balance between technology and real-world interaction is something that I struggle with but am constantly working on. I find that the more time I spend taking in my surroundings, the more connected I feel to myself and to others. I think that the best way that I can live out our core value of Cura Personalis is by picking up my phone less and engaging with my immediate reality more.

Caleb Burnside

Caleb is a freshman from Kansas City, Kansas, studying Spanish. He is a member of the student organization UNITY and serves as a DA in Corcoran Hall. When he’s not doing homework or hanging out with friends, he enjoys playing video games or reading books. A fun fact about Caleb: He is (according to his friends) a stove expert.

My first semester and a half at Rockhurst have enriched me in more ways than I could have ever predicted. I have made connections that I know will last years, with both professors and close friends. These connections have helped me grow as a person, improving my social and academic experience. The interactions that I’ve had with faculty and staff have been so humbling. Campus president Father Curran has warmly welcomed my friends and me, even when we had to explain to him the artistic significance of a vine. Cafeteria workers have always taken time out of their day to talk to me, even if only to say hi. It feels to me as if people here genuinely care about the well-being of students. For me, this is what Cura Personalis means: a dedication towards creating a culture that seeks to improve and attend to all aspects of the self.

Brock Butel

Brock grew up in Overbrook, Kansas, a small town about 70 miles west of Kansas City. He studies exercise science and plans to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy. In his free time during this part of the year, Brock enjoys watching basketball and being active with friends.

Time. It is our most valuable tool as college students, yet we (or at least, I) seem to act like we have much more of it than we really do. We often realize this too late, already neck-deep in clubs, organizations and all the activities that come with them. So, how do we know what to invest our time into and what to leave alone? This is one of the questions that I’ve struggled with most through my college experience. After almost one year in college, I still don’t have the answer. I am, however, beginning to better understand myself, and with that, better understand where my time needs to go.

Most importantly, I’ve realized how important it is to recognize my own limitations. In this, I feel that I am living more fully into Cura Personalis. There are only 24 hours in a day, and I cannot give too much of it to things that I do not enjoy. I am not suggesting that it isn’t good to try new things. On the contrary, trying new things is one of the best aspects of being a college student. However, once we realize what is truly important to us, our schedule will fall in line behind our priorities.

Desane Charles

Desane is a sophomore nursing major who was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She enjoys serving on Black Student Union’s E-Board as secretary and service chair. She also is an active member of RAKERS, SAB and (soon to be) APO.

From the time I stepped foot on Rockhurst's campus I have immersed myself in service. I’ve tried to be involved in as many aspects of Rockhurst as possible. Since I come from a non-Catholic/Jesuit background, the core values were all very new to me. However, I have loved embracing every moment of learning and practicing this new form of spirituality. Our value for the school year is Cura Personalis or caring for the whole person.

Through the service trips (New York, Houston, Belize) I have been able to hone in on what Cura Personalis means in my life. While on a recent service trip, someone told me “truly caring for someone and doing the works of God is doing so without expecting anything in return.” Cura Personalis, to me, is caring for people: whole-heartedly, unselfishly, and judgment-free. This is the biggest lesson I have learned at my time here at Rockhurst, and I hope to continue practicing the value of Cura Personalis throughout my life.

Emilly Dickson

Emily is a freshman nursing major from St. Louis with a minor in women and gender studies. In addition to running for Rockhurst’s cross country team, she serves as the fair trade committee president and is active in VOICES for Justice, Gamma Phi Beta and the SEEK interfaith panel. Fun Fact: she is a certified open-water scuba diver (although you probably won’t catch her in the water any time soon; sharks are scary.)

What is so beautiful about this notion of “caring for the whole person” is that there are numerous words for “care” in Latin. Cura means many things. It not only means to heal and protect, but to desire and concern, to undertake a task with zeal. Just as Cura has so many meanings, I think the core value of Cura Personalis challenges us to invest in the many facets of ourselves and others. Before deciding to come to Rockhurst, as a devoted runner, I thought I wanted to attend a university that would incubate me in an environment saturated with running culture. I wanted racing and training to be my entire life.

After visiting Rockhurst, I realized that there were so many other fields to cultivate in myself, and here I have discovered it is possible to undertake personal growth with zeal in multiple areas concurrently — intellectually, athletically, spiritually and socially. It is in this way that, through service, we not only desire to give the necessities to the most vulnerable, but also to cultivate communities that promote authentic human dignity, an emotional aspect of the human experience that is no less important than physical health.

Emily Lassman

Emily is a junior exercise science major and physics of medicine minor. She hails from the lovely town of Belleville, Illinois. She is an active member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, Purpose and campus ministry.

As college students, our schedules are filled with studying for tests, work and many other things that prevent us from taking time for ourselves. I personally find myself procrastinating to study for my test or start reading another journal article, which takes away from my time to work out or make a healthy meal. Taking care of myself becomes less a priority in my day when I worry about my post-Rockhurst future or about my big upcoming test, but it shouldn’t. Whenever I take time to do something for myself, like a run around Loose Park, I feel so much better and prepared to conquer the next challenge. It doesn’t matter how fast I run or how far I go; taking time to better myself is all that matters. Caring for myself in a seemingly insignificant way can often be forgotten. However, such a small bit of attention to myself can go a long way in helping me accomplish my goals.

Abby Walsh

Abby is a soon-to-be-graduating senior studying occupational therapy. She is an avid fan of her St. Louis hometown and is involved with the Ambassador program and her sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha. On a nice day, you can find her cross-stitching on her dearly loved porch, enjoying a medley of early 2000’s bops, or explaining what exactly occupational therapy is to anyone who will listen.

Picture your best friend. What do you love most about her/him? Are they always up for a spontaneous adventure, or quick to simply be present in a difficult time? It’s wonderfully easy for me to love my closest friends and our porch-sitting, ice-cream-eating evenings. However, as women and men invested in Jesuit values, we are called to care for more than just our favorite parts of our favorite people. We are nudged towards those who are viewed as being on the periphery, or those with whom we seem to have nothing in common. We are called to care for them just as we care for our best friends. The single most important thing I can do to embrace someone who is different from me is to listen, and to do it in a way that is radically different from how I tend to communicate. Listening in the spirit of cura personalis involves putting aside a wish to persuade or prove a point, or a desire to shape someone into a mold of what I value and believe. It requires me to meet someone where they are, accept what they share without qualification, and at the end, choose to love them exactly as they are, without exception.

Katie Mathes

Katie is a junior at Rockhurst. She is a psychology and theology major with a literature minor, and she hopes to tack on a philosophy minor if there is time in her busy senior year. She is in three honor societies, was recently elected to treasurer of Active Minds, is an FIS Student Mentor, and is the president of Catholic Café. Outside of class, she enjoys reading Tolkien, spending time with her dog Molly, and listening to such bands as The Lumineers and the Oh Hellos.

We’ve finally come to the end of the semester. For some of us, this means looking forward to starting internships and peacefully sleeping for 10 hours or more, free from the stress of college life. For others, this promotes feelings of anxiety and unrest. I find myself somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. For me, the summer symbolizes a lack of schedule or routine, leading to countless hours of wasted time and a simple giving in to whatever I want to do in the moment. During the school year I’m growing as a person, and I don’t want to take a three-month break from this progress. This desire for challenge and growth fits neatly with the Jesuit core value of cura personalis. The true spirit of cura personalis cannot simply be taking care of the here and now, a mindset I fall into in May, June and July. Instead, it must always reach towards the future and towards the best version of the self. So, this summer, instead of spending hours on Hulu, maybe I’ll go for a walk. Instead of closing myself into my room for hours, maybe I’ll spend time with my little sister. And so, in the spirit of cura personalis, I challenge us each to keep moving forward.

2017-18: Finding God in all Things

Allie Kallman

Allie Kallman is a junior Nursing student from Omaha, NE. She is a Resident Assistant (RA) for Rock Row, and member of Gamma Phi Beta. Fun fact: her favorite food is string cheese.

This summer was my first spent away from home. It was my first time not sharing a room, not having my family around, and not having a jam-packed schedule. While that may sound glorious to most people, I was greatly challenged by this not-so-normal summer. Anyone who knows me knows that I thrive off social interaction. Any chance I get, I’m finding another person with whom to connect. I never really saw that as a bad thing until a Rockhurst friend made this simple, yet convicting statement, “It must be so nice to get all that alone time!”

This baffled me. I’m honestly terrified of alone time, especially when it means silence. It wasn’t until this summer that I had moments where I was actually alone. Through church sermons and the advice of friends, I was challenged to cherish this time alone, and I eventually grew to love and embrace the silence. It was in these instances of silence and solitude where I could really lean in and listen to what God had to say to me. I mastered the art of blocking out noise and my thoughts, and I fell in love with being alone in His presence. 

Dalton Goser

Dalton Goser is a sophomore from Jefferson City, Missouri.  A Business Management major with a minor in Sport Management, he is highly involved on campus, serving as a resident assistant, student senator, member of the student activity fee budgeting committee, and social mentor.

I suspect everyone has that one person in life who has had a huge impact on them. For me, that person is my grandma. My grandma is the sweetest lady you would ever meet and brings so much joy to my life. In high school, I had the privilege of living with her since she was diagnosed with dementia. As her memory faded over time, one aspect of my grandma’s life remained the same: her relationship with Christ. Through prayer, regular worship at mass, and caring for others, she taught me how to find happiness. These three aspects have helped me to "Find God in All Things." Whether it be running into a friend I haven't seen in a long time, or looking across the Quad and seeing the beautiful landscape, God is always showing Himself to me and to each of us. We simply have to search for Him with our whole being and recognize He shows himself in many different ways. Just as my grandma welcomed me with opened arms, God welcomes us with open arms. We need simply accept God’s invitation in order to truly "Find God in All Things."

Kylie Fenger

Kylie Fenger is a sophomore student majoring in English and Political Science. She is Co-President of College Democrats, a member of Gamma Phi Beta, Alpha Phi Delta and the Rockhurst Honors Program. She loves to read and hopes to one day start a Little Free Library program in her hometown of Bellevue, NE.

Last semester, finals week approached me as a dark tunnel. As a student who struggles with anxiety, I was convinced that there was no escape. I would leave my freshman year with a transcript full of letters not resembling an A. Despite being in the Honors Program and maintaining my attendance in all of my classes, this fear could not be rationalized away. It consumed me until I couldn’t remember anything that I was good at. I’m normally a bubbly, confident, smart girl who loves people. But the light inside me suddenly burned out, and I couldn’t find another bulb.

My professors deserved an answer for my sudden change in attendance and participation, so I explained my history with anxiety to them. This could have been a humiliating experience, but the first professor to respond told me they also have anxiety. With that, a faint light appeared in my tunnel. I saw that successful people can have anxiety (depression, etc.). I had another glimmer of light when a professor smiled at me with empathic eyes and offered me an extension on a paper. I left his classroom in a hurry so he wouldn’t see the grateful tears filling my eyes. Lastly, there was a professor who simply stopped to ask me if I was okay before talking to me about her concerns with my schoolwork. Sometimes the smallest gestures are the rest of light that someone needs to pull through.

I want you to know that if you are struggling, you are surrounded by lights waiting to help you. If you reach out here at Rockhurst, I guarantee you will find the grace of God in empathic eyes. He can be found in all things, even a tunnel.

Kori Hines

Kori Hines is a junior from Olathe, KS. She is an English major and is pursuing a minor in communication. She is a student ambassador, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, and on the Social Mentors Steering Committee. Fun fact: she has had two different blood types (yes, it’s possible!).

Time in college, itself, can be viewed as an unpredictable expedition. Many of us, myself included, enter freshman year with great and seemingly clear expectations of what this four (or five or ten) years will be like. But, what most of us discover, is that the true experience afforded to us during our time at Rockhurst surpasses these expectations. And, with that, comes an onslaught of opportunity for self-discovery and maturation.

Over the past couple of years, I have learned and grown immensely as a result of my time in college. Of what I have learned, the most important has been to take every moment as it comes, to take it in stride, and to take a deep breath when it seems as though the moment could prove to be “too” difficult. The truth is: the moment never is, and never will be, too difficult—it will come and then, soon, it will pass. As I plunge into the journey that is the next wave, I find myself contemplating the ripples these moments cause and the experience of them. From those moments, I have found within myself grit, freedom, vigor, and the ability to rely on God—for support within demanding circumstances and for humbleness when life seems to have bounded beyond the tranquil waves.

Jacob Williams

Jacob Williams is a sophomore here at Rockhurst.  He is studying English, is a Resident Assistant (RA) at Xavier Loyola hall and is a member of Alpha Delta Gamma. Fun Fact: his favorite animal is the Grizzly Bear.

Almost my entire high school career, I considered myself an introvert, somewhat shy.  Even today, I still will say that I am without really thinking about it. Looking back on my life here at Rockhurst so far, though, the people all around me and my interactions with them are how I really define my happiness, or where I have “fallen in love”(i.e. found God) in my everyday life. A lot of my friends my freshman year would comment on how many people I said “hello” to on a normal walk through campus. There were people that I may not always had time to fully talk with and check in on, but just seeing them smile and greeting them made them a part of my life and brightened up my day. Now some of my happiest moments have been spending all night talking with a friend or a new face that then becomes a friend. Entering each day, especially ones I may not look forward to, with those memories and the opportunity for future ones to be made, always shows me God’s true beauty in every person I see.

Megan Farrington

Megan Farrington is a junior student studying Nursing. She is an active member of Zeta Tau Alpha, Student Alumni Association, and an Ambassador. She finds the most joy in her job as a nursing assistant.

Often times when young adults venture off to college, they tend to forget about a huge part of themselves without even realizing it. Going to college is new, exciting, overwhelming, and absolutely terrifying. We get so caught up in the littler things in life, like our first college exam, making friends, and trying to act cooler than we actually are. However, on this campus we are reminded every single day of the one who made all of this possible in the first place. We are here to fall in love, to find God. It is a love that is more important than any other love, as He will never break your heart. God calls us here to be men and women for others. It’s instilled in us in service, standing in the labyrinth, or simply hearing the piano being played as you walk by the chapel. It is the conversations we have in the caf, and the unexpected friends that we make. God has found us, and it is important for us to work to find him in the same way. Rockhurst makes me grow in my faith every single day, and I know many others would say the same.

Kevin Nguyen

Kevin Nguyen is a junior who is majoring in Biochemistry and Physics with a concentration in the Physics of Medicine pre-professional track, and minoring in Non-Profit Leadership Studies.  Kevin is from Arvada, Colorado.

Coming into Rockhurst, I had no idea where I wanted to go with my life. When I met people for the first time, and they asked me what my major was, I didn’t have a good answer. In high school, my teachers would tell my parents I was full of potential, capable of achieving anything that I set my mind to. But with so many doors open to me, I was frozen, unable to decide. So I went through the motions, and didn’t give anything my all.

During my time at Rockhurst, I felt God slowly change my heart. Each day as I walked past the bell tower, I was reminded of how we are called to serve for and with others. Through KC immersion, I experienced the dividing line of Troost. In VOICES for Justice, I discovered catholic social teaching and how to put my faith into action. On a service-immersion trip to Philadelphia, I found God in the marginalized. By reflecting on these experiences, I realized my passion for social justice and found my calling in the peace I felt through serving. As I begin to consider what I will do after graduation, I know that my experience at Rockhurst has engrained the words of Pedro Arrupe onto my heart.

2016-17: Contemplation in Action

Ali Slater

Ali Slater, '19, is a nursing major from Des Moines, Iowa. When she is not studying she enjoys her involvement in Joyful Noise, a LIFT bible study, the Student Government Association at Research College of Nursing, among so many more fulfilling activities at Rockhurst.  

I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic this year during spring break. While there, my eyes were completely opened to a whole new culture and way of living. I learned that the people in the Dominican emphasis being instead of doing.  In college, I feel like I am always doing something, whether it is studying, sitting in class, or just chatting with friends. By turning these actions from doing into being, I have learned to appreciate each moment and each person that I encounter.

Another thing I learned while immersing myself into the Dominican culture is that they live on “Dominican” time. We were told early on in the trip not to worry if something did not start at the stated time. At first, I was puzzled by th.  However, they further explained that since people prioritize their time by being instead of doing, being on time is not as important. This opened up a whole new way of thinking for me. Instead of constantly worrying about my schedule, I learned that it is much more fulfilling to put all of my energy into one task at a time.

My time in the Dominican was short, but I learned so much by fully immersing myself into their culture. They taught me how to be, and that was enough to change how I live each moment in each day.

Niran Balu

Niran Balu, '20,  is from Omaha, Nebraska. She is a pre-med student, majoring in physics of medicine and Spanish. Niran loves being involved with Gamma Phi Beta, Phi Delta Epsilon and Voices for Social Justice.

I walked into the year’s first VOICES for Justice meeting with my roommate not knowing anybody and not knowing what to expect. As soon as I walked into the room, everybody welcomed me with a warm hug even though they didn’t know me. In that moment, I knew that I had found people that I could count on for anything. I have always been passionate about addressing social injustices and, I thought, what better place to be than here!

My favorite event by far was social justice week. Our goal was to raise money for the students of Ocer, and it was very successful! I was part of the committee to plan for the Fair Trade Fashion Show, and I learned so many valuable lessons. Seeing so many people come together for a cause was heartwarming and hopeful. Getting together with everyone helped me bond with people who are as equally passionate as me. VOICES for Justice has taught me to love people everywhere effected by injustices. VOICES has also made me question myself as to whether or not I’m making a difference and has me more aware of everything that is going on around me.  The group has provided me with opportunities to take action through service, and our monthly reflection nights have taught me that not only is it important to be aware but to take action as well. I know that this organization is and will continue to do great things to transform the environment and society.

Grant Otte

Grant Otte, '17, is from Des Moines, Iowa, studying economics.  He is a member of the baseball team and enjoys eating, reading and working out.

Marina McCoy, professor of philosophy at Boston College, says, “In matters of social justice, we also have to see and to listen rather than imposing our ideas of what we think someone else might need. In service, the community being served often knows best what it needs. We have to learn how to see and to listen, cultivating relationships of equality and solidarity.”  I have come to realize this in the past year through an independent study and service in Central America.

My independent study in economic development taught me that simply donating goods is not always the best way to help people in need.  Instead, working alongside them is a better alternative.  This method ensures that people are treated with dignity by preventing a provider-receiver relationship from developing. 

In Nicaragua, I worked with members of communities without access to running water.  Every day, we partnered with a Nicaraguan to dig a trench in order to eventually lay pipes.  While the language barrier made it difficult to communicate verbally, we were still able to establish a relationship through our actions.  In the movie Interstellar, Anne Hathaway says that love is the one thing that can transcend time and space.  I think language can be added as another thing that love can overcome. 

Garrett Loehr

Garrett Loehr, '17, is from Lee's Summit, Missouri. .  He played varsity soccer at Rockhurst University, and is member of Beta Theta Pi, Pi Delta Phi (French Honor’s Society), Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honor’s Society), Chi Alpha Sigma (Student-Athlete Honor’s Society).  In addition to leading Retreat on the Rock, he also leads a Greek Life Bible study through Intervarsity.

Leading Retreat on the Rock a few weeks ago was an eye-opening and life-changing experience for me personally. Looking back on the weekend and the months of preparation leading up to it, I have never seen Jesus so present with a group of people. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” That was certainly the case for me on ROTR. The depth of conversation and the amount of love shared was unbelievable. With St. Teresa of Calcutta as a model, I have tried for months now to living my life by her simple rule: “Do small things with great love.” This retreat has shown me that I am capable of being the Lord’s instrument and, by loving people wholly and truly, I can bring Him into this campus and into people’s lives. When I experienced God’s love on the retreat, I made this passage my new inspiration to seek comfort and refuge in our God, “Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23). 

Taylor Rehmer

Taylor Rehmer, '19, is from Ballwin, Missouri, studying marketing and psychology. She is an avid lover of ice cream, dogs, and Netflix. Currently, she is involved with Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Sigma Pi, and Campus Ministry.

"We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

This bible quote is so simple, yet so powerful. In preparing this reflection, I have boiled down contemplation in action to one thing: love. Love is at the center of contemplation, and it motivates action.  In fact, Ignatius stressed that it is learning to love that leads one to action. With this, I realize contemplation is nothing without action, and vice versa.

I have learned that I must bask in the love of God and use that to act against the world’s injustices. It is through this love that a more just and inclusive community is nurtured. God’s love for me calls me out of the darkness overcoming society and into the light. In a world that is increasingly divisive, I feel we are called tear down walls and open our hearts and our arms to our neighbors in need. Locally, our love can be put into action through addressing the injustices around Kansas City. Rockhurst is “in the city for good” and, in turn, has the opportunity to work for justice and to remove the barriers that separate us from our neighbors. As a community, I think we do a great job of that. From Voices for Justice, to Leftovers with Love, to every philanthropic organization on campus, the student body is aimed at fostering an equal and just community.  All of this is done with love, for love, and because of the love of our good and gracious God.

Jansen Rouillard

Jansen Rouillard, '20,  is from Wichita Falls, Texas, pursuing a degree in psychology and nonprofit leadership. Jansen enjoys his involvement with the men’s tennis team, Student Senate, Student Activities Board, the Sentinel, and the Fair Trade Initiative.

Over winter break, I had the opportunity to travel to New York City with some other students and work with the Saint Bernard Project, where we helped to rebuild the homes of victims of Hurricane Sandy. In the weeks leading up to our trip, I was just so ready to get there and spend the week serving; little did I know that the impact of the trip would take a different form for me. During one of our pre-trip meetings, we read an article about something called the ministry of presence.  The concept was completely foreign to me at the time but is something that would come to define the trip for me.

We arrived in New York City and, after a little sight-seeing and a brief introduction/orientation, we became construction workers for the week. However, I soon found that mudding and sanding included a lot of wait time. At first, this frustrated me, because I wanted to “make the most” of my trip, where I was busily working every moment we were there. Basically, I thought I was wasting my time. But sometime the afternoon of my first day I remembered the value of the ministry of presence, and the entire outlook of the trip changed for me. I realized that the worker-bee attitude that I brought into the trip was actually detrimental to my experience because it placed the work over the relationships and actual value of the work. I learned to use the downtime we had with our jobs to invest in the lives of our supervisors and to reflect on my own experience there.

Ministry of presence is something that takes into account both contemplation and action; it’s something that requires you to be ready to take action and reflect on this experiences by being present in the moment. I learned so many lessons through this experience, but I feel like the most important lesson I took away was the value of simply being present.

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster, '17, is from Kansas City, Missouri, and is studying Non-Profit Leadership and English. Some of her sources of joy include reading and writing poetry, listening to podcasts, baking and road tripping. 

As the tumultuous election season of 2016 drew to an official close following Inauguration Day, I’ve spent quite a bit of my time in contemplation. As Fr. Walter Burghardt, S.J., so lovingly puts it, contemplation involves taking a “long, loving look at the real.” Think about that phrase—taking a long look at the real, truly encountering the real…And so I’ve spent the past week contemplating reality, both my own and those of individuals very different from myself. In words with perhaps a bit less poetic appeal than Fr. Burghardt, I consider it “acknowledging my privilege.” My privilege comes into play when I look at something as if it is not a problem just because it is not a problem for me personally. It is something I’ve wrestled with in my heart throughout my college years. My collective experience at Rockhurst has challenged my sense of reality and exposed me to new ones in more ways than I can count. It is nearly impossible for me to take in the realities of the world around me through the same, singular lens I did before stepping foot on this campus. Due to the opportunities granted to me through my service experiences, my many selfless professors, and my diverse group of peers, each day I am able to get out of bed and see the world at large through a variety of different lenses, not just my particular brand of privilege.

Reality has been called into question most recently for me through following my passions in non-profit and literacy. Now working with Lead to Read KC, an organization that pairs professional adults with urban core students once a week to read and share stories together, I see the realities of dozens of tiny faces that look much different from my own. I notice when they are tired or hungry or haven’t been bathed in a few days. I see how these factors affect their everyday ability to function and perform, causing them to miss benchmarks. I realize that I took those same things as givens all my life. Most importantly, I realize that it isn’t enough. My simple acknowledgment of a set of discrepancies does not change their reality. The second part of my contemplation requires action. To whom much is given, much is expected. My seat at the table holds a lot of weight today, and so I am working to take action in using it as an agent of change for the marginalized rather than focusing on my own self-interest. In this way, compassion breeds compassion as our realities are melded together and I am able to see many different versions of “the real” with more loving clarity

Asha Molina

Asha Molina, '18, is studying elementary education. She is presently the service chair of VOICES for Justice and part of the Fair Trade Initiative. 

I'm always too busy.  With school, work, my family, and my friends, I just always have places to be and stuff to get done. Some days I’m overwhelmed about the amount of schoolwork that is piling up. And other days, I worry that I haven’t been nurturing relationships with my friends. And most days I worry that my dog needs me to spend more time with him, and he is my top priority.  All these little life stresses can be disorientating and I tend to lose focus.  That is when I have to turn to my favorite Saint for some words of wisdom,

“Our contemplation is our life. It is not a matter of doing but being.” – Saint Mother Teresa

In these stressful times, I have to be mindful and present. Yes, I have a lot of schoolwork, but the reality is I’m so blessed to have professors who care to teach me. I am so lucky to have loving, strong friendships. And I’m very grateful to have my sweet little dog.  I will always be busy but I do not always have to feel overwhelmed from stressors. Rather, I can choose to just simple BE in the moment and experience that moment as God has intend for my life.  Being mindful of our lives and knowing that there is a greater scheme to this world gives me great solace.

Natalie Kurtenbach

Natalie Kurtenbach, '18, is a junior from Lincoln, Nebraska, who is studying exercise science and Spanish.  She is involved with cross country, Gamma Phi Beta, Ambassadors, SAAC and Campus Ministry.

As November is upon us, I find myself surrounded by the excitement that comes with the Rockhurst service-immersion trip announcements.  I am hearing about all of my peers who have been selected to go on one of these trips (including my five roommates), and I am filled with joy for them as well as gratitude for the experience that I had on my service-immersion trip to Nicaragua last spring. This year, the core value that our community is focusing on is Contemplation in Action, and I couldn’t pick a more fitting term to sum up my time in Nicaragua. This core value focuses on three main things: learning how to be, learning how to see, and learning how to love. 

Learning How to Be
Contemplation consists of being aware of your existence as well as the existence of the people around you. It was difficult to do this at first due to the hectic schedule of our trip, but it became so much easier once I witnessed the example set by the local people with whom we worked. Despite their everyday stresses, they knew that they have a Father who loves them for who they are and were content. Because of their example I was able to open my heart to God and allow Him to reveal Himself throughout the week.

Learning How to See
I learned just how important it is to be attentive to the world around you. There was so much grace and love packed into the week, and I had to quickly learn to be aware of it. This carries over to present day; each and every moment of every day there is an opportunity for God to show me His love and His grace, and if I’m not attentive to it, it might pass me by.

Learning How to Love
Our thoughts and contemplations can become actions when we learn how to love. Love is often mistaken for something that’s complicated and difficult; on the contrary, it is beautifully simple. We were loved first by God, and in return we can radiate that love to others through our actions. The Nicaraguans understood this perfectly and lived this out in every fiber of their being.

Contemplation in action is something that might be hard to grasp, but once you understand it, your perspective on the world is changed. Your view on those around you is changed. We contemplate, so we act. We are loved, so we must love in return. 

Jordan Byers

Jordan Byers, '19, is studying nonprofit leadership studies and psychology. She is also the treasurer of Unity. Jordan is a Kansas City native, makeup addict and documentary enthusiast.

Just Last May, I had the opportunity to go on the Lumberjack Retreat in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I prayed for God to impact my life, but I wasn't aware of how big that impact would be or the friends I would make. The eight students who went on this trip were complete strangers to me.  Yet, by day two, we did all of our service work together. We chopped wood, visited with the elderly, and shared the Examen. I learned to be my pure self and understand my gifts and faults. I learned to see how Little Brothers, the organization we served, actually needed our talents. Could the nine of us simply cook meals every night for the elderly? Sure. What the elderly need in this community, though, is firewood. By listening, I learned to see their needs. I also learned to love the fellow members on the retreat. Graduate students, international students, Political Science majors and sorority members would never have crossed my path until this trip. However, I learned to love them all. Through the Lumberjack Retreat, Rockhurst truly taught me this year’s core value by learning to be, to see, and to love. Let this bring an awareness of the importance of self-reflection and solidarity on campus.

Meaghan O’Toole

Meaghan O’Toole, '18, is a from Ballwin, Missouri studying nonprofit leadership and Spanish.  Meaghan is a CLC poobah (i.e. coordinator), a student ambassador and a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority

Just a little more than halfway through my journey at Rockhurst I have already learned so much from this incredible school.  Rockhurst has provided me with opportunities that allow me to learn with an open mind, lead with an open spirit, and serve with an open heart.  Over spring break last semester, Rockhurst sent me to San Lucas, Guatemala on a service-immersion trip where learning, leadership, and service came together all in one.  This experience has stuck with me and inspired me to love more fully in my daily life. It was an experience that emphasized the core value Contemplation in Action.  

The week was filled with learning experiences from practicing our Spanish to engaging in activities to help us better understand the traditions and cultures of native Guatemalans.  On the trip, I was given the role as the prayer and reflection leader.  This was a great opportunity to lead by facilitating reflections and listening to what others in our group were feeling about our time spent there. 

The service we experienced was a mixture of both learning and leadership.  After contemplating our purpose for service and learning what we could from the native Guatemalans, I believe the most significant experience was the love we encountered.  Our group reflected each evening over how accepting and understanding the people of Guatemala had been and how much love they radiated.  This was our call to action:  to love them in return and also bring that love back to the United States and share it with our friends, neighbors, and community as a whole.

Tahnee Cooper

Tahnee Cooper, ’19, is a mathematics and psychology major from Belton, Missouri. She is a member of the Honors Program, vice president of RAKERS and a Supplemental Instructor. Tahnee spends entirely too much time watching HGTV planning her dream home.

Upon arriving at Rockhurst freshman year, I thought I was prepared for all of college’s endeavors, but I was quickly greeted with all of its realities. I sat through orientation listening to the core values and tried applying them to my life, but I came up short on contemplation in action. I thought, “How can you be contempt and reflect, yet remain in action with various activities thrown into school work?” As I maneuver through my second year at RU, I can look back and see how certain events shaped me. One of the most vital lessons I learned is that my hardest and most frustrating classes were the ones that made me appreciate my life and love more fully. Even in the hustle and bustle of life’s everyday tasks, I am now able to stop and not only reflect but appreciate where I am in life and all that it encompasses. “Be still and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10) has been my go-to stress remedy. Sometimes what seems like the most rigorous obstacles turn into the best blessings, and that is something worthy of joy.

Leah Dionisi

Leah Dionisi, '18,  is a pre-med student majoring in biology and psychology.  A native of Wichita, Kansas, She is currently involved in Orientation as a Coordinator, Student Senate and Phi Delta Epsilon. She enjoys putting off studying by looking at pictures of her cat Tuxedo, cooking and going to Loose Park. 

As we prepare to enter into the month of October (wait—how is it already October?), we have all likely been drawn into the relentless cycle of balancing schoolwork with meetings, jobs, a social life, and sleep. Ah, busy college life is upon us. Whenever school becomes chaotic and life gets tough, I try to think back to a week I experienced last spring—a week full of serenity and joy, but also challenges, from which came growth. That week was spent with a unique group of 10 students and 2 faculty members on a service-immersion trip to the Dominican Republic.

We were all blown away by the generosity of our host families, for they so freely loved us without hesitation. While our days were not rid of uncertainty surrounding our purpose on this trip, our days were undoubtedly full of reflection together on how we could see the good in our experience and in those around us. I have never been more impressed by or proud of my peers than I was during this week. I have never felt a greater fulfillment in building authentic relationships with the locals, even despite the language barrier. It has never been easier to see God in the people around me. Why were we able to love everyone around us so easily and witness God in our host families and in each other so profoundly? What was the difference between the previous week at school and this one week in the Dominican? Simply put, contemplation. Our hearts and minds were open to the possibility of a transformative experience, thus allowing ourselves to truly engage in the good around us. During this week, we learned how to see, and as a result, how to more generously love.

To me, after much reflection and prayer, this experience was a call to action. To whom much has been given, much is expected. We experienced something incredible, and we now have the responsibility to apply it to our everyday lives. There are no clear-cut instructions, and this is no simple task in our demanding and stressful world. We can, however, tenaciously strive to seek out the best in those around us, no matter the situation. This means recognizing a friend’s desire to achieve masked behind their stressing over an exam. This means trying to understand the cause of the insecurities behind someone’s rash comment. This means noticing the great effort behind someone’s action, even though you may have done it differently. This means recognizing the honest intentions behind the friend whose views you starkly disagree with. This means tolerating the complaints of those around you, realizing that those same people often bring you so much joy. This means contemplating everyday encounters through lenses of attentiveness, empathy, and generosity—all to initiate the act of creating a more genuine, loving environment

Jacob “Jay” Torres

Jacob “Jay” Torres, '18,  is a St. Louis native.  He is a nonprofit major with a concentration in fundraising and is in his second year as a Resident Assistant (RA).

To be born again. If my first two years here at RU were described by this year’s core value, Contemplation in Action, contemplation would be nonexistent. I would like to think that I am a man of action. If I believe in something, I will act on it. Creating and leading one of the top 5 fundraising teams for Relay for Life freshman year, being on the executive board for VOICES for Justice, serving an RA for the second year, and spending my summer in Nicaragua working for a nonprofit are just some of the activities I have taken on.

I now believe that contemplation is just as important if not more important than the action. Like I said above, I did a lot of action but it was without contemplation, and all of it left me drained and empty. I lost the purpose and the passion behind my actions and began to push myself away from extra activities. I saw that I was on a physical and spiritual plateau.

Contemplation in Action answers the very important question of, “Why am I doing this?” Through it, I have reconnected myself with what makes me come alive. By taking some time throughout my day I am reminded over and over of what makes me special, what gifts God has put in me and what He wants to do through me. This daily knowledge and confidence in who I am has brought me closer to God and brings me back to life.

Connor Moynihan

Connor Moynihan, '17, is a senior studying secondary education and history from Omaha, Nebraska.  A fun fact he would like to share: “I secretly enjoy a good romantic comedy every once in a while. They make me laugh and feel good, and I am ok with that!”

I had one of the most impactful and amazing experiences in my life this past summer. I got the opportunity to join two other Rockhurst students for ten weeks in Uganda! I was living and working at Ocer Campion Jesuit College, a Jesuit high school in northern Uganda. While there I had the opportunity to teach English, History and coach the basketball team. It is not easy to describe this experience to others; anything that comes out of my mouth will inevitably fail to do the time I spent there or the people with whom I cultivated relationships justice.

Now that I am back here in the United States, though, I have had quite a bit of time to think about my time in Uganda and how it truly impacted my life. In doing this, I have also realized how much my time and work spent in Uganda really relates to the core value for this year here at the Rock!  Reflection on my journey has helped me to clarify just what contemplation in action requires of us as Jesuit students.

Learning how to be:
This summer was my first time ever to be this far away from home and the United States. I was in a new place, a new culture and a new lifestyle. At first I wanted to try and keep my life as it had been back home and try to make Ocer like Omaha, Nebraska. It was not until after some prayer and reflection that I realized that God wanted me to adapt to the new culture and be present to the people and life there, to allow him show me what he had in store for me this summer.

Learning how to see:
During my experience in Africa, God truly was able to open my eyes and invite me to see how people live outside of the U.S. He was inviting me to see how he was working through the people of Uganda, and how it was important to try and keep my sight on what was truly important in life and who truly needed my attention this summer. (It was definitely not me who needed the attention).

Learning how to love:
God granted me the opportunity to live in solidarity with the people of Uganda this summer. To eat, sleep, work and play alongside them. Through the relationships I cultivated and the stories I heard and saw, I began to understand what true love was. The people that I was with this summer did not have much in many circumstances and things taken for granted in the U.S. were unheard of there. Still, the people had more love and appreciation in their hearts than I could ever imagine and I felt God showing me that this was what true love looked like.

My transition back is still an ongoing struggle. It is hard in the day to day to not think about my work in Uganda or question a decision here or there. I know that God is not telling me to drastically change all of my ways and live in a completely different lifestyle, but through the core value of contemplation in action he is inviting me to reflect and think about what it truly means to be a child and follower of Christ.

Aimee Dione

Aimee Dione, '18, is a French and psychology major from Saint Louis. She enjoys drinking coffee on her balcony, talking to people for hours on end and watching superhero movies. Aimee also spent all of the month of July in Lyon, France, taking classes this past summer.

When was the last time someone flirted with you? One of the most impactful lessons I have learned in my time at Rockhurst is that God is a flirty guy. Throughout the course of my junior year, my older sister and I read through the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge and had weekly chats about it. One section of the book discusses how God knows the deepest desires of our hearts and how He uses them to enchant us in little ways. For example, instead of a bouquet of flowers, He offers me the morning light breaking through the trees. Instead of chocolates, He romances me with a good conversation with a friend. Reading the book taught me that He likes to “flirt” with His people as a way to draw us closer to Him and reveal His plan. The coolest thing I found about this idea is that He doesn’t communicate with each of us in the same way because we have all been uniquely created. For me, He has done this through my personal interests and passions. The rush I get when I enter into a conversation about culture, inclusion, and the way the earth longs for brotherly love is the same as what I feel in the middle of the sermon on Sunday. When I feel that burst of excitement, I can’t help but think that God is leading me somewhere. With Contemplation in Action as this year’s theme, I feel compelled to keep my eyes open for God’s little flirtations. When will he flirt with YOU next?

Morgan Coil

Morgan Coil, ’18, hails from Omaha, Nebraska, and is majoring in Nonprofit Leadership and Spanish. Fun fact: She refuses to get the VenMo app and still write people checks if she owes them money, even if it’s for $5.

This summer I had the unique opportunity to move to Nicaragua for three months to serve alongside a nonprofit, Amigos for Christ. It was an experience to which I often struggle to put words because of the incredible impact it had on my heart.

Now, as I take the time to adjust back to life at Rockhurst and think about the core value for this school year, I realize how significant this specific core value has been in my transition. Contemplation in Action was described to me as learning how to be, learning how to see, and learning how to love.

These 3 simple, yet meaningful explanations have so eloquently represented some of the most important lessons I learned in Nicaragua. Lessons that I want to incorporate into my daily life here at Rockhurst.

Learning how to be.

This summer taught me to be still. To take moments of rest, and to open myself up and surrender to what God had planned for me. Instead of following my own intentions, trying to create my own plans, jam packing my schedule.

Learning how to see.

This summer opened my eyes. As I began to slow down my lifestyle and be still, I began to see God’s hand in every aspect of life. It was amazing to me when I pushed aside the distractions, materialism, and hustle & bustle of my normal daily life, how vividly I was able to see God and His miracles. I saw miracles happening every day in bucket lines, digging holes and sharing sweet bread.

Learning how to love.

Our job this summer was to make Christ more visible, but the funny thing was, Christ was made more visible to me in the process. I was amazed at how fearlessly people loved me this summer. Nicaraguans taught me to love without hesitation, just in the way that Jesus loves us without hesitation.

Nicaragua reminded me of a lot of things: how to be, how to see, and how to love. Now I know God is just as much visible here in Kansas City as he is in Nicaragua, but it definitely took a summer a part from distractions to realize this. I am grateful for Nicaragua for putting a pause on my life and the core value Contemplation in Action for changing my perspective on what’s important.

Here’s to a semester of continuing to be, to see, and to love. And, I think I just made myself accountable to the entire student body…

Sara Gregg

Sara Gregg, ’19, is from Nixa, Missouri, and an elementary education major. She divides her time between Gamma Phi Beta, Student Senate and College Republicans. 

Contemplation must be intertwined with our actions. Ensuring that our motives are selfless and that we are learning allows us to better serve with compassion.

Prior to attending Rockhurst, I was only slightly immersed in the Ignatian way of reflection. Journaling and reflecting has never been my strong suit; however, throughout my time here I have grown to fully embrace and better understand their purpose. By placing a greater emphasis on contemplation in my life I have been able to love more freely by opening up and improving my tolerance for differing opinions. Journaling makes us accountable to our written words, providing a history to review and change. We are able better utilize the idea of stop, reflect, go back to work in our daily lives.

Truly living by contemplation in action means that our active life fuels our contemplative life and our contemplative life fuels our active life.

2015-16: Wisdom

Alli Shambro

Alli Shambro, '16, is studying nursing and philosophy and a St. Louis native. She is a coordinator for Ladies in Faith Together (LIFT), is a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, and is a visit coordinator with the Ambassador Program. She can typically be found jogging to the tune of a podcast.

October brought a near perfect day to venture on a run. The sky was a cloudless, bright blue, and the leaves, vibrant hues of every warm color my eyes could perceive, allowed scattered rays of sunlight to pierce through the comfort of their canopy. Suddenly a unique experience of gratitude was spurred by this quote from G.K. Chesterton, “Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

For the first time in my recollected experience, I was explicitly grateful for the gift of color. God could have created our world devoid of color. God could have designed human beings in a way that did not allow for perceptions of contrasting shades, but simply shape outlines to differentiate. Instead God chose to bestow this unwarranted gift upon us because He desires the delight of His children. This beauty is the presence of God in the world.

The graces God has poured out from this seemingly simple encounter with creation have led to a greater attentiveness to gifts I have been given from the very beginning, noting that their consistency does not negate the profundity of their blessing. After this experience, wisdom has taken the form of practicing awareness the presence of God always, in recognizing all I have is a gift freely given to me by a loving God. Wisdom is the humbling recognition that God has given me all that I am and all that I desire to be. And not only has He gifted it to me but He is present with me in the experience.

Alondra Ayala

Alondra Ayala, '18, is from St. Louis, Missouri. She is studying nursing and is involved in Greek Life (Gamma Phi Beta), Voices for Justice, Unity and SOL. Alondra also has a deep-rooted passion for all things Harry Potter and also takes her sports very seriously.

When I first came to Rockhurst University I was absolutely terrified. Like a lot of students I had never been away from home for such a long period of time and questioned if I had made the right decision in coming to Kansas City. Now that I’m in my second year I’ve realized that while it hasn’t been easy, I have grown a lot as a person and am exactly where I am supposed to be. While there is still a long ways to go, being here at Rockhurst has provided me with a vast amount of opportunities to continue to grow and I’ve also met some amazing people along the way.

While there have been many experiences that have contributed to my growth and formation recently I was given the amazing opportunity to attend the Ignatian Family Teach-In, and it was one of the most incredible experiences. This trip gave me the opportunity to learn more about many social justice issues and how there is so much we as individuals can do. Being able to attend this Teach-In really made me even more aware of the various issues we need to address, but beyond that it has made me appreciate even more the privileges and opportunities that I have. After having this experience I know that there are even more amazing things to come, and I hope to be able to take the things that I’ve learned and do some amazing things.

Lis Schumacher

Lis Schumacher, '18, is from Omaha, Nebraska. She is studying Political Science and Psychology and is involved in SEEK Council (the student planning committee of Campus Ministry’s new interfaith offering), VOICES for Justice as the Fundraising and Joy Chair, Campus Ministry, and the Fair Trade Initiative.

Rockhurst has provided me several opportunities to grow in wisdom, whether it be through the classroom, conferences, or service. Through these opportunities, I have begun to understand the value of wisdom, but, until of late, I still felt I was missing an important component. However, I recently discovered the importance of community.

This month, Voices for Justice has been delving into the history of Troost Avenue and breaking the stereotypes that come with that name. Sure, we have been warned not to walk on Troost at night and have played the guessing game "gunshots or fireworks.” Other than this, I did not know much else about the street where I live and learn. The first Thursday of November, Voices took the city bus to the mural on 31st and Troost to learn more about it from an expert of Troost from the Holy Family Worker House. Little did I know that Walt Disney’s first studio was right off of 31st and Troost and that is where he created the character of Mickey Mouse, or that Troost used to be lined with millionaires' estates, or that Troost was originally a Native American hunting path. There is more to Troost than you would think. The community is full of wonderful and loving people that I was lucky enough to meet some of them by volunteering at Holy Family Catholic Worker House. These are just some of the facts that slip through the cracks when we only see Troost as the “Berlin Wall of Kansas City.”

Dorothy Day once said, “Love casts out fear, but we have to get over the fear in order to get close enough to love them.” Sometimes, we let fear turn us away from loving our neighbors.  But how can we fully gain the value of wisdom without experiencing the community in which we are living? While I am here at Rockhurst to expand my wisdom in the classroom, I must not forget that an additional way to gain wisdom is by getting out of my comfort zone and simply taking a stroll down the street to open my  mind to the various aspects right around me that I have never before considered.

Jeremy Adkins

Jeremy Adkins, ’16, an appreciative student and military veteran

As I observe my final Veteran’s Day as a member of the student body, I’ve found myself reflecting on the road that I travelled as a Rockhurst Hawk.  It wasn’t that long ago that I felt like isolated and misplaced.  It wasn’t that long ago that I considered dropping out.  It wasn’t that long ago that I was wondering what I was doing here.  Looking back now, I wish I had gone to Rockhurst sooner than I did.

From the instant I stepped onto campus, I felt like I was at home.  Nathan Elliot in the admissions department introduced himself to me with not only all of the information that I needed to become a Hawk, but also a smile and a true sense of belonging.  Starting my first semester, I was greeted by Dr. Glenn Young’s enthusiasm and genuine gratitude that I was sitting in his class at 8am on a Monday morning.  The Learning Center offered me employment as a tutor.  In the gym, before classes, Father Curran asked me how I was doing every morning, by name!  It was a complete culture shock.  Can you name another university where that happens?

As I continued to pursue my education, my experiences only became fuller and more enriched.  The two departments that I selected to major in welcomed me with open arms, and guided me through the confusions, speed bumps, and difficult tasks.  Bill Kriege provided me with wonderful community service opportunities, including a service immersion trip.  Gary Burns was kind enough to let me try out for the baseball team, a lifelong dream of mine. 

Along the way I met some pretty great students, too.  Students who didn’t judge me for being older.  Students who didn’t place the label of “broken war veteran” around my neck.  Students who, despite my age difference, welcomed me into this community.

When I was 19 years old, I lived in the Iraqi desert and carried an M-4 rifle.  My point being that transitioning to a collegiate environment following the military is not easy.  It requires an entire change in outlook and attitude.  Following my tenure in the military, I knew to go to college.  But I didn’t have a starting point, and I felt lost; like I was missing something.  There’s a popular song called “Pompeii,” by the band Bastille.  In it, a question is asked: “Where do we begin?  The rubble, or our sins?” It’s a question that I asked myself every day, and Rockhurst inadvertently made the decision for me.  By encouraging community service, implementing the core Jesuit values and having an incredible education curriculum and campus, I was able to begin to rebuild and mend during my time here.  Rockhurst not only showed me what I was missing, but helped me find fulfillment that I didn’t even know I needed.

Taking all of this into account, it’s easy to recognize that Rockhurst University is not just an institution for education.  It is a family, too.

Damian Lara

Damian Lara,'18, is from St. Louis,Missouri, and is a nursing and Spanish double major.  He is actively involved in Residence Life as an RA and in UNITY.  Important fact: Damian is a big fan of cheese fries . . . really, who isn’t?!?

As a student of Rockhurst, I’ve really been able to reflect deeply about my own life and the lives that others live. One of my favorite classes that I’ve had the pleasure of taking was Central American Women’s Literature with Dr. Rocio de la Rosa Duncan. This class was both challenging and incredibly insightful as we read short stories from different female authors in Central America. The stories that we read hit hot button topics such as politics, education, abortion, and the female body in a way that was beautiful and heartbreaking. Many of the characters, although fictional, illustrated an existential truth about the hardships that people, especially women, endure in these countries like sexual assault, poverty, and government warfare. Reading and reflecting on the reality of these countries’ ongoing adversities made me realize how grateful I am to live in a country that offers underappreciated opportunities like education, basic human rights, and other valuable prospects to many. Central American Women’s Literature has opened my eyes and mind and because of this I decided to pursue a major in Spanish to learn more about the cultures and history of other Spanish speaking countries. From here, I would like to graduate from Research College of Nursing along with a Spanish degree from Rockhurst so that I may serve in countries in Central America and do my best to be a person for others and achieve solidarity.

Sydney Martin

Sydney Martin, '17, is from Omaha, Nebraska. She is studying English and strategic communication with a minor in French, and is involved in Residence Life, as well as Greek life and various clubs.

Standpoint theory is a communication theory that emphasizes the marginalized, stating that those who stand at the margins have a truer grasp of reality; they are allowed a more objective view of how the world works. This is a singular theory that I learned in my communication courses. And yet, this one theory has taught me much about what wisdom is and what it means to us as transformers of the world.

In our education here and throughout our lives, we have studied individual subjects—classes sectioned off into separate topics that don’t initially seem to overlap. I believe one of the first steps towards wisdom is learning how to integrate the different subjects we study and work towards finding the connections between the different aspects of our learning.

But in order to actually find wisdom, there is a step that comes after making connections. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a conference in which I saw Father Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit who founded Homeboy Industries. He works with gang members who are turning their lives around, providing them with jobs and housing, and allowing healing for those who have been broken down their whole lives.

One statement of Father Boyle’s particularly struck me. He said: “We stand at the margins because then we look down and realize that the margins are disappearing… because that is where we chose to stand.”

The first thing that popped into my mind when he talked about the marginalized was standpoint theory. I immediately thought of those who stand at the margins, those who view the world differently than us who are blessed beyond measure. And then I saw how this awe-inspiring man had taken this theory out of the classroom and applied it to the world in order to make an impact. 

Wisdom is taking a theory that one learns about in a communication course and applying it to the quest of understanding what life means. It is moving words off of paper and out into the world, where our knowledge meets action. At this intersection, we can find wisdom.

And with this wisdom comes the power to change the world.

As Father Boyle said: “We stand at the margins and people say we are wasting our time. But we cease to care whether people say we’re wasting our time, because we stand at the margins, and look down and realize the margins are disappearing… because that is where we chose to stand.”

Hannah Tarwater

Hannah Tarwater, '18,  is majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders and is from Lee’s Summit, MO.  She is involved with Student Ambassadors, VOICES for Justice and CLC.  In her free time she enjoys thrifting, attempting Pinterest crafts, and spending time with friends, family and her dog Rudy.

When I first heard about the chosen Jesuit core value this summer, I have to admit that I was a little unsure of what it could mean in my life.  I even had a few questions about it, too.  “Wisdom”… like the knowledge you find in a book? In a lecture? In a super smart classmate?  However, once I dug a little deeper into this value, I grew to love it more and understand its true meaning.  I like to think of wisdom as a call to action towards God, our neighbors, and to ourselves.  Wisdom is every-day learning, even by the smallest of those “light bulb moments,” when we find ourselves realizing that we were made for a greater purpose. 

Wisdom is a chance to reflect on our relationships with God and others and figure out the ways that we can deepen them.  It might be a small “ah-ha” moment to you or even one that will change your understanding about an issue.  For me, instances where I find the most wisdom are hearing many wise words from my Grandfather, realizing the beauty of simple things from the toddlers with whom I volunteer, and reflecting in God’s plan for my present and future.  Seeking wisdom is an ever-changing process and a journey.  In our lifetime, we won’t be able to arrive at the point where we have obtained all of the answers in the world.  However, the process of learning and gaining new ideas are gifts that God has given each of us.  We are to take those gifts, go out, and share it with others in a positive light.

Matt Baker

Matt Baker, '18, is active in Student Senate, RU Players, and is a candidate for Alpha Delta Gamma.

I am one of the few Electrical Engineering majors here at Rockhurst, which means I spend a good amount of time over at UMKC taking class for my major. Many times I have been asked why I didn't attend UMKC. After all, it would have been much simpler: I wouldn't have to spend time walking back and forth between campuses all day, and I would be around more people focused on the same major as me. I could have simply gone there and been able to focus solely on engineering.

But I did not come to college to be an electrical engineer. Sure, it's where I plan on making my career, but college is a lot more than just another stepping stone to getting a good job. I came to Rockhurst to learn about more than just my major. I wanted to learn about all sorts of things from all sorts of people. I wanted to study philosophy, science, art, theology, economics, math, and all the other subject matter taught on campus. I want to be more than a good engineer; I want to be a good person.

This is where I see the home wisdom has built at Rockhurst. I strive to be wise enough to be helpful in whatever situation may arise. Not to be confined in one, hard mindset, but instead influenced by everything I experience. This diversity of learning at Rockhurst is what can foster true wisdom, and the wise know that answers can be found everywhere and in all different things.

Aleeyah Thompson

Aleeyah Thompson, '17, is from Saint Louis. She is majoring in psychology and is pre-occupational therapy. Her involvements on campus include serving as Vice President of Social Affairs for Black Student Union, Resident Assistant in Xavier-Loyola Hall and is the cheerleading captain. In her free time she enjoys dancing and assistant coaching a local middle school cheer team.

One of the most rewarding experiences I have had here at Rockhurst was being a part of the mentoring program with Black Student Union (BSU) last semester. In that program, we met with high school freshmen every Friday to discuss topics such as social justice, the history of race, and college prep. Although I was there to mentor the freshmen, I feel like a learned just as much from them. Sitting down with these teens and hearing how insightful their perspectives were on current events lead me to one major conclusion.  I now believe that too often we are bogged down by the idea that wisdom can only come from people “above us” which is not the case. Wisdom can come from anyone of any race, age and background.  Since wisdom is gained through experience and no one’s experience in life is the same, we all have something we can learn from one another. I learned that it is important to always keep an open heart and mind, because wisdom is all around us even in the places we least expect to find it.

Liz LeRoy

Liz LeRoy, '16, is a psychology major (theology minor) from Jefferson City, Missouri. She is a member of Theta Phi Alpha, the Student Giving Committee, Campus Ministry’s new nnterfaith group (yet to be named), Relay for Life and CLC. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her roommates and avoiding responsibility.

Fr. Dean Brackley said “Wisdom, not mere information, is the goal of education…”, and having just started my senior year here at Rockhurst, I can honestly say that I have found that sentiment to be true time after time. Coming to Rockhurst my freshman year, I was not sure what to expect, but “wisdom” definitely wasn’t on the forefront of my mind. I figured I would learn a bunch of facts regarding many different disciplines and, after my four years, that I would feel incredibly smart and be ready to conquer the “real world.” Sure, I can spout off facts about Freud’s Psychological Theory, and I know all about the Reformation thanks to Dr. Prentiss’ Christianity II class, and now I can have an intelligent conversation about many different disciplines thanks to the Liberal Arts education at Rockhurst; yet, I also feel much wiser. This wisdom that I have acquired didn’t all come from the classroom; it also came from my other experiences at Rockhurst.

I found this wisdom through my involvement on campus. I have been involved in many different things over the past three years, and I have gained great insights from every one of them. There is one leadership role that stands out in my mind as I’m writing this reflection, and that is my role as Pasta and Prayer Coordinator. Even though Pasta and Prayer is no longer an active program at Rockhurst, my most formative moments from the past three years are from being part of that team. I learned concrete skills, like how much pasta to cook for twenty people, but I also learned a lot about myself and how to be part of a team. I learned that I am a leader, how to connect with different people, and that God can make amazing things happen. The experience I had being part of the Pasta and Prayer team taught me that God always has a plan. I was nervous to join a team full of people I didn’t know my freshman year, but God knew what he was doing because those people are still some of the most important in my life. As a soon-to-be-graduating senior, this lesson in wisdom is of utmost importance. God always has a plan and it took three years, but I have finally accepted that. It takes a lot of courage and wisdom to put one’s life in another’s hands (even if those hands are God’s - it’s still scary), but Rockhurst has taught me that as long as God has a say in it, everything will be just fine.

Kevin Pugh

Kevin Pugh,'17, is from Saint Louis and a biology major. He hopes to attend Medical School at UMKC and is involved with Pi Kappa Alpha, freshman orientation and the student ambassador program.

When I was in high school, my level of involvement didn’t even begin to reflect my involvement at Rockhurst.  I was reserved and hesitant to put myself into new situations, especially those that would place me in the foreground of any activity.  That is no longer the case – obviously, since I really enjoy my involvement with the campus Ambassador program and Orientation.  I am not sure when the change happened, but I know with certainty that I am a better, more well-rounded individual because of it. I have come to recognize that by putting myself in new and sometimes scary situations that I will grow as a person and hone skills that I can then use to help out others. 

I think Wisdom comes from experience and consistent reflection on these experiences. Because of my experiences at Rockhurst, both my triumphs and my failures, I have a better grasp of who I am and what I can do to be a man for and with others.  Through our studies, we gain knowledge, but knowledge in and of itself does not equate to Wisdom.  We must apply this knowledge, and it is through this application that we grow in Wisdom

Ella Hart

Ella Hart, '17,  is an English and secondary education major. In addition to her studies, Ella divides her time between RU Residence Life, the Greek community, and tending her twelve houseplants. 

This past summer I had the fortune to attend the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC) at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. Through the experience I expected to learn new strategies of leadership and programs I could bring back to Rockhurst, but I was surprised when I started to question whether I even belonged next to some of the more established schools and organizations. They seemed to cover so much ground, help so many people, and support so many students all with minimal effort. They embody Wisdom to me, a standard I often have trouble believing I can live up to myself.

But I must remind myself: Wisdom building is a messy business. Before Wisdom can build herself a home, she has to dig out the basement. She, and we, must dig through the mud and worms, sand and clay, and all the muck and mire of personal contemplation and awkward mistakes, before she can place even a single supporting pillar. It’s easy for us to imagine Wisdom as an immaculate woman, resplendent in white, reclining on a marble throne. But I’d like to think of her more as a day-laborer relaxing and eating her lunch on a park bench before climbing back up the scaffolding. Wisdom’s work is never done and her home is never finished. The blueprints are constantly evolving as the result of new knowledge. Each of our experiences contributes to the image of ourselves and our world, but it’s up to me as an individual to determine the time I spend in Wisdom’s home, the effort I put in to inviting other’s to her table. It’s up to us whether we get caught up in the muck of basement digging, or we pick up a hammer along Wisdom herself and shape the sort of world we’d like to live in.

Lauren Herrmann

Lauren Herrmann, '16, is a nursing major from St. Louis. She is the vice president of the student ambassador program and also holds an executive board position on the PanHellenic Council. Lauren intends on returning to Uganda to work as an ICU nurse once she graduates.

I didn’t believe them when they said, “College will come and go with the blink of an eye”. Yet, here I am beginning my senior year, wondering where the time went. As I reflect back on my years here at Rockhurst, I think about how far I’ve come since starting as an anxious freshman and the lessons that I’ve learned along the way. Yes, I am older now, but am I truly wiser?

I used to think wisdom was about cramming as much information as possible into my brain and then being able to regurgitate it out on a moment’s notice, whether on a test or paper or through a project. To me, wisdom was the GPA on my transcript and the score on my ACT; the higher the better, right? This misconstrued idea of wisdom stuck with me until I took time out of my daily life and traveled with several other nursing students to Uganda, Africa, this past summer. When we arrived at the hospital and adjacent midwifery school in Gulu, Uganda, it was automatically assumed we were incredibly smart, incredibly wealthy, and incredibly skilled, simply because we were Americans coming from a more advanced collegiate system. However, after spending a few weeks working side-by-side with the Ugandan nursing students, I came to realize they were wise beyond their years and without a doubt, much wiser than us. It had nothing to do with the amount of hours they spent in class, or how often they opened their textbook. They didn’t care about their GPA and they didn’t even know what the ACT was. No, their wisdom came from something much deeper than these means of knowledge. Their wisdom was a product of their life experiences.

There is a verse in Proverbs that says, “Wisdom has built herself a home.” Little did I know, that throughout my whole life, every experience I have had—whether big or small, happy or sad, exciting or fear-invoking—was simply wisdom adding another brick to my house. With each passing day, my home expands, changes, and occasionally even crumbles or cracks. When I arrived at Rockhurst, my house was probably more like a small apartment, but when I walk across the stage at graduation, I know that wisdom will have truly built herself a home in me. So, close the textbook and go experience life for what it really is, and let wisdom keep on building, brick-by-brick.

Audrey Fiudo

Audrey Fiudo, '16, hails from St. Louis, Missouri, and is a former resident Assistant. A current senior, she also in her first year as a master of occupational therapy student at Rockhurst.

Last summer, I had the incredible experience of studying abroad in London. The experience itself was invaluable. I savored every moment, and learned so much about myself, and about the world in general. I would have loved to have extended my stay indefinitely. But my time ended, and I had to return to the U.S. I was less than pleased to begin the fall semester, telling myself that there is no way I will learn anything close to what I learned while studying abroad, and nowhere near as interesting. It took me a while, but I did eventually realize that by thinking this way, I was not only perpetuating a false belief in my mind, I was also severely limiting myself. I realized that every experience is a valuable one, if we are active participants, and apply ourselves to each new situation. That is how wisdom is gained. It does not matter if you are exactly where you want to be in life, or exactly where you do not want to be in life—there is value in every moment. Wisdom is about gaining knowledge through experience and allowing those experiences to shape your character and judgment. Wisdom is achieved through active participation in life, not sitting on the sidelines

2014-15: Cura Personalis - Care for the Whole Person

Rebecca Keeven

Becca Keeven, '15, is from O'Fallon, MO. She is involved in Alpha Sigma Alpha, LIFT, Student Ambassadors,and Frosh Get-A-Way. This August, Becca will start a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest in Spokane, WA.  

"This is good, God is good." Father Mike Schmitz says this in one of his podcasts. His lesson is to not worry and trust God. When a situation seems inconvenient or just plain bad, trust that God has a plan and everything will turn out okay.

Worrying is something I try to limit as much as possible. Stress isn't good for health and it is a horrible feeling. Specifically when I have a lot of schoolwork I tell myself, "The work will get done, worrying will not get it done any faster. I must take each task one at a time." Of course this doesn't mean that procrastination is okay or that God will somehow finish my paper and send those emails. However, God does ask each of us to care for ourselves, our whole selves. One way to do this is to simply not worry and just be happy. Instead of worrying, we can be present to all that is around us. While worrying is often associated with caring, the only way we can truly care for others and ourselves is to be present and trust that "this is good, God is good."

This is Good. God is Good. Podcast by Father Mike Schmitz

Jorge Holguin

Jorge Holguin, '15,  is the youngest out of three children. He was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and is the first one in his family to attend college. Some of his hobbies are reading, outdoor sports/activities, and most importantly spending time with family. 

Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed helping people. Both my sister and I started our college career as education majors. As I was getting ready to transfer from Donnelly College to Rockhurst University, for one reason or another, the Nonprofit program became more appealing.

All of the courses in the program have allowed me to continue to give back to my community both in the Northeast and Westside communities. There are many social issues that those communities are faced with, but one of my areas of interest has always been youth development. Since there is a high rate of high school dropouts due to gangs and negative influence in our youth, I strive to create a new stereotype for where success can come from and where all it can take you.

I, too, was faced with those same challenges during my elementary and middle school years while attending the Kansas City, Missouri Public School District. Because the English language was new to me, instead of getting the support to become successful in school, I was discriminated against. Apart of the discrimination, one had to seek shelter from "gang life". You either join one or learned to escape the system.

The main reason that I continued in the Nonprofit program was to learn more about community resources and ways to create partnerships among the organizations to reach out to a greater number of youth. Being able to apply Cura Personalis, "Care for the Whole Person", will never be easy and sometimes, it might seem impossible. Nonetheless, if we continue to work together, we can make a difference. My goal is to impact one youth at a time, and thereby, creating a positive cycle.

Lastly, I feel that it is easier to achieve this goal if we are able to emerge and experience the different struggles that our communities are faced with. Rockhurst University programs do just that. They allow every student to experience the different social issues first hand through service learning projects and/or other opportunities.

Mike Weber

Mike Weber, '17,  is an accounting major from St. Louis, MO. He is a member of SAB, Delta Sigma Pi and Student Senate. 

In my short two years here at Rockhurst, I have learned how to best care for myself, but along with that, Rockhurst has given me the opportunity to care for all those around me. Although I didn't start getting involved on campus until the beginning of my sophomore year, I have had some of the best experiences I could have imagined. I wasn't quite sure about what I wanted to get involved in, but through my exploration of all the things Rockhurst has to offer, I found Student Senate, where I not only get to voice my opinion on what we can do to make the school better, but I also get to help make other people's voices heard. Senate has helped me see the different needs of the University and to help me care for those needs.  Because of my leadership opportunities through various organizations in Rockhurst, I have been able to grow as an individual through my relationships with the Rockhurst community.

Morgan Coil

Morgan Coil, '18, is from Omaha.  She is involved in VOICES For Justice, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Nonprofit Student Leadership Association, Sigma Delta Pi and CLC.  Next year Morgan looks forward to serving as a leader for Orientation and Frosh Get-A-Way Orientation and to serving as an Ambassador.

As the semester comes to a close I find it easier and easier to take my days for granted. I just want to get through these weeks as quickly as possible so I can have my carefree summer. It wasn't until I began to read the writing prompts for this Cura Personalis reflection that my attitude shifted. "God desires all persons to discover how to live more fully, more freely, and more authentically as the people God has made us to be." God has been signaling me to take a step back to be present to his presence.

Why would I not take the opportunity to be present to these precious last few weeks of my freshman year? My own selfish motives of wanting to be done with schoolwork are preventing me from truly living the moment. Often times this past week I have found myself putting energy into the negative thoughts, but through this reflection and little God moments I am reminded to live more fully, authentically, and freely.  By taking the time to be present to the moments I encounter I am taking the time to be present to myself, others, and most importantly God.

Psalm 105:4, Psalm 118:24

Laura Hopp

Laura Hopp, '16, is from Omaha, Nebraska, and is studying psychology with minors in art and French.  She transferred from UMKC in August. She likes to hang out in the chapel and explore Kansas City by bike. 

One of the ways in which I find the most joy, as well as one of the things I feel most called to do merely because I am alive, is to show up. Showing up is the most natural thing for me to do because it merely constitutes awareness: I am here. I am writing this reflection in my present and you are reading it in yours: you are here.

Showing up means that I place myself in the realm of the present, which is always just exactly where I am. I have the daily and rewarding challenge of grounding myself more fully in each present-tense state of being. Rather than hear, I must strive to listen; to be immersed in the sound of another's voice and recognize what I can learn from them. I must let the past go and the future be: a total test of my bravery.

I am here now, aware of the absolute comfort of the present and all that it holds out for me in its forgiving hands, saying: I am all that is; recognize your connection to the entirety because it too is here now.

This moment is my safe haven. My awareness of this idea is how I express my gratitude of being alive.

Claire Burkemper

Claire Burkemper, '16, is from St. Louis majoring in Non-Profit and Psychology and minoring in Leadership Studies. She is currently studying abroad in Bologna, Italy, but can't wait to get back to the Hawk's Nest next fall! Claire is involved in VOICES for Justice, Ambassadors, Student Alumni Leadership Council, Psi Chi, The Non-Profit Leadership Association and CLC. 

Self-care is something that I have struggled with throughout my life. I constantly find myself wanting to stretch myself too thin for the benefit of other people, instead of taking care of myself. At times, I find the idea of "me" time selfish. Why do I need to do something for me? There are people who are dying, who am I to complain about my next midterm? These thoughts were running through my head when I decided to do the selfish act of studying abroad in Italy. I was struggling with the fact that I would be spending copious amounts of money on myself for 4 months, especially when such money could provide for a child's entire education.

I would be lying if I told you that I am not still working through this struggle; but, after the 2 months that I have had here in Bologna, some sunshine has been shed on my contemplation. Doing something for yourself, or watering your roots to allow yourself to grow and thrive as I like to visualize it, is one of the most important steps to serving others. By enriching myself with these experiences, I believe that I have become a stronger woman living in the Jesuit mission. The more you feel confident in your own shoes, the more you can help "water" those around you to bloom into the person God created them to be. I think we should all strive to live by the words of Tom Haverford, and "TREAT YO SELF" so that we may tap into the God-given greatness that we all possess and use that greatness to make a difference in the world.

Julia Mangan

Julia Mangan, '18, is from Chicago, Illinois, majoring in marketing. She is involved with CLC, Alpha Sigma Alpha, VOICES for Justice, cross country and Rockhurst Respect Life. Interesting fact: Julia has never eaten or ordered a burger from a fast food place.

When I found out at Welcome Mass during Orientation that this year's value would be Cura Personalis, I was really struck by it. I felt like I understood it a little, but wanted to know more about it. So, I made a goal right away to really focus my first year at Rockhurst around it. I wanted to challenge myself socially, intellectually, physically, and spiritually. Therefore, I made sure to get super involved in organizations that would foster this goal.

But, before I was able to see myself grow, I had to learn how to balance first. As a new student, it was really easy to get over-involved and to find myself with no time to rest and reflect on my day. Through prayer, I learned that it is okay to accept my limitations, and I can still reach my goals without overexerting myself.

It was hard at first to settle down and think about what I should be doing. I love all the clubs and teams and organizations I am a part of on campus. They have all challenged me to grow and have given me so many opportunities to have fun and enjoy my time here, as well. I am still learning to find the balance I need, but am grateful for the encouragement the ideal of Cura Personalis has lent to me so far.

Ben Franco

Ben Franco, '18, is majoring in medical physics.  Originally from Manila, Philippines, he has lived in Kansas City for about 7 years. Ben is involved in VOICES for Justice and is thinking about starting a club on cultural narratives and perspectives. He loves playing the guitar, writing poetry and stories, and cooking!

Perhaps the purest essence of human existence is our relationships with what surround us; our essence is the sum of our interactions with those that are intangible and tangible, the quantifiable and unquantifiable, in the world. To be human is to experience that which is around you, and affect it or be affected by it. As human beings, it is vital that we strive for positivity and helping and improving others.

This aforementioned strive contains Cura Personalis: the care for the entire person. This "care" does not only encompass things such as eating and sleeping properly, but also includes enjoying little simplicities: the smile that a beautiful woman or handsome man gave you, or the brief handshake that you greet friends with, or the even the first moment of awareness that you feel whenever you wake up. Cherish the little things.

While it is important to maintain and care for oneself, it is equally important to show the same mindset towards others. How we interact with others is the core of our existence; we are social creatures, only able to flourish with connections as deep as our souls allow. It is crucial to always help others, as it not only helps the person, but also oneself through self-reflection and discovery, and the fulfillment of essence.

However, it is necessary that we experience negativity, sadness, grief, heartache, and woe, for it is inevitable in our lives. Negativity can manifest from as little as being late to your 8 AM class, to breaking up with who you thought was your other half, to as significant as losing a loved one. But, experiencing negativity lies the beauty of being. These experiences allow us to discover and gain insight on the deepest corners of ourselves and our existence. It gives us the most important evolutionary ability that transcends time: to adapt.

Smile a little; cry a little; laugh a little. Breathe in the fresh air and marvel at its simplicity. But most of all, see the beauty in everything. See the beauty both in the day, as the Sun rises to brighten and warm the world, and in the cold darkness of the night as the Moon stares at us. See the beauty, and I promise you; the world will look a little more lively.

Molly McCune

Molly McCune, '15, is from St. Louis and her majors are communication sciences and disorders and psychology.  She is a member of ASA and participated in a service trip to the Dominican Replublic last spring. 

It is safe to say that technology is here to stay. It is not going away, and it is not regressing. Technological advances have a positive impact on many aspects of our lives, one of the most prominent in our day-to-day lives being social. From high school to college and now soon to the next chapter of my life, technology allows me to stay in touch with people who are a thousand miles away as if they were right next to me. It is a beautiful, simple, and quick way to stay connected with people who are not currently nearby. However, when this becomes a hindrance is when we forget to be present in the current moment in our lives. To combat this, when I am with people, as much as I can, I put my phone away so I can be present with my current company. This simple act helps shape my idea of Cura Personalis by living with intention, more fully, and truly being present at where I am in the present moment, because I know that it is exactly where God wants me to be.

Thomas Spaedy

Thomas Spaedy, '18, is thinking of majoring in accounting and economics. He lives with his family on ten acres in Spring Hill, Kansas, with a horse, a dog, and exactly nineteen chickens. Thomas counts a mission trip to Peru last summer as one of his most enjoyable life experiences to date.

Just a few weeks ago, I was privileged to be part of the March for Life in Washington D.C. for the first time as part of Students for Life here on campus. I see the March for Life as an excellent avenue to express the value of Cura Personalis for it proclaims the inherit human dignity of all persons. Not only did the students from Rockhurst show their support for the unborn, but we were united with 750,000 others, many of whom were college students, for the same reason.

I think one important aspect of Cura Personalis that became clear to me on this trip was the importance of getting in those basic human needs: eating, sleeping, and showering. Truth be told, after twenty hours on a bus, it was readily apparent that showering is pretty essential. It reminded me not to take these blessings of daily life for granted.

When we are discontent with our life, I think it is vital that we step back and look at just how much very much we have been given by God, especially in the small things.

Cole Miller

Cole Miller, '18, is from Omaha, Nebraska.  He is currently majoring in business and recently signed with Pi Kappa Alpha.

As St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, "For as with the human body which is a unity although it has many parts -- all the parts of the body, though many, still making up one single body -- so it is with Christ. We were baptised into one body in a single Spirit, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as free men, and we were all given the same Spirit to drink."  Just as we are called to improve the aspects of our lives, we are also obligated to concern ourselves with the well-being of our brothers and sisters.

This is of course, much more difficult to carry out in practice.  We are often too caught up in our own daily struggles and suffering to even comprehend that a friend or acquaintance may be fighting their own harsh battle.  Our own issues always seem to take precedent over the problems of anyone else.  We become so consumed with our own anxieties that we simply look past the others who are struggling to stay afloat in their own tumultuous waters.

This world is tough on everyone.  We have all been weak from time to time.  We all fail at some point.  When this happens, we find ourselves overwhelmed, even drowning in our fear and anxiety. It is at this point where we need the care of others.  No one person can be strong indefinitely.  This week, take some time to reflect on friends and family and the trials they may find themselves going through.  Allow yourself to attend to the needs of the ones you love as well as your own.  As you will be strong for them, they will in turn, be strong for you.

Brianna Kelly

Brianna Kelly, '17, a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan, having lived in St. Louis her whole life. She is a sophomore psychology/pre-occupational therapy major and has loved her first year as an RA in McGee Hall.  Brianna has also enjoyed being a biology I SI and participating in clubs like VOICES for Justice and choir. She really loves to sing, play the piano and go hiking as much as possible.

At the end of every day, I reflect on my actions towards others that day. Some of the things I think about are what I did wrong, what I did right, and if I had really thought about God's plan for me that day. Did I do things that pleased God or did I do things that made me look better in the light of society or those things that didn't inconvenience me?

One lesson that has really stuck out to me this year, because of the Cura Personalis value, has been that while I need to take care of myself in every aspect of my life, I also need to make sure I am doing so for others. When I carry out an action, am I thinking of how it will help others or am I thinking about how I will be affected?  By taking care of a person's whole self and authentically caring for exactly who the person is meant to be, we are in turn taking care of ourselves completely.

The Cura Personalis reminders around campus are beautiful cues to care of ourselves fully, but also to care authentically for our friends, family, classmates, faculty, staff, etc. in our daily lives.

John Randall

John Randall, '16, is from St. Louis, Missouri.  His majors are economics and accounting.  In addition to academics, John also thoroughly enjoys playing basketball, golf, adventures and especially food.  A few organizations with which he is involved include the Student Ambassadors, Pi Kappa Alpha, Student Senate and "best of all" the Frosh-Get-Away Retreat.  One interesting fact about John is that he can rap just about any Eminem song out there.  (Feel free to see if he is up for the challenge!)

Prompt: What aspects of being human are delightful to you? What aspects can be burdensome?

Humanity: the quality of being human. The ability to feel.

Imagine for a moment you have everything you ever could dream of? Your wants become nonexistent, and life is ideal in every sense. Sounds appealing perhaps, not having any imperfections; yet, with this comes a cost.  Where are the dreams to chase, the adventures to explore, the goals to achieve? We envision lives where no cares exist, no worries are had, and each day is more wonderful than the previous. We seek to make our worlds ideal, without such flaws.  We detest change, and fall into routine. This truth, heartbreaking in itself, is the burden of a generation.  

These dreams, adventures, and goals make us human. Embracing our imperfections allows us to embark on the most important endeavor: self-discovery.  A perfect world means there would be no challenge, no heartache, no tears, and no pain.

But this is the paradox of humanity: we are both titans and dwarves at the same time. To be strong, yet vulnerable is to be human. The challenges we face today, the heartaches, the injuries, the pain, give us insight into our own humanity, into ourselves. To be human is to feel, whether that be happiness, elation, sadness, fury, trust, weakness, or strength. Taking risks, rolling the dice, enjoying a meal, admiring the little things: this is humanity.

I invite you to simply look around, wherever you are right now and take it all in. You are here, in the now.  Isn't it incredible? This life is a phenomenal thing - all of the pride, the pain, and the passion that comes with it. Life is beautiful, and never forget that.

Jane Delworth

Jane Delworth, '15, is majoring in political science and psychology. She is involved with VOICES for Justice, Alpha Sigma Alpha, and CLC. She likes very short walks on the beach and labradoodles.

For college students I believe that Cura Personalis is one of the more difficult core values to nurture. From the moment we arrive on campus we are thrown into a world of new friends, involvement, schooling and work. Balancing all of these and staying sane can prove to be pretty difficult. 

As I entered into my sophomore year of college, I found myself extremely overwhelmed by all of the commitments I had made. I quickly learned that I was spread way too thin and, in order to enjoy many of the smaller moments that I was missing out on, I needed to simplify my life. I thought about the things that I truly cared about and where it was important that I invest my time. I made the time that I spent during the day very intentional. I've learned that finding what you care about in college and letting that fill your days can be one of the most exhilarating things as long as we are able to find balance. 

Caring for the whole person can always be a challenge. There is never enough time in the day to really focus on all of the things we would like. Finding the things that we love and that make us grow and thrive will help us realize how we want to spend our time. In the words of Fr. Pedro Arrupe "what you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything." 

Emily DeVore

Emily DeVore, '15, transferred to Rockhurst in fall 2013 from Hutchinson Community College.  She is from Lyons, Kansas, and will graduate in May with a degree in biology.  Her involvement on campus includes being an officer for Rockhurst Transformation Alliance, Service-Immersion trips and service opportunities.

As I consider, for my life, what it means to implement Cura Personalis, I found it is deeply about balance.  How does one balance the joys and sorrows of life?  The delights and burdens?

I wrote a list (well, two lists), one of life's delights and one of burdens.  It started a bit shallow - I love snow but hate cold - that sort of thing.  But then I found that often the burden was the means to the delight.  I hate to study but love learning; nonetheless, without the studying I would never get to the learning.  What's more, I found that sometimes the delight and the burden were the same.  I find both delight and burden in the act of seeking peace; there is delight in the feeling of peace but there is burden in finding it daily.  Perhaps if there were no burdens, I would never find my delight. 

There is a great need for balance of delights and burdens.  I believe that through Cura Personalis one works to achieve balance.  When I care for my mind and soul I keep life in balance.  To balance my burdens and delights is caring for myself.

Simon Clark

Simon Clark, '15, is a native of St. Louis and and pursuing a degree in mechanical rngineering.  He is a member of Alpha Delta Gamma who enjoys running, cooking and computer-programming.  Simon has four siblings: one brother and three sisters.

One of the most common questions I get from people when asked about the Rockhurst/UMKC joint engineering program is:"Why didn't you just go to UMKC?" 

It's certainly a reasonable question. I could have saved a lot of time and effort if I decided to take all my classes at UMKC. In addition, I wouldn't have had to take any Theology or philosophy classes. Sure, I could have taken my education elsewhere. I could devoted my college experience solely to difficult math problems and designing complex machines, but given the choice again and knowing what I know now, I wouldn't trade my Jesuit education for anything.

By the time an engineer graduates from the joint-program only 71 of the required 140 hours are completed from Rockhurst. That's barely over 50%. In addition, the required 140 hours is approximately 25 more than what is required to graduate from a state school. That means that a measly 25 credits separate me from KU or Mizzou engineer. But it's the extra 25 hours that make me incredibly thankful that I chose Rockhurst. Philosophy and theology made me think. They were the classes that allowed me to grow in ways which for so many years I remained stagnant. It was because of these classes that I was able to develop a part of my mind that was not used often. This problem-solving, number-crunching, engineering-oriented brain of mine branched out and tackled other important questions like, "Why am I here?", "What does God want from me?" and "How do I become the best I can be?".

Rachel Franklin

Rachel Franklin, '16, is an economics major from Overland Park, Kansas.  She participates in Rockhurst Unity and assists with organizing the Yom HaShoah memorial service.  Rachel practices Reform Judaism.

In spring 2012, I was cured of severe chronic illness that had stopped my life and caused me to miss two years of education.  My high school told me it would take three years to graduate, and without needed accommodations.  The counselor recommended I drop out, take the GED, and enter college.

I toured campuses late in April, with no GPA and no accomplishments.  Some area colleges treated me like a nobody.  They were the same as medical professionals that had rejected me when I didn't have a diagnosis.  I worried that if I became sick again, these schools wouldn't care enough to help me.

At Rockhurst, my admissions counselor, having herself dealt with similar health issues, fought for my case.  She explained that because of Cura Personalis, the university saw me as a person, not a statistic.  I knew Rockhurst was where I needed to be.

Now, though I've been healthy for years, I still appreciate the emphasis here on looking at individual challenges in service.  To develop Cura Personalis myself, I study healthcare economics so I can help fix the American healthcare system.  I'll always be grateful for the chance Rockhurst took on an unconventional student.

Maggie Bernard

Maggie Bernard, '17, will graduate in May with a degree in secondary education and Spanish. She is a member of the Education Honors Society, CLC and choir. She especially wants to thank the other volunteers and Fr. Rafael-without their efforts the experience would not have been the same. 

This semester, I had the opportunity to spend every Sunday in September and October teaching catechism to a community of migrant farmworkers in Lafayette County with an awesome group of volunteers from Rockhurst and St. Francis Xavier. Just as we served the community, I whole-heartedly believe that they served and taught us too. As I look back on this time, I am beset by images of caring.

I see volunteers playing basketball with the kids, sometimes letting them win, sometimes egging them into improving. There's a joyful Mass in a cafeteria, and many people grateful for its existence. A student responds to the question "why do we do this?" with the most beautiful answer, "because it makes us happy." A man sweeps up the floor without being asked, simply seeking to help. Lunch is donated by SFX parishioners, and families bring bushels of apples to share with the volunteers. I, and other teachers, struggle to adapt to the knowledge of our students. A sick baby falls asleep in my arms during class. Teachers joke with children during lunch, teasing them, developing a connection. A child and I light a candle as a prayer of thanks at the Sacrament Mass. A picture of pure joy is captured as a child is baptized.

These images roll through my head as I look back at this service opportunity. Difficulties existed. My students knew less about their faith than I assumed. Class discussion was hard to develop. Sometimes the kids refused to settle down. However, as I think back, the joy far outweighs. In seeking to serve the mind, body, and spirit of this community, we allowed them to serve us in return.

Grant Otte

Grant Otte, '17, is from Des Moines, Iowa, majoring in chemistry.  He is a member of the Rockhurst baseball team and VOICES for Justice. 

When I first came to Rockhurst last fall as a freshman, I had many questions and uncertainties. Living on your own for the first time is a huge responsibility.  Fortunately, I was blessed with many great friends that helped me make the transition.  At Rockhurst, my friends have ignited in me a new flame of faith.  Whether it's in mass, the cafeteria or the classroom I am inspired to live a faith-filled life as Christ lived.  Being around these great people makes me want to be the best person that I can be. 

Oftentimes in our society being alone is viewed as a sign of loneliness. However, I have found that spending some quiet time with God every day is a great way to allow the Spirit to be present in all that I do.  By trying to be everything God created me to be, it is now easier to try and help others do the same.  When a friend is having a tough day or needs help, I try to help them stay positive and reiterate that it is all a part of God's great plan for us.

Shelby Kenkel

Shelby Kenkel, '17, is from Joplin, Missouri, who is majoring in elementary education and Spanish. She is involved in Gamma Phi Beta, her CLC and Campus Ministry and finds pleasure in reading books while relaxing under the sunshine.   

Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in the Disaster Relief Service Project. Thirty students and three staff members traveled to my hometown of Joplin, Missouri, to help with the rebuilding of a house which was damaged by the tornado that ripped through Joplin in 2011.

When preparing for this project, I expected to see a group of Rockhurst students and staff showing care for the family living in the home through our labor and our prayer. While this definitely did happen, I experienced so much more. Not only did the group demonstrate Cura Personalis in their care for the family, they showed it for each other as well. I experienced Cura Personalis through people who took time to teach me new skills that I wanted to learn, through sharing things about myself and listening to things about other people during prayer and reflection, and simply through meeting new people and forming bonds.   

Through this experience, I have realized that Cura Personalis can be present in any interaction that I have with someone. By simply being more aware of the ways that I can care for every aspect of a person, I can improve the ways that I engage in Cura Personalis.

Abby Bergman

Abby Bergman, '18, is a pre-med student from St. Louis, Mo. She is a CLC leader, a Rockstar, a member of Student Senate and she finds happiness in puppies.  

I am a perfectionist and a worrier, so naturally as a freshman pre-med student schoolwork has encompassed my semester thus far. I felt like I was caring for myself; I was studying and keeping up with school, yet I didn't realize that I was lacking Cura Personalis and the effects it could have on my life.

Recently I have found myself letting go more, laughing more, and really enjoying Rockhurst more. After reflecting on what changes I had made, I believe it has come from my emphasis on simply doing. I am not worrying about timing and planning; I am letting God's plan fall into place. Trusting and doing have allowed me to care for more aspects of me than just academics. Finding how Cura Personalis can shape my life, by letting go and trusting God, has given me a freedom to live and share my smile with others.

Andrew Ellwanger

Andrew Ellwanger, '16,  is from Magnolia, Texas, studying finance and accounting. He is a member of both the basketball and baseball team here at Rockhurst. He is also involved with SAAC, RAKERS and Campus Ministry.

Technology can be an amazing tool. However, I have found that many times all of our technological gadgets can hinder us from expressing care for others.  When I look around while eating lunch all I see are cell phones.  Instead of enjoying the fellowship of the people around them everyone is occupied by the technology in their hands. How are we supposed to be present to ourselves and, importantly, to the world around us if we do not look up? When I walk to class or back to the res hall everyone is buried in their social media. Please look up! Just a simple smile or "hello" can make someone's day. Show that you care more about the world around you than the social media and the technology at your fingertips. Most of us have grown up in a generation of technology and it will be hard to put it down. But just think of how much more fully and freely we could live if we lifted our heads! Think of how much more authentic we could be with our family, friends, teammates, and God! I challenge you to just LOOK UP!!!

Augusta Thacker

Augusta Thacker, '18,  is from Omaha, Neb., and her major is Nonprofit Leadership. She has been trampled by a horse but has never broken a bone. 

There was a time in my life when I lived and breathed and dreamed horseback riding. By the time I was in the fifth grade, I was acting as a volunteer counselor at a summer camp, and for the first time in my life I had to care for other people. I had to worry about the happiness and the safety of others. But, I found interacting with two campers in particular especially challenging. 

Cerebral Palsy had left both Alex and Sara wheelchair-bound. I had never been exposed to disabilities before, and I was petrified of doing or saying the wrong thing. I was struck by the fact that Sara and I were the same age. I looked at her and thought, "That could have been me." 

Life had dealt us very different hands, and I felt blessed to have gotten the life that I did. But while I became hyper-aware of the differences between myself and Sara, I also became aware of our sameness. We both equally deserved to have the life that we wanted. Nothing about me made me superior to her, despite my ability to walk.

The final day of camp the campers were split into teams and each team was given a horse to paint. The Painted Pony Contest (where everyone was a winner) was my favorite day. If you have never seen a parade of horses painted with rainbow stripes you are missing out. That day I realized that joy looks the same on everyone.

Andrea Heinemann

Andrea Heinemann, '17, is a nursing and Spanish student from St. Louis, Mo. She is a Frosh Get-A-Way leader and part of Mission and Ministry committee.  Andrea received third team all-conference last year for Rockhurst’s first women’s lacrosse season.  This summer, she was a Lifeteen missionary in Haiti for 3 months!

Mother Teresa, my role model, once said “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” This past summer I spent living in Haiti as a missionary. I was constantly giving of myself to Haitian kids, teens, prisoners and the poor. We carried rice up mountains to feed the locals and hosted many bible studies. I gave and gave and gave. I wanted to give these Haitians the best version of myself, but I realized I couldn’t until I had become the best version of myself. In order to give of myself, I had to give to myself first. For me, that meant quiet alone time to process my thoughts. It meant running on the beach to rejuvenate. I had to fill myself up before I could empty myself with the intense love I desired to give to the Haitians. By Cura Personalis and giving to myself, I was able to give back to others in the way I desired. I couldn’t give of myself if I had nothing left. Thanks to caring for myself with the quiet time and workout I desired, I allowed myself to be the best missionary in Haiti I could be.

Lauren Pennell

Lauren Pennell, '16, is from St. Louis, Mo.  She is majoring in mass communication and English and minoring in theology.  Lauren is very involved on campus; she is co-captain of the dance team, vice president of the English club, secretary for Theta Phi Alpha, steering committee member of social mentors,  general member of Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Sigma Nu, honors program, and her Christian Life Community (CLC). 

College is such a unique environment.  This is the place where we grow in every single way: gain a higher education, make and strengthen bonds of friendship, discover reality, become independent, appreciate and develop our faith, form our own opinions and ideas, learn about ourselves.

But college provides such a large variety of opportunities that it can become overwhelming.  It is easy to get so caught up in one thing that something else gets lost in the shuffle.  Whether it’s foregoing church because it was a late night the Saturday before or losing track of valuable friendships because homework has taken on a life of its own, there always seems to be something that gets neglected as we try to do everything at once.

It is at times like these that we lose our grip on the value of Cura Personalis.  Our personal values make up who we are and if we lose track of one or another, we fail to love and honor ourselves to the fullest extent.  We must all strive to find balance in our lives so that we can take care of the things that matter most while still taking care of ourselves.  If your friends, family, relationship with God and education are of utmost importance to you, my hope is that you’re able to give each the necessary attention, for cultivating those meaningful aspects of your life allows you to truly care for the whole person.

Janak Patel

Janak Patel, '15, is a pre-med, a biochemistry major who will be attending medical school at KCUMB in the upcoming year. Janak is currently a Resident Assistant in the THV’s. A random fact about him is that he has his motorcycle license.

The previous year was the first time I had taken on a leadership role as extensive as being a Resident Assistant.  I thought I knew what it meant to display Cura Personalis, but over the course of the year I was able to discover what “Caring for the whole person” really entails. As a part of my role as an RA, I was always making sure my residents were taking care of themselves physically, mentally and spiritually. This sometimes included making referrals to various departments on campus. In my mind, I knew they were being taking care of, yet who was taking care of me? I took a look back and realized that I had been in contact with multiple departments and individuals from Campus Ministry, Career Services, the Learning Center, and even Lionel who works in Corcoran. They all had one thing in common; they were there to make sure I was on the right path, succeeding and making sure I was taken care of. Cura Personalis is all around us and sometimes we forget where to find it, but at Rockhurst it is the fabric of who we are. I would like to finish off by adding a quote from the movie 2012. “The moment we stop fighting for each other, that’s the moment we lose our humanity.” Cura Personalis is just that, it is recognizing our shared humanity and, in turn, caring for each other and ourselves. 

Katarina Waller

Katarina Waller, '16, is from Independence, Mo., and is double-majoring in English and secondary education. She came to Rockhurst halfway through her freshman year when she transferred from the University of Missouri in Columbia and has a mildly entertaining transfer story that she’d love to tell you if you ever wanted to ask.  Since flying into the Nest, she has been a Retreat on the Rock leader, held two executive board positions in Theta Phi Alpha, become a writing tutor, as well as getting involved with other organizations.

Spring semester of last year, I discovered what my limitations were.  Throughout the year, I had been piling extracurriculars onto my schedule and, by the end of the year, found myself struggling to find passion for the things I had joined.  I found myself questioning what I was really passionate about instead of joining because it looked good.  

During the last half of the semester, I realized that I was trying to take care of everything and everyone except myself.  This wasn’t healthy for anyone.  So I started focusing on the people and the organizations that I was most passionate about and that would also help me grow and feel fulfilled as a person.  This is what Cura Personalis is about.

Here at Rockhurst, we are always challenged to live out our core values, including Magis where we are asked to give more.  But it is impossible to keep giving more if we do not take care of ourselves. Experiencing growth and living fully does not always mean taking on more, but can instead mean admitting that you have limitations--and that’s okay.  Sometimes taking care of yourself and others means stepping back and being gentle with yourself.

Helen Schultz

Helen Schultz, '15,  is from St. Louis, Mo., majoring in elementary education and theology and minoring in Spanish. She is involved as an Orientation Coordinator, pianist in the Contemporary Music Ensemble, ASA sister and CLC member. She enjoys reading in her hammock, and the highlight of her summer was receiving a marriage proposal from a six-year-old boy.

Life is all about balance. Take the seasons for example. Summer is a time of relaxation, sunshine, swimming, and warmth, whereas winter has different things to offer: sledding, hot chocolate by the fire, Christmas. Likewise, my time at Rockhurst is filled with balance, as I juggle schoolwork, co-curriculars, work, prayer and sleep. I shouldn’t blow off school to go out every night with friends, but I don’t want to spend all my time studying in the library either. I love to eat pizza, ice cream and, my personal favorite, macaroni and cheese, but I also need to eat a colorful plate of wholesome food to nourish me. When my life gets off balance and one area takes precedence over others, I feel stressed and anxious. To maintain stability, I search for balance everyday as I work, play, rest and pray. Finding harmony in all areas of life is how I see and practice Cura Personalis. By caring for my whole person, I discover how to live more fully and freely as God intended.

2013-14: Magis - More

Claire Burns

Claire Burns, '14, is a native of Omaha and an elementary education major.   Throughout her years at Rockhurst she has been involved in the leadership of Orientation, Retreat on the Rock, Karaoke for a Cause and much more!  Claire is a proud two-time intramural soccer champion and is very fond of Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard.  She will be staying in KC next year, rocking her first year of teaching second graders at Notre Dame de Sion.  

The past four years have been such a wild ride. Rockhurst has provided me with a mixture of love and laughter, struggle and success, opportunity and experience. My time at Rockhurst has proved to be a life-changing experience where I have continually strived for the Magis. I have found that the most valuable way I live the Magis is by putting more into everything I do. The more time, effort, and passion I put into something, the more I get out of it in the long run and, importantly, the more fully it benefits others. This not only stands true for academics but also for relationships, leadership opportunities, and immersion experiences.  

As a coordinator for Orientation and Retreat on the Rock, I was blessed with the opportunity to interact with people I would not have crossed paths with else wise. Through these experiences, I found that Magis flows from all sorts of places at the Nest. The people I came to know from these experiences exemplified what it means to live the Magis. Their dedication and passion inspired me to strive for the Magis in all that I do. I came to realize that going an extra step, spending a little more time, or stepping outside of my comfort zone have helped me live the Magis. By living the Magis, I am developing into the person I want to be, becoming more comfortable with who I am and what I do.

I graduate in three days. It used to be a terrifying thought to graduate from college and be on my own. However, I am confident that my four years at Rockhurst have prepared me to do just that. I look forward to living the Magis in my post-grad life; always taking that next step when presented, being intentional with whom and how I spend my time, and challenging myself to finding new ways to explore the world. This is how I plan to live out the Magis, always growing into a stronger leader, teacher, friend, and woman.

Josh Pudlowski

Josh Pudlowski, '16, ia a resident of Omaha and St. Louis native.  Josh is majoring in civil engineering, a challenging major that he thoroughly enjoys.  He has served the Rockhurst community in a variety of roles including Rockstar, Ambassador and Orientation leader.  He looks forward to enjoying his summer in Kansas City and getting to explore the city even more fully. 

I have been at Rockhurst for almost 2 years now and I have noticed that Rockhurst has summoned me to live the magis not just in terms of quantity but rather quality.  I feel myself wanting to strive towards doing things the right way and doing them to the best of my ability rather than just giving half the effort towards many things.  I think my teachers and advisors have summoned me to a greater depth and excellence, but I have noticed my peers pushing me to strive even further.  My teachers and advisors have given the base of the effort that I need to do to succeed, but my friends and classmates take that and try to make me do even more. 

 I have enjoyed these challenges at Rockhurst.  Some of these challenges have been in the classroom, however many have been outside the classroom.   It is has been my peers that have pushed me to become a Rockstar, an Ambassador, and an Orientation leader because they thought I would be good for the various roles.  It is nice to have this push from peers rather than from just adults.  It truly makes you feel as if you would be a good leader because people your own age have recognized you as one.  Having this experience has made me want to strive to do the best job possible in these respective roles, and I believe all of them have gone very well. 

My peers have been with me through the rough times and the good times.  They have pushed me to be more than I thought I could be.  I have taken their advice and have strived to do the best I can at welcoming new students to Rockhurst, helping prospective students decide whether they want to go to Rockhurst, and getting them excited about the idea of coming to our school.  I hope through the positions I have held on campus that I have been able to affect a few students or perspective students in a good way.  If I have done that, then I believe I have successfully lived out the magis.

Paul Harned

Paul Harned, '14, is a psychology major from Springfield, Mo. He is a newly confirmed Catholic and will be serving in Ashland, Mont., with Jesuit Volunteers Corps Northwest starting in August.

At this year’s Easter Vigil, I was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church as “Paul Michael John (the Silent).” “John (the Silent)” is who I chose as my confirmation saint (i.e. someone who you aspire to be like and who can pray for you from heaven). He was given his surname, “the Silent,” because of his love for silence and recollection. I chose him as my confirmation saint because the “Magis” derives from silence for me. More specifically, I define “silence” in two ways: 1) silence while not conversing and 2) silence while conversing. I like to think of “silence while not conversing” as being alone in my room or walking around campus without any outside noise, such as the television or music. “Silence while conversing” means thinking before speaking; in other words, it means speaking not with a knee-jerk reaction. Both of these kinds of silence lead me to “Ignatian indifference,” which is different from “indifference” defined as “lack of interest.” Rather, it is, as Father James Martin explains it, “the ability to be detached from one’s initial biases and to step back, the willingness to carefully balance the alternatives. An openness to the working of God in one’s life.” Ignatian indifference is what ignites my soul and leads to a mind-blowing process of continual discovery. It is what inspires the “Magis” in my life.

Shauna Krause

Shauna Krause, '16, is from Lincoln, Neb., and is majoring in biology and minoring in psychology. She is involved in Theta Phi Alpha, CLC, contemporary choir, and is a Resident Assistant. Something on Shauna’s bucket list is to go sky diving one day.

This past spring break I was given the incredible opportunity to participate in a service immersion trip to Belize. I can’t say I had an idea in my mind as to what I was expecting, but the reality of serving did not sink in until I met the local people. Immediately from the first encounter, we felt welcomed and loved. This first encounter was attending Mass on Sunday morning. During the sign of peace, many locals left their pews and came to greet every one of us individually, and thank us for our service; some even gave us hugs. They showed us this love even though we hadn’t begun our project, and even more than that, they had never met any of us.  This welcoming we received is a pure example of Magis. Their lives are simple, and they may not have the most riches in the world’s eyes; however, they are grateful and happy and spread these gifts to all whom they meet. I now strive to keep that welcome in my heart and show it to all I now encounter. Our time on earth is a precious thing, so our actions and words need to reflect how precious life is.

Jeremy Kamper

Jeremy Kamper,'17, is a nursing major from St. Louis, Mo., who is currently involved with Student Senate, Relay for Life and Campus Ministry.  

Recently, I came across an article online that was titled "30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself." One of the points was "stop trying to be someone you are not." The article explained that in this world everyone is trying to compete against each other but that we need to step back and realize that we all have our own unique gifts and talents. Someone will always be smarter, more athletic and younger, but they will never be you. Our challenge is to accept who we are and to realize our fullest potential. Magis means using our God-given gifts and talents in our daily lives. Our talents are God's gift to us, and what we do with them is our gift to God. However, we can always strive for more, the Magis. This can be done in a variety of ways but just remember to be true to yourself, and anything can be accomplished. 

Shannon Strecker

Shannon Strecker,'17, is from Topeka, Kan., and in the pre-physical therapy program at Rockhurst.  She is an active participant of Student Senate, women’s cross country, SAAC, CLC and Greek Life.

When I reflect on my experience here during my first semester at Rockhurst, I immediately think of the many friendships I have formed.  People always talk about the amazing sense of community here and how it is so easy to feel welcomed, and I truly believe that the community is what has summoned me to live the Magis.  Magis is about having and giving more in life, especially in terms of quality rather than quantity.  The strong friendships and connections I have made with others have helped me to appreciate life more and the amazing people that go along with it.  Through organizations, retreats, orientation and just walking around campus, I have made more quality friendships than I have ever had, and these quality relationships have inspired me to embrace Magis in everything of which I am a part.  The Rockhurst experience and Magis co-exist for me; they are complimentary and inseparable.

Megan McCool

Megan McCool,'16, is studying English and secondary education. She hails from Tulsa, Okla., and serves as the secretary of Voices for Justice.

"Compassion is entering the chaos.” This is what Father Curran shared with my group and I as we reflected on our experiences at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. As I heard this unconventional definition of “compassion,” I was stunned. I had never before thought of compassion in that way, but that is the exact meaning of compassion. Compassion is allowing oneself to succumb to the uncertain and unexplainable fears, trials, and obstacles of others. It is permitting oneself to take on the “more” of people’s struggles. By this, I mean that compassion is truly and completely making others’ plights and difficulties one’s own. Exhibiting true compassion is allowing oneself to embrace more of life’s tragedies, complications, and unknowns.

As I reflect on my time spent with the Lakota people, a phrase that I learned sticks with me: “Mitakuye Oyasin” or “We are all related.” I hope to enter the chaos of other’s lives more often and more fully. My desire is to use these new chaotic, untidy experiences for “the greater glory of God.” 

Tyler Scroggs

Tyler Scroggs, '15, a Springfield (MO) native, is a business student concentrating in management and working as a contract manager at Cerner Corporation. He currently serves as public relations chair of the Social Activities Board, executive vice president of Alpha Delta Gamma, and as a member of the Student Giving Committee and Delta Sigma Pi. His favorite color is red and he plans to open his own business someday.

Magis is pushing your limits and striving for better and greater than you can vividly imagine. It’s failing and learning from your mistakes. It’s overcoming adversity and learning to trust in your fellow man. Magis can be found in Mabee chapel at 10:10, but it can also be found in late-night field trips to Taco Bell, hugs between close friends, and the beating of a drum at a soccer game. Magis is all about striving for perfection and achieving excellence. We each have an innate motivation to improve ourselves and our surroundings.

Magis is the strength one has to get up after falling and the gut propulsion to want to be the best. Ambition inspires greatness, but magis is also about greeting unwanted results with optimism and positivity. Part of magis is having the wisdom to know that you don’t know everything and that you can’t always be the best; we have teachers and mentors in our lives that can help us learn and grow. We each have strengths and talents that set us apart from others, and it is to our advantage to spend our time enhancing these rather than highlighting our weaknesses. Ad Dei Gloriam

Shauna Bauml

Shauna Bauml,'14, is senior nursing major with a political science minor from Independence, Mo.  She is a member of the women’s basketball team, the Relay for Life committee, Pi Sigma Alpha political science honor society, Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit National Honor Society, CLC, and the Research College of Nursing Student Government Association.

I am now in my last semester here at Rockhurst University, and it feels hard to believe that I only have a few months left walking these halls. In my time here I have taken on many roles – leader, athlete, friend, lector and learner. Through these roles I have grown and learned more about myself. Yet, I never would have predicted the most important role I would take on after coming to Rockhurst, and that is the role of a disciple. I have always made it a goal to continually become a better person in my day to day life; however, God has called me to much more than that. Last spring I went on a service immersion trip to Belize. It was there in which my eyes and heart were opened to the ultimate calling God had for me, to be a disciple of His teachings and spread His love and joy to others. When I was in high school I had big hopes for college, I wanted more out of life, to meet new people and have new experiences. At Rockhurst, I have found my “more,” my Magis. My relationship with God has grown to a deeper, more intimate level in my time here, and it is through this loving, heavenly relationship in which I’ve found my Magis, my calling to be His disciple.

Connor Moynihan

Connor Moynihan, '17

Every day, I turn on the t.v. or read the newspaper and see countless stories in which so much hatred is shown or so much sadness found.  I think to myself that I want to do more in the world not only during my four years at Rockhurst but after as well.   

Throughout this year, I have been volunteering at Children’s TLC, a preschool that helps kids who challenges in life, whether it be physical or mental.  As I consider living the magis beyond Rockhurst, I want to devote more of myself and my time to helping kids. 

In an effort to live the magis, I want to focus more on my prayer life, devoting more time to talking to God and thanking him for making everything that I am and do possible.  Without God, I could not even wonder or plan how I want to live the magis beyond Rockhurst.

I also want to do more service to the community.  From my perspective, there is really too much wrong evidenced in the world.  I want to do my part in trying to fix that.  I want to put myself in the communities where suffering exists and make sure the kids have someone with whom to talk.  I want to help rebuild dilapidated areas as well.

Finally, living the magis, I strive to do more for my family.  My family has been the backbone of my life, especially my educational career.  I want to be more of a family person and show my family the respect they truly deserve.

This is how I hope to live the “more” in my life beyond Rockhurst, striving to make more of a change in the lives of people and in society even if it is just a slight or minimal change.  I want to make it more than I have thought about before.

Caitlin Yeargain

Caitlin Yeargain, '14, is a transfer student from Southeast Missouri State University. Caitlin will be graduating in May with a BA in Political Science, and will begin the accelerated nursing program this fall at Research.  Caitlin is a charter member of Gamma Phi Beta as well as the Vice President of Pubic Relations for ENACTUS; she is also a member of a CLC.   Caitlin is very excited to travel to Belize over spring break on service immersion trip.

Like any well-formed Jesuit-educated student, I had to do my "research" before offering my reflection.  According to Wikipedia, magis is taken from Ad majorem Dei gloriam, which means "For the Greater Glory of God."   Whatever we do, we should reflect on what more we can do in the service of God and, here on earth, that leads to what we can do for others.

As college students, the LAST thing we want to hear is that we need to be busy doing “more” things.  But magis isn't demanding that we drive ourselves crazy by never stopping and by making “more” an infinite term.  Magis can mean smiling at a stranger as you pass or listening to a friend who has had a rough day.  Although solving world peace and ending hunger would be awesome, I don't think that is what Ignatius had in mind.  To me, magis is another one of the quality reflection tools that the Jesuits use to look at life and focus it on God.

Cecilia Lopez

Cecilia Lopez, '15, is an international business major from El Salvador. Cecilia is a member of Delta Sigma Pi and in her free time loves to read and write short stories.

As I learn more about Rockhurst students’ dedication to live out the magis, I finally understand that magis is fulfilling your greater potential by helping fulfill others’. Isolation can never help us reach our greater potential. Only through the giving of our time, care and effort are we able to grow and become better people. Only through sacrifice and compassion do we learn the lessons of patience, kindness and love. Every day, students at Rockhurst live out the magis. Living as a community and helping each other reach that greater potential. We find the magis in the faces of those we love and help or in the ones that help us in our journey to become greater people. I have found the commitment and the strength of the ones that surround me and am humbled by their dedication to becoming better persons not for selfish reasons but to help build a better future for everyone. We are tomorrow’s leaders, and we understand that only by serving we can lead.business major from El Salvador. Cecilia is a member of Delta Sigma Pi and in her free time loves to read and write short stories.

Peter Soukenik

Peter Soukenik, '16, is a political science and accounting major from St. Louis, Mo. He is an Orientation Coordinator and proud Student Senator.

As someone who recently spent ten weeks on crutches, I understand that we are people of finite energy and resources. Being asked to do more during college when we are often too busy is a hard task to handle. However, if you can find the time, it is a worthwhile challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Magis does not have to be about pushing yourself to do the most you can or to be perfect in the activities of which you are already a part. Magis can be about trying brand new things or engaging in a familiar activity in a new way. Last November, I was driving to my beloved sacred zone, Jimmy Johns, when I stopped at a red light and for some reason felt compelled to talk to a homeless man on the corner. Oddly, he didn’t ask me for anything but a ride to a local charity shop to pick up a new backpack. Perhaps you have seen this man, he has a graying red beard and bright blue eyes and often occupies the intersection of Main and Emanuel Cleaver. Well, without saying too much, this man in one car ride changed my entire outlook on life. I know it sounds crazy that this random moment could actually mean so much, but it did and it all spun out of me deciding to step out of my comfort zone. There are beautiful things all around us, all we have to do is open our eyes and move our feet to places they have never been.

Maggie Bernard

Maggie Bernard, '15, is from Overland Park, Kan., and majoring in education and Spanish and minoring in history and theology. She is a member of KDP (the Education Honors Society), CLC, Choir, APO and Social Mentors Steering Committee. She is also very excited to be serving in the Dominican Republic over spring break.

Magis has always eluded me. It sounded too different, mystical might be the best way I can describe it. “The more” seems easy, sure. But I’m a perfectionist. I try to give 100% to everything I do, and I try to do a lot. Until last year, I never understood that it was the more, not the most. That was a lesson I learned the hard way through over extending myself and, ultimately, losing my sense of worth. Now I aim for Magis. I fail, consistently. But I think the effort is half the battle. To me, Magis is the time I take to drink a cup of tea and relax at the end of my day. Magis is the prayer I say when I walk home. Magis is the extra time I spend with a friend. For me, Magis is not a lofty goal or the need for perfection in life. Instead, I have come to understand that the best way for me to live out Magis is through the small things I do every day to better myself and to improve my relationships with God and others. With Magis I try, every day, to be better.

Beverly Ziegler

Beverly Ziegler, '17, is a Tulsa native and in the Pre-Physical Therapy program at Rockhurst. She is an active participant in Student Senate, Women’s Cross Country, Exercise and Sports Science Club, and Campus Ministry.  She loves the Rockhurst life!

As I write this on the eve of my departure for the New Orleans Service Immersion Trip, I reflect on what has brought me to this moment in life. I have only been at Rockhurst for a semester, yet I have already been greatly impacted by this community. Being here has enticed Magis in me.  If it had not been for the people and attitude at Rockhurst, I would not be about to embark on this trip to New Orleans, something that is new, scary and exciting. That is what the Magis is. It is not simply doing more. Magis is doing something even though it scares you or takes you out of your comfort zone. Magis is doing something that will help you to grow in love for God, for others and for yourself. New Orleans is my Magis because it has inspired more love, more generosity and more faith in my life.

Ryan Marian

Ryan Marian, '14, is pursuing a BSBA in marketing with aspirations to continue his career in the music industry after graduation. His favorite Rockhurst days have been spent as an Orientation Coordinator, a proud member of the city walled Alpha Delta Gamma – Zeta Chapter and in various roles within Voices for Justice including chairman of Karaoke for a Cause. His advice for all students: make Kansas City your home, get uncomfortable and eat more Pub cookie twisters.

The Jesuit core value of Magis never fails to bring me back to freshman year – a time in which the life I chose to lead would begin to unfold into a future that seemed limitless. The future is, in fact, limitless as Magis suggests. However, over time, this can be a difficult belief to hold on to.

More specifically, I am reminded of late night discussions in the chapel, pondering dreams and aspirations with friends, new and old. The community we began to create then and continue to foster now is what Magis really means to me. It’s essential that we commit ourselves to challenge one another to only live a life of passion. While that might not always provide us with stability or security, it is fundamental to our self-discovery and self-fulfillment.

Those late chapel nights always had a soundtrack, so it’s only fitting that I share a song as well. As you listen: close your eyes, reaffirm yourself with the talents you possess, and make a commitment to live greater.

Ani Haroian

Ani Haroian, 16, is graduate of Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis and is majoring in Spanish and secondary education. She wants to teach English in a Spanish-speaking country.   

In eighth grade we were asked to make a poster that embodied our mission statement.  I remember being perplexed by this task at the age of 13.  I chose a quote spoken by St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, the foundress of my school, and put it on the poster.  I really thought nothing of it until the day when we had to present our statements to our classmates. The quote read, "We cultivate a very small field for Christ but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements, but a heart that holds back nothing for self," and realized that these words were my mission statement for my life. 

When asked to write a personal reflection about Magis, I was just as perplexed as that day in 2007. During some reflection on a retreat, I remembered one of the talks.  The person said Magis is more, not the most.  This gave me all I needed to understand.  Just like Philippine said, it is not how much we do or give, it is the seeking for more love, more grace, and more service in our lives that matters. This is Magis to me. 

Luke Beckett

Luke Beckett,'15, is a Kansas City native, pursuing a double major in communications and Spanish. Prior to this year, he was involved in Residence Life as an RA, a Spanish tutor in the Learning Center and as a committee member for Relay for Life. He is currently studying abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica.   

Magis has always been a word that I heard on a consistent basis living on a Jesuit campus. However, up until the last few months I never could have said that I truly thought I knew what it meant. Of course, there are numerous interpretations of Magis but I would venture to say that in my eyes it most represents how we can ‘better’ perform our roles in the body of Christ. Although there are many different roles we each play as the hands of feet of the church, by far the most important in my opinion is how we love and care for one another.  

I arrived to this conclusion over the last few months contemplating what happened to my family just before school started. To those who don’t know, my family suffered a house fire on August 17 of this year and virtually lost everything. I remember standing outside watching my childhood home in flames questioning how something so terrible could happen to anyone. Nevertheless, my God, as he so aptly does, managed to bring me closer to him through this situation.

That same morning of the fire I recall dozens of family, friends, and Rockhurst community members reaching out to my family to help us in our time of need. Although many of you may not realize this, the love and compassion that was outpoured on my family was a reflection of the body of Christ caring for one another and will forever be ingrained in my memory, reminding me to always look for the silver lining in every situation. 

Kyle Whiston

Kyle Whiston, '17, of Kansas City (a northlander at heart) is majoring in non-profit leadership studies and theology and minoring in psychology. At Rockhurst he participates in Campus Ministry, CLC, an on-campus bible study and will go on the West Virginia service immersion trip this spring. He is also an intern for the First Hand Foundation, the non-profit of Cerner Corporation, a lay member for his church’s governing board and an off-campus tutor for students in nearby high schools.

I've always been a person who wants to do pretty much everything – at least once. When it gets down to the things I really enjoy, well let’s just say there aren’t enough fingers and toes on which to count them all. I often get into this mindset that by involving myself in as many activities as possible, I will be happier and able to make even more of a difference. Once I’m involved, I find it unlikely that this is the case, especially when I am cramming things into my schedule to make them all fit. Lately, I’ve been starting to really feel the effects of such a life and reflecting on magis has allowed me to reflect and really understand that it is about planting the smallest mustard seeds that provide the biggest plants that will continue the cycle eternally. So for myself, discovering the talents God have given me and embracing them in different ways is how I live out the magis and live for the magis.

Megan Jeffries

Megan Jeffries, '17, is a native of Kansas City and a psychology major on the occupational therapy track.  She is presently a desk assistant, a member of the dance team and in the PT/OT Club.  Megan looks forward to getting more involved during her years at Rockhurst.

In my first few months at Rockhurst, through the principle of Magis, I have learned more about myself and have been challenged to live the life to which God calls me.  In the past, I attempted to do this by constantly busying myself and trying to do as much as possible.  However, I have now learned the difference between “doing more” and “being more.”  It is not necessary to do everything but, rather, to put everything that I can into the things that I do.  Whether it is my studies, the groups of which I am a part or my relationships with friends and family, all can benefit by my being fully present in the moment.  By being more present, it in turn becomes possible to be more aware of God’s presence as well.  When one recognizes Christ in the world around them, it becomes clearer how to live a life for the greater glory of God.

Sam Mueckl

Sam Mueckl, '16, is from St. Louis, Mo., and is studying criminal justice and business management. He is a member of Student Senate, CLC, Ambassador and Pi Kappa Alpha.

I like to think of magis as putting the best or most effort into what I am doing at the present time. I think this is the most important thing for me – to not worry about the past or fear about the future but to focus on the present. The only thing I can control is what is happening in the moment.

By making an effort to make myself the best I can be is the only way I can achieve success. By putting more effort into what is actually going on in my life, I am better able to achieve my goals. Whether it is in the classroom, in organization, or in relationships with friends and family, by understanding that magis does not always mean more but a better quality is important to me. I don’t care how much effort I can put into something, if it does not make me feel like what I have done is a higher quality, I am not satisfied. In everything I do, I’d like to know that I have put quality over quantity every time. To me, the more quality, the better the outcome.

Stefani Paul

Stefani Paul, '15, is from Bainbridge Island, Washington. She is a senior here at Rockhurst University studying communication sciences and disorders. In addition to being a full-time student, she takes on the role of a desk manager for Corcoran, student ambassador, CLC leader, and a statistics tutor. Her hobbies include photography, swimming, and American Sign Language.

I am continuously awakened to the magis by the beauty that surrounds me.  Every day, I find a new inspiration to give more of myself and focus less on receiving.  In my mind, magis is a way of finding Christ within; it’s important to never lose site of the love he sacrificed when we ourselves make small sacrifices.  The “more” part of the definition of magis, in my experience, comes from the way one carries out one’s deeds.  If you are honestly happy to serve others and the Lord, than you know that you’re working through magis.

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect but rather a follower of Christ.  He has given us so much potential and every individual is blessed with some kind of gift.  As my mom always says, “It’s time that you go out there and use those gifts God gave you.”  Thus, rather than always thinking about what I can personally gain from my strengths, I do my best to put my strengths to use for the benefit of others.  If it’s a smile to brighten someone’s day, then I know that’s a start.  As I get older, I always imagine myself using my gifts of love for photography, compassion for others, and eagerness to learn in a way that may positively impact others’ lives.    Anytime that I lose patience, get frustrated or stress out, I think about how Jesus never gave up on us, how he constantly pushed himself to do more.  When I think of that, my mind is clear, and whatever I’m working on I continue doing with an open mind and loving heart.  

Christian Lamb

Christian Lamb,'14, is majoring in biochemistry and psychology and hopes to pursue an M.D. A native of Guthrie, Okla., he has previously been involved with Student Senate, Phi Delta Epsilon and Pre-Med Club and is currently in his third year as a resident assistant and is an active member of Alpha Delta Gamma.

 A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. – William Shakespeare

The name given to an object or idea does not change the inherent identity of that thing. Think about that for a second; an object or concept’s human-given name does not give it identity. As Shakespeare says, a rose is still a rose, no matter what humans have decided to call it.

“How does this apply to the Jesuit ideal of Magis?” you may ask. But the answer is simple: the name of your particular spiritual calling does not give it value; spirituality has, in-and-of itself, extreme inherent value. That is, two spiritually identically aims are both as sweet as the other no matter the name given to them.

To make this concept more tangible, we must realize that the Great Power exists outside of humanity’s understanding of said Force; God exists outside of human thought and language. The Universal Power transcends human understanding and, therefore cannot be limited by our language.

What does this mean for me? It means that I am able to see God in everything around me. There are MORE ways to understand God than religion; every meal I eat, my favorite songs, dancing, and even a simple hug are ways to interface with the Universe. I seek to understand her in as many ways as possible; I seek Magis.

Whether you call a rose a rose or you call it by another name, it still smells as sweet.

Mitch Findley

Mitch Findley, '17,  is double majoring in elementary education and Spanish. An Omaha native, he is involved in the APO service fraternity and plans to join many more student organizations as his Rockhurst career continues.

The “more” to which I feel called to pursue in life is simple: I want to teach. I have grown up my whole life as a kid thinking about how I never want to become a teacher, because I was always the kid getting in trouble. After I went on a high school service trip to the Dominican Republic, I realized that not only did I want to teach, but that I wanted to teach in some of the most poverty-stricken areas in whatever city I was living in. The Dominican Republic opened my eyes to how fortunate of a position I am currently in. The sheer poverty I saw every day there was astonishing. I have a loving family that is able to put meals on the table, and I have the opportunity to go off to college; so, I have realized that my mission has to be to give back. I have always loved working with little kids, and now I have recognized that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, trying to change kids’ lives every day.

Erika Stuchlik

Erika Stuchlik, '16, is from Eagle, Neb., and is active in several organizations on campus, including Student Ambassadors, Christian Life Community (CLC), Gamma Phi Beta and Campus Ministry. Erika is majoring in psychology and plans to pursue a career in occupational therapy.

 I understand Magis as the better, not the best. God loves us all as his image. He loves me because I am me. I am not trying to be “the best” out of all his children, because heaven is not a first place trophy. I am bettering myself for Christ, at my pace, with realistic, achievable goals and expectations. Acts and goals rooted in Magis may become lost in others’ larger achievements. I can testify to the shame I have felt, when I believed I accomplished something spectacular, only to find someone else had gone over and above me. I shouldn’t let shame or discomfort flood my accomplishment, especially if I truly worked hard for it.  As long as He is my driving force, and my will to keep going, I do not fear.

Megan Nitchals

Megan Nitchals, '15, hails from Leavenworth, Kan., and is majoring in nursing. Throughout her years at Rockhurst, Megan has been actively involved in Theta Phi Alphi, RAKERS and is in her second year of serving the Rockhurst community as a resident assistant.

 The past two years at Rockhurst have been a rollercoaster of blessings and memories. I remember being a frosh going through orientation, eager to learn and meet people and terrified of failing. Today, as I reflect, I realize how much I have grown and developed religiously, academically, socially, intellectually, and so much more, all because I allowed myself to risk failure.

My campus involvement has taught me a tremendous amount, but most importantly I have learned how much richer life can be if we live it pursing the Magis or “more”.  What I mean by this is living with a deeper purpose for every action, to strive for greater excellence and generosity for the greater good of humanity. As I begin my career in healthcare and see the needs of others, I realize that quality care is better than quantity. There are days when I see healthcare providers going through the motions and I think to myself, “SNAP out of it!! These patients rely on us in many more ways than one.” So I strive to make my co-workers, my peers, and myself more aware of the needs of others, encouraging greater excellence in what we do. I have Rockhurst’s Ignatian identity to thank for this. Without the emphasis on service for the greater good that I have learned from my time here, I would have never been summoned to live the Magis or “more” both now and in the future.

Seán Kane

Seán Kane, '15, is from Kansas City, Mo. He is active in a number of on campus organizations, including choir and Campus Ministry, and is a French tutor at the Learning Center. Seán is majoring in history, philosophy and theology. He plans on earning master's and doctoral degrees in ancient history and continuing his film work.

 Over the years, I’ve had many people tell me that spending my time researching long-dead kings and princes, or making short films that probably won’t have any profit is a waste of time. “Why not do something important with your life?” they ask. For me it’s all about living life to the fullest. To do so is to live through the Magis. My reasoning simply is that I’d rather live my life doing what I love than what I would make a good deal of money out of. To be honest, basing an entire society’s view of worth on how much money a person can “collect” is absolute codswallop! Sure, it takes money to live a decent life anymore, after all I suppose I can’t pay the rent in a few years by entertaining my landlord and their family with stories like my predecessors could. But in the end, have we really lived our lives well enough to be welcomed into the garden after death, if all our focus has been centered on material wealth or on the values society dictates?

I don’t yet know what way my life will go after Rockhurst, for all I know I could end up making a pretty penny on those films after all. But when they do, it’ll be a rather nice occasion and a reason to go out for dessert. The trick with any good fortune, as played out in many a Greek myth and drama, is to be sure one lives a good life, a life worth remembering, a life that embodies the Magis and to be grateful for all the people that helped you on your way.

Caitlyn Tilden

Caitlyn Tilden, '16, is from Lawrence, Kan., and is majoring in psychology and studying occupational therapy. She works in the library and has been involved in choir, CLC, Voices for Justice, the Rockstar Program and P.E.E.R.S. She serves on the board of the student publication "Infectus" and is a member of Theta Phi Alpha.

 What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What more can I do for Christ?*

When examining these three questions, I find that the last holds the most significance. I would love to stop at question number one and review the wonderful track record I have of glorifying Christ, but that defies the concept of Magis. Looking only at past accomplishments decreases my humility and motivation to continue living every single day for the glory of God. Although I can never work hard enough to mirror the grace God has extended to me, magis reminds me that the more I do for God the more fulfilled my own life will be become. Often by focusing on what more I can do for Christ, I realize that I can accomplish a lot by simply asking for a change of heart and new motivations. More is not exclusively quantity, but quality as well.  Although I realistically cannot and do not spend every minute in prayer or service, the time I do I can work to make more intentional, more authentic, and more glorifying.

We have all heard the expression that the more you give the more you receive, I find this especially true of our relationship with God.  The more we give to our relationship with Him, the more purpose God reveals to our lives. What more can you do for Christ today?

*These three questions are taken from St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises.

Cait Staed

Cait Staed, '14, hails from St. Louis, Mo. During her tenure at Rockhurst, she has been a member of the dance team, active in Campus Ministry and spent a glorious semester studying abroad in Italy. Currently studying theology, Cait plans to pursue a master’s degree in occupation therapy next fall. 

To be honest, I’ve always had a difficult time with Magis as a core value. This is because I never took the time to understand it. When I think of the word “more,” I automatically think of excess or greed. Fortunately, though, last semester I had a positive conversation about the idea of wanting more that changed my perspective on the core value of Magis.

A friend and I talked about how we never seem to be fully satisfied in our lives. We are constantly wanting more: wanting to travel more, wanting to meet more people, wanting to do more things. This helped me realize that wanting more does not always have to be a bad thing. Wanting more out of life pushes us to do great things with the time, talent and treasure God has given us on earth. I also realized that not only does God encourage me to strive to do more good things in my life, but He also calls me to want more of Him. He wants me to include Him in more of my daily activities, in more of my relationships, in more of my thoughts.

I hope that I never feel content, because that would meant that I stopped searching for more opportunities and a deeper relationship with God. Feeling content would mean that I have settled. God never wants us to settle. We are made to do great things; it’s just a matter of deciding to pursue those great things.

Magis’ has always been a word that I heard on a consistent basis living on a Jesuit campus. However, up until the last few months I never could have said that I truly thought I knew what it meant. Of course, there are numerous interpretations of Magis but I would venture to say that in my eyes it most represents how we can ‘better’ perform our roles in the body of Christ. Although there are many different roles we each play as the hands of feet of the church, by far the most important in my opinion is how we love and care for one another.  

I arrived to this conclusion over the last few months contemplating what happened to my family just before school started. To those who don’t know, my family suffered a house fire on August 17th of this year and virtually lost everything. I remember standing outside watching my childhood home in flames questioning how something so terrible could happen to anyone. Nevertheless, my God, as he so aptly does, managed to bring me closer to him through this situation.

That same morning of the fire I recall dozens of family, friends, and Rockhurst community members reaching out to my family to help us in our time of need. Although many of you may not realize this, the love and compassion that was outpoured on my family was a reflection of the body of Christ caring for one another and will forever be ingrained in my memory, reminding me to always look for the silver lining in every situation. 

2012-13: Reflection and Discernment

Tess Hart

Tess Hart, '13, is studying economics, political science, criminal justice and English. During her time at the Rock she has served as a Resident Assistant and a Student Senator. In July she will be heading to Chuuk, Micronesia, to serve as a Jesuit Volunteer.  

It is hard to believe that this is my last week at the Nest, a place that has become home for me. I can look back over my four years here and see the moments that have helped shape me, the relationships that have helped build me, and the movements of the Spirit that have helped guide me. Through these things I gain the confidence needed to fly off, keeping always in mind the education and values that Rockhurst has instilled in me.

To me, the value of reflection and discernment is a matter of engaging one’s authentic self, listening to the little voice inside and the subtle signs the Lord leaves in daily life. Discernment is not rational deliberation meant to yield the most practical or advantageous decision from a worldly standpoint. Rather, it is the counter-cultural experience of being open to where and to what you are called. As I was discerning my own call to service, I was particularly struck by a piece of advice from a faculty member, which I believe captures why discernment is so powerful: “Follow your heart and your mind will come to understand, follow your mind and your heart may never come along.” Thus, reflection and discernment gives us the freedom to act, trusting in the Lord’s will rather than the imperfection of human logic. With this freedom in mind, I seek to soak up the experiences life provides, act based on my values, and then, reflect on how such things have affected me. Ignatian discernment is an invaluable tool that I plan to take with me as I move on, and I invite all Hawks to embrace and engage in this powerful process during their time here and beyond.

Tori Zanaboni

Tori Zanaboni, '16, is from St. Louis and loves the Cardinals! She is a freshman nursing major, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha and a member of a CLC. Next year she will serve as an Orientation Leader, Social Mentor, Ambassador and Frosh Get-A-Way Leader.

I spend many minutes of the day looking forward: looking forward to events, to tests, to new experiences, and to bananas foster in the cafe.  However, over Easter break, I started to reflect on my state of mind at the present. I asked myself, “As I am looking forward every day, is the present quickly passing me by?” My answer to this question was “yes.” Priorities flood my mind and schedule each morning when I open my planner. Some events I look forward to and others I just dread as each minute goes by. However, after reflecting on this state of mind, I have realized that God does not ask us to split time for work and play. Instead, all of our activities should promote, share, and give God’s love. Therefore, I have decided to try to live my life fruitfully. By that I mean, I am trying to be present each day, event, meeting, class, and meal. Instead of looking forward to all the things I should be doing, I want to live each moment to the fullest. As the school year winds down, I pray that I can slow down, smell the newly bloomed tulips on campus, and realize that each busy day is another gift from God.

Tim Dulle

Tim Dulle, '13, is a Catholic Studies minor. He is active in CLC and a brother of Alpha Delta Gamma. He will continue his studies and adventures next year at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in Boston, Mass.

At Rockhurst, Hawks can have so many different experiences. My days at the Nest have taken me up to Hancock, Michigan, all the way down to El Salvador, and as far east as Washington, DC. I have chopped wood for the elderly, spoken broken Spanish with children, taken advantage of many leadership opportunities in Greek Life, and grown in my faith with my CLC and at student liturgies.

As profoundly grateful as I am for all these opportunities, I readily admit that they would mean very little without one thing to tie them together: Reflection. Ignatian Spirituality teaches us to “Experience-Reflect-Act.” Without reflection, our dizzying array of experiences become empty memories with no capacity to guide us to new and better ones, or help us discern our true vocation.

As I “fly away” this spring, I will take with me the knowledge that Rockhurst has not only offered me great opportunities, but taught me how to reflect on my experiences to discern my future direction and goals. I know that my degree will be valuable, but I truly think my ability to critically reflect may serve me better. I hope my fellow Hawks would feel the same. Ad Dei Gloriam.

Alex Schelble

Alex Schelble, '15, hails from Omaha, Neb. and is a biochemistry major on the pre-med track.  She is on Rockhurst’s tennis team, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha and an Orientation Coordinator.  She plans to attend medical school after graduating from Rockhurst.

I have never been very reflective. I tend to live life on the go, stopping only to eat and watch an occasional episode of Law & Order SVU. I run from class to tennis to meetings to the library throughout the week; so, it’s sometimes hard to catch my breath. This semester, I interviewed with the Pre-Health Committee, because I will be applying to Saint Louis University School of Medicine this May. I sailed through the application until the last page. “Write an essay on this question: Why do you want to be a doctor?”  I had never reflected on why, I just always knew that’s what I wanted to do. I like people. I like science. Well, as great as that sounds, it probably wouldn’t cut it for my personal statement. Upon reflecting on my personal experiences with death and sickness as well as shadowing experiences, I began to formulate “why.” Asking myself that elusive question of why I wanted to become a doctor strengthened my belief that medicine really is my calling. I believe that reflecting on life experiences is essential in answering this difficult but important “why.” I don’t think you can move forward without understanding this question.

Alyson Fuest

Alyson Fuest, '15, is a biology major and is from St. Louis, Mo.  She is a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, a former Frosh Get-A-Way leader and a current CLC member and leader.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” –Neale Donald Walsch

This quote became a reality for me when I embarked on my spring break service immersion trip to the Dominican Republic. I was very anxious to leave my comfort zone and be opened to the unknown. Through much encouragement and support, I was able to open my heart fully to the experience.

Our group was blessed by the opportunity to stay with host families. I felt fully immersed in the culture and with the people there and, therefore, was able to experience so much selfless love as well as so many tremendously happy spirits. Reflecting on this experience has left me speechless, at a point where words cannot even describe my love for the Dominican and its people. Being so fortunate to have been presented with this experience has left me with such a happy heart.

The most incredible part of my time while in the Dominican Republic was their lifestyle. The people seemed to just go with the flow and make quality time for all of the important people in their lives. Spending a week without any electronics really showed me how to be fully present and connected with everyone with whom I was surrounded. It was such a peaceful way of life, something that I wish our culture was a little more like and something for which I now strive. All in all, I was so honored to be a part of such a remarkable experience.

Kim Patterson

Kim Patterson,'13, is from Omaha, Neb., and will graduate in May with a B.S.N in nursing and a B.A. in Spanish.  She is instrumental in many Rockhurst activities, including Relay For Life, the first annual Bone Marrow Drive, Alpha Sigma Alpha and CLC.  She will joyfully be serving pediatric cancer patients as a nurse at Children’s Mercy after graduation.

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence."

This semester, my clinical rotation was in hospice.  During this six week nursing rotation, I experienced one of the most honest reflections of my life.  This particular Tuesday was spent on the fifth floor of a musty apartment in Westport.  The sun shone through the windows upon the reclining patient in an overstuffed armchair.  The room was decorated with rosaries, pictures of the Pope and a variety of religious literature.  I sat down on the adjacent sofa after performing an initial assessment in hopes of conversing about the emotional struggles that accompany the physical symptoms.  To my surprise, it didn’t take long until the patient began questioning me.  “What do you think it would be like to die without a faith?”  “Why do you want to be a nurse?”  “Are you proud of how you’ve lived?”  After pondering the questions asked of me, the patient presented a copy of “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann, which is Latin for, “desired things”.  It offered solace in her final days and could provide guidance for reflection in our unpredictable number of days as well.

Emily Waibel

Emily Waibel,'14, is studying elementary education and psychology. She is from St. Louis, Mo., and is involved with Christian Life Community, Relay for Life, Social Media Committee member, Gamma Phi Beta, past Orientation leader and mentor and a homecoming committee member.

Being at Rockhurst, I feel I have been able to participate in a vast variety of clubs, committees and now a wonderful sorority. I’ve always felt called to be a leader and to give the gifts God gave me to those around me. I always enjoyed being around people and helping in whichever way I can. One of my favorite things about being at Rockhurst, I’ve been able to be active in my career by volunteering at several after school programs and work one on one with several students during my practicums and service learning projects. I know I would not have these opportunities if it were not for Rockhurst and being at Rockhurst I’ve grown into a strong, empowered and capable woman. Through my time at Rockhurst and being involved, I’ve become a more outgoing and stable person. Through my volunteering and working with students, I’ve recognized that I must continuously reflect on how my gifts are being shown and constantly look for ways to improve and grow through understanding the importance of working together.

Ben Evans

Benjamin Evans,'14, from Neosho, MO, is a transfer student majoring in either psychology or biology.  He plans on going to occupational therapy school and will be graduating with a bachelors in 2014.

Over spring break 16 of us Hawks spent the week serving others in Guatemala by doing the little things that needed to be done. We did not build the biggest building or perform miracles. We did the little things that would make a difference in people's lives. While sitting in the airport waiting to board the plane to Atlanta, I was talking with an elderly gentleman from Cleveland, Ohio. He had been going to Guatemala for six years now doing the same thing. He enlightened me with a story that he also shared with his group.

He started by saying that while in Guatemala he was becoming frustrated because he didn't think that he was making a difference while being down there, and he didn't see a purpose because he was not getting any satisfaction by helping the Guatemalans. He was fed up with going down there when he realized on a flight home a few years ago that it REALLY did make a difference. On the elderly man's flight, the flight attendant was a Nicaraguan that had missionaries come to his town when he was a boy, and the groups of churches and schools rotated in and out. The flight attendant told this elderly gentleman that his life is forever changed because of the missionaries from the churches and schools that came and did the little things.

That last statement that he made, sent chills down my back. It had summed up the trip for me, right there in the Guatemala City airport. I wanted to share some of my companions' thoughts on the trip were because of their time spent reflecting on what they got from the service trip.

Sarah Crudden-- "I may not be able to make the biggest tangible difference by participating in missions to developing countries, but by putting myself out there and keeping an open mind to the world, I have grown to appreciate the beauty of other cultures and to appreciate/realize all that I have been truly blessed with."

Chris Stibbs-- "I became more aware of the life surrounding me and the ways I could benefit others through the things I am passionate about."

Luke Murphy-- "I would say that I learned that I have taken for granted the truly blessed and fortunate life that I have, and the people of Guatemala certainly helped show that material things are not necessary to lead a happy life."

Erin Armstrong-- "That God comes in strange forms but He is there you just need to have faith."

Angie Wieser-- "I need to live in more solitude not so focused on the material world. If the Guatemalans can live on so little, so can we."

Neil Smith-- "There are a lot of things that keep me from happiness, some of which are luxuries that I would be better off without."

Meghan Fessler-- "I learned that I am never alone in a journey I may be embarking on. God placed some awesome people with me this week who happen to be venturing down the same path as I am and now we can walk this journey together. If it was not for reflection we would have never known that others were going through the same experiences. "

Matt Beermann

Matt Beermann, '16, is from St. Louis, Missouri majoring in business marketing with minors in Spanish and theology.  Matt is involved in Campus Ministry as a member of the contemporary ensemble and leader for both CLC and Frosh Get-A-Way.  He is a member of Alpha Delta Gamma, a Rockhurst Ambassador, a resident assistant and an orientation leader.

I have been asked many times on retreats "How do you see God?" So, I question what can be so pure, so innocent and so powerful.  A child. I can see an infinite power in the image of a child. A child, so small, can make a huge impact on this world. A child has constant love, because they do not know what it means to hate.  A child is seemingly perfect, a reflection of God’s presence among us.

Children often say to their parents right before they are tucked into bed, "I love you, mommy and daddy." In the midst of all of the challenges that college presents, I know that God, like a child whose love seems unfailing, is always there with loving support and guidance.  God, the child-like figure, says to me and to each of us, "I love you. No matter where you go, what do, who you hang out with or what interests you have, I will always love you." 

Nick Blair

Nick Blair,'16, is  from St. Louis studying finance and management.  He is involved in Campus Ministry and DSP.  Nick loves reading and, to quote a viral video, “doing hood-rat stuff with his friends.”

Disillusionment.  We often use this word as a synonym for “disenchanted” or “baffled.”  However, author Parker Palmer uses it to describe the times we “break through illusion and touch reality.”  Many times, we are disillusioned involuntarily.  Maybe a loved one passes, and we see through the illusion of absolute security and realize we should focus more on relationships in life; or, we might fail a test and see the reality that we should be concentrating more on our studies.

I began creating illusions for myself as soon as I set foot on campus last fall, when considering anything from my major to what I wanted to do with my life.  Reflection has been my own intentional form of disillusionment.  Rather than touching reality only for brief moments after life tragedies or those involuntary moments of disillusionment, sitting down with God daily and taking a look at my life from a different perspective allows me to see through the illusions in my life.  It helps me to keep a clean lens through which I can view my life, free from the illusions I create.

Rebecca Hinman

Rebecca Hinman, '13,  is majoring in nonprofit leadership studies, political science, and theology from Olathe, Kan. Rebecca is a CLC leader and participant, student coordinator of the Kansas City Urban Immersion program, a member of VOICES for Justice and the Senior Giving Committee. Outside of school, Rebecca volunteers at the SFX food pantry, works as the Program Manager for the Human Rights Office of the diocese, and is busy planning her wedding on June 1.

In a very typical “second-semester senior” fashion, I have spent more and more time reflecting upon my stint at Rockhurst. It is oh-so-easy to take for granted the little things Rockhurst has taught you that you will utilize in the “real world” upon graduation. Something I will take away from my undergraduate career are the benefits of reflecting and discerning. It is easy to feel like our world is demanding that we plow through life full speed ahead with no sign of slowing down. Too often, we don’t see the need to slow down until God slams on the brakes for us. This can happen through the surprising kindness of a stranger, the blessings of a warm, sunny day in February or through beauty of a moment of silence in a very loud world. These moments are an invitation from God to breathe, reflect and count your blessings. My Ignatian education has helped me become more intentional in recognizing God’s subtle invitations for reflection and to joyfully accept them. Rockhurst has made me more in-tune with God’s plan for me and has encouraged a fruitful prayer life that I will proudly take away with me in May.

Janeisha Griggs

Janeisha Lennelle Griggs,'14, the oldest of 8 children, is from Saint Louis, Mo. She is a pre-medical student majoring in biology, with a minor in physics of medicine. Janeisha is very involved as a member of SAA (Student Alumni Association), a student caller and training assistant for the Rockhurst Phonathon and an active member of the pre-med fraternity Phi Delta Epsilon. 

When a person first comes to college, the experience could be very overwhelming; it is an entirely new world to explore.  As freshmen, we are learning the ropes, getting to know our classmates and becoming comfortable with the university itself. As sophomores, we are closer to finding our niche, as juniors and seniors we are building for our future career paths. Each year brings new experiences and knowledge unique for that time but one thing they all have in common is: finding ourselves in the midst of all the hustle and bustle.

For me, as a Rockhurst student, intentional reflection means so much! First, it means taking time out of every day or a few times a week just for me! In this time, I contemplate who I am as a person, my decision making, the individuals I surround myself with, my goals in life and my actions toward achieving those goals. This reflection time keeps me grounded and humble as I go throughout my week.

Let me share with you one of my favorite quotes by Leonardo Da Vinci, “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death”. This quote really sums up my experience with intentional reflection. I believe that without it, a person could become lost, living with no purpose. Reflection helps me to find myself; it helps me to visualize what I want in life, and how I want to impact others, and not only am I just thinking but daily reflection encourages me to act! “Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living”.

 I hope all of you take the time to intentionally reflect, it makes a difference! 

April Jecha

April Jecha, '13,  is a psychology major from Wichita, Kan. She loves country swing dancing, being an RA and she believes that real Love is what matters.

Who am I called to be? And where am I called to go?

I have no idea.

Well, maybe I have more of an idea now than I used to. But I know myself a little better because I have learned that I desperately need to let some things move me: to allow God to work in and through me, answering the longing of my heart for real Love within the small happenings of daily life.

I would say that the present moment contains God’s presence, but in reality it is God who contains the present moment. And when I express gratitude for all He does and is, I notice the things that move me toward Him, the things He uses to call me to the life of Love that He made me for.

When I forget all worries about the future, which are plentiful as a college senior, and focus myself on the present moment, I find answers to the desires of my heart. I find answers to those questions: Who I am I called to be? And where am I to go? I am to go wherever God moves me to.

Megan Reid

Megan Reid, '14, hails from Wahington, Mo., and is majoring in biology and Spanish and minoring in psychology.  She is the service chair for VOICES for Justice, a CLC coordinator and leader and a Frosh Get-A-Way leader.  There is little question that if Megan could send the rest of her days working in the great outdoors that she would be blissfully happy!

Before my time as a Hawk, I never made much of a conscious effort to spend time in quiet reflection. Out of all the core values that make up the rich Jesuit tradition of this community, Reflection & Discernment was the one that I have struggled with the most. Giving myself a chance to stop, rest, and spiritually “marinate” in the activities of the day would make me feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.

Yet, these are the times that I have felt the deepest connection to God and the most at peace with anything that lay before me.

To me, moments of reflection are more than thinking back on my day or week. They are doorways in which my mind can wander through and ponder who I am and what that means to the world that I live in. During my year and half at Rockhurst, I have begun to harness this positive thinking that comes out of my time in reflection and use it to discern how I can fully be the person I feel God is calling me to be.

John Bayer

John Bayer, '14, is majoring in both psychology and French.  He is from St. Louis, Mo., and is currently a Resident Assistant for the THV/OCH communities.

This past winter break I journeyed to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I knew only one thing about the U.P.: it was supposed to be quite cold and snowy.  So before I left, I packed . . . three pairs of wool socks, a few sweaters, and seven shirts each with their own sentimental value given to me by: a brother, a friend, a job, a school, Vincent Acquisto, a mother, and a father; boots and a coat both picked out by a salesman named Bo, my grandfather’s coffee-stained tie, a pair of worn out jeans, black dress pants, a water bottle, a cell phone, and a blue duct-tape wallet.  All of this I hoped would either keep me safe on my journey or warm in the cold.

At the beginning of any journey (whether it is a new semester or simply a new day), take the time to look at what you’ve “packed.”  Will it keep you warm in the “cold” or “safe” on your journey?  If you have forgotten anything, don’t worry.  If there is one thing that I learned on my adventure, it is that God will provide.

Bridgette Pretz

Bridgette Pretz, '12, is a senior from Granbury, TX.  She will graduate in December with a major in chemistry and a minor in theology. During her years at Rockhurst, Bridgette has been involved in CLC.  If she could travel any area in the world she would go to eastern Europe and soak up their culture and art.

Within my life, the core value of reflection and discernment is simultaneously one of the most beautiful and most challenging values.  I see great beauty in this value because it is a continual process that allows me to grow and build on what I have learned from prayer and experience; yet, it challenges me, because to get to this point I must allow myself to quiet my mind and heart and allow God to guide me.  

When I find myself in need of refocusing on what God has in plan for me, a verse from Proverbs comes to mind.  It says: “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the decision of the Lord that endures” (Proverbs 19:21).  This verse gives me great comfort when I am in the discernment process, because it recognizes that it is normal to have goals and desires within my own heart but also reminds me that God’s plan is the one that will remain.  With this realization, I can offer up my own desires to God and ask Him to shape my heart to desire what he desires for me.  

Katie Robertson

Katie Robertson , '16, is an exercise and sports science major from Overland Park, Kan. She is a student senator and Rockstar and is involved with R.A.K.E.R.S, SAB and Campus Ministry at Rockhurst University.

Who is He to you? Who is He to you? This question echoed in my ear as I sat in church early that Sunday morning. It kept vibrating in my mind as I left church and throughout the day. That simple question instigated a curiosity in my life as a Christian.  Finding God and then seeing Him in all things is an important task in being a follower.

To me, God is a faithful father. He has built each and every one of us with a plan and a purpose. God may set forth our path, but it is our job as individuals to choose our steps. Thanks to Him, I have been extremely blessed with a passion for people and serving others. Pursuing that in various directions has been the highlight of my life thus far, and I pray that – God willing – I can continue. 

We are taught from a young age to be leaders, to start revolutions and to “be the change.” But if we look at the bible, aren’t we truly called to be disciples or followers of Christ? So for my life, I don’t want to be a leader; I strive to be a follower of something greater than earthly things.

Trinidad Raj Molina Khatoon

Trinidad Raj Molina Khatoon III, '14,  is studying philosophy, Spanish, writing and theology. Kansas City is his hometown, where he loves First Fridays, Town Topic hamburgers and his hundreds of homeless friends. At Rockhurst, he is involved with a CLC and the Knights of Columbus; although, he currently lives in La Libertad, El Salvador.

What Calls Me?

I’m not sure.
I am very sure.

What am I called to do at some point in the future?
I definitely couldn’t tell you,
or myself.

I do know where I am right now, though.
(I live in El Salvador, by the way.)

People used to ask me last year,
“Why would you go there?”
Because I so love the world, I suppose.

I spend a lot of my time here on top of an active volcano
with a family in the campo,
which is what Americans would call 
poor peasant land.

And I’ve been adopted.

I’ve lived here.
I’ve slept here.
I eat their meals.
I make their tortillas,
which my Salvadoran mother appreciates because the men don’t cook here.
I am their new son.

Next week I’m even going to kill one of their chickens
because it’s finally fat enough to eat now.
My Salvadoran family has been anticipating my murdering of the chicken
for a few months now.
So have I,
very excitedly.

I love this volcano.
It’s quiet and still,
leaving only time for Leisure and Love
and especially
Fulfillment in Life.

This is where I am right now
at my favorite place on earth,
and this is where I belong,
Finally.

Stefani Paul

Stefani Paul, '14,  is majoring in communication and sciences disorders and psychology.  She is from Bainbridge Island, Wash., where she loves her Saint Cecelia Church community.  At Rockhurst she serves as desk manager for Corcoran hall, a CLC leader and the RAKers President.  Additionally, Stefani enjoys American Sign Language, photography and swimming. 

College is that time of your life when you are establishing who you are as a person.  As I always like to remind myself “God has some big plan for me” and in the end it’s all going to work out.  I am someone who learns from experience and strives for excellence.  I know that if I humble myself and slowly let go of my attachments to the material that I’ll grow closer to knowing God each day.  When I do things that address the real world and real issues, I am reminded of who God created me to be.  Volunteering at Operation Breakthrough took me off campus for a few hours each week.  Seeing the innocent faces of loving children from low-income backgrounds was truly touching.  It made me realize that life circumstances are often out of our control; however, being faithful to God is in our control – it’s a choice.  I believe that if we persevere, face the challenges life throws at us and place our hearts and trust in the Lord, we will slowly know ourselves, know the Lord and open hearts to what is to come.

Nick Traxler

Nicholas Traxler, '13, is studying political science and nonprofit leadership studies. He is from Mankato, Minnesota. Nick serves as the treasurer of his fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, and president of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association on campus. He also considers himself an amateur American Civil War historian.

The college years are characterized by some of the most fun you will have in your life. Living with friends, constantly enjoying their company, and living out your newfound independence equates to four years of fun and excitement. While we students are quick to cultivate the areas of our lives that equal fun times and exciting moments, we have a tendency to set aside or disregard completely our deepest desires for direction and purpose. Sometimes, too, we are guilty of tuning out God’s voice. Where do we go from there?

For me, when I begin to tune out my deeper desire to listen to God’s loving direction, I begin to feel like a dried out sponge. I am unable to absorb new experiences and be flexible with life’s many opportunities and challenges. Why then do we fear listening to our loving and forgiving God? For me, it is because I resent when God doesn’t give me answers. God, instead, helps us enter into life’s questions themselves. This can be a challenging notion for college students, who are constantly seeking “the answer” and “the truth” in life and on assignments.

My friends and classmates, I invite you to respond to God’s messages, even if they’re not on your cell phone or Facebook. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, even if His message is “Be Patient…”

Allison Body

Allison Body, '13,  is an English and theology major and art history minor who is involved in CLC, the Rockhurst Review, and Alpha Sigma Alpha, among other things.  Despite the lack of fellow Catholics, Allison loves Prague—it is the most beautiful place she has ever seen and she will never stop wanting to return there. 

Ironically, I am living in a desert of 100 spires.

I am studying abroad in Prague—called “The City of 100 Spires” for its beautiful churches—in the overwhelmingly atheist Czech Republic.  As of right now, I’ve not met a single practicing Catholic.

But the desert has always been the place to figure things out, and as a senior in college, I cannot escape the question of who I am called to be.  Before coming here, I thought I had a plan for my life.  But here in my spired desert I am seeing things differently, hearing callings that I’ve never heard before.  I love learning, dialoging, writing—and God.  In a European world that thinks it has become too sophisticated, too wise for the “hocus pocus” of Christianity, could my gifts be of service?  Am I humble enough, hardworking enough, and aligned with God enough to put those gifts to use?  The solitude of the desert allows me to reflect on these questions.

And even still, I have wandered through the Vatican at night, prayed in an empty cathedral, stumbled across adoration in a building I didn’t even recognize as a church.  I am finding enough water in the desert to keep going, keep discerning. 

Rachel Pearson

Rachel Pearson, '16, works at Trader Joe’s and in Campus Ministry as a photographer. She is a member of SAB, Student Senate and CLC, and is a Relay for Life Team Captain and a Rockstar. She enjoys long walks on the beach, a nice cup of coffee, and her St. Louis Cardinals.

God’s plan, what is it for me? We have a free will to do what we wish with our lives, and what if the path I have chosen isn’t what I’m called to take? In the previous years, the sciences were always something that I was good at. I received fairly high grades and it came easy for me. So when it came to college, why would I not major in a science? Frosh Get-A-Way was the first retreat that I ever attended, and I was skeptical about it to say the least. As the weekend went on and I engaged in the activities, I learned that I really don’t know who I am or who God is calling me to be.  Who’s to say that Biology is the field for me? There are so many more doors in my life that I have yet to even open and walk through. So how can I make a decision of what I want to do with my life if I only stick with what I am comfortable with? After some self-reflection time on Frosh Get-A-Way, I realized that maybe Biology isn’t the path that God is calling me to take. Maybe God is calling me to do something more with my life than simply what is most comfortable. So how do I find out who God is calling me to be? My next move is putting all my trust in God and remaining to open all of those doors that He has made available for me.

Molly Sova

Molly Sova, '14, is a an Omaha native and a nursing major.  She serves on Alpha Sigma Alpha’s e-board and was the junior coordinator for this year’s Frosh Get-A-Way retreat.  She is active in Christian Life Communities, Campus Ministry and service to the community.  Last year, she participated in the University’s spring break service-immersion trip to Belize.

The first month of school has quickly come and gone, and it has been full of new beginnings and changes. I have had to force myself to take a step back from all the craziness and reflect on two very important questions: “Who is God calling me to be?” and “What is God’s plan for me?” I thought that coming into my junior year here at Rockhurst I would have these questions answered by now or, at least, close to answered; however, to my surprise, I am far from having these questions answered.

I had the privilege of being a leader on Frosh-Get-A-Way.  Throughout the retreat, I saw the freshman being open to whatever was thrown their way. Seeing them being so open to new experiences made me reflect on my willingness to be open to new experiences and to the changes that come along with these experiences. I decided that I needed to start to trust more in God’s plan for me. Instead of wondering what He has planned next, I have started living more in the moment. In doing this for the past couple of weeks, I have come to realize that I need to trust more in God’s plan, no matter how challenging it may be. By doing this, I can become more of who God is calling me to be. Slowly but surely, I will discover who I am and what God wants for me. But until then, I am going to continue to live in the moment and to trust in the path that God has laid out for me.

Phil Hageman

Phil Hageman, '13, is a senior from Omaha, Nebraska, studying economics and pre-physical therapy.  He is a Frosh Get-A-Way leader (the one and only three-peat in the history of Frosh Get-A-Way), the president of Ambassadors, a member of the running club and Pi Kappa Alpha.

“Who is God calling me to be?” Finding the answer seems simple, right?….Wrong.  Trying to figure out who God wants me to be or what He wants me to do has not been easy.  Early on, I quickly realized that like many other good things in life, discovering who God is calling me to be would not come immediately nor easily.  At first, I struggled with determining if the life I was living was the one God wanted me to live.  However, as time went on and life brought new experiences, I felt as though I was coming closer to finding the things in life that truly make me happy.  It was through discovering these things that I feel I was able to come closer to finding the person God is calling me to be.  Through reflecting on these things, I came to understand that God wants me, you, and everyone else to be happy; therefore, finding and experiencing things that truly bring joy and happiness to you and others, does the same for God.  I’ve learned that reflecting and discerning upon the person God is calling you to be is an experience.  It is a process and gift that should be embraced and enjoyed.  There is no roadmap to discovering God’s plan, but from openness and the patience and courage to trust in the slow works of God, I have come to find a sense of peace and calm on my journey towards discerning God’s ongoing plan for my life.

Brigid Verhoff

Brigid Verhoff, '14, is from St. Louis, Missouri, and is majoring in Biology and Theology. She is a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, a leader and participant in Christian Life Community and will serve as a Frosh-Get-Away leader.  

The most daunting question I have been asked to answer is “Who is God?”  I believe that question can’t necessarily be answered in words but rather it needs to be answered in deeds. It takes a whole lifetime to answer that simple three-worded question, and the only way that someone can begin to answer “Who is God?”  is to begin to work towards finding the answer. If you don’t want to know God then you don’t have to, but God is going to fervently try to know you, even if it doesn’t seem like that. The actions and deeds don’t need to be something extravagant but rather something that you can learn and grow from. Continuously doing Christ-like deeds molds the consciousness to be more aware when those negative actions do take hold of our lives. The way to know that the conscious is being shaped is to reflect and discern those actions to see if Christ was present or if He was absent. So you ask me “Who God is?”  God is that person who helps when someone drops their books in the hallway, He is the person who smiles at you on your way to class, He is that late night conversation when everything seems to be crumbling beneath you. God has many faces and all you have to do is take a step back and look around at the people in your life. He’s not as far as you may think.

James Fister

James Fister, '14, is a History and French major from St. Louis, Missouri. He is a Resident Assistant in Corcoran Hall and gifted musician who plays with the Contemporary Ensemble at 6 p.m. student Masses

I had an opportunity this past weekend to reflect on the complexity of my own life. This past Sunday, my family was visiting a friend of ours, Fr. Tom Molini. Before dinner, Father said Mass for the six of us. I had never been at such a simple Mass, but, as Fr. Molini went on to tell us in his homily, that is the way Masses were celebrated by the original disciples of Christ; small groups would celebrate the mass in the privacy of their own homes, among friends. Just as there need not be a beautiful cathedral or a massive congregation for a Mass to be celebrated, I began to reflect on what could be simplified in my own life but still retain its inherent worth. Perhaps playing video games with a friend can turn into meaningful conversations; perhaps those daily Twisters from the Pub can turn into eating more nutritional and filling meals; perhaps waiting for 6pm on Sunday to pray can turn into a simple prayer each night. These are a few small ways I believe God wants me to simplify my life, and in doing so find more meaning and value in my actions.

Mary Schletzbaum

Mary Schletzbaum, '13, is from Atchison, Kansas, and will graduate with majors in global studies and psychology and minors in biology and economics. She is president of VOICES for Justice, a member of Christian Life Communities (CLC) and will serve as a Frosh-Get-A-Way leader. During the summer of 2012, she spent nine weeks in Tanzania teaching health education and sustainable agriculture as part of a service-learning program with Global Service Corps.

Sometimes we limit our futures by staking claim to our lives as if we have absolute control. Future plans tend to be based on security and are followed until an event inevitably shifts the path. Then, what?  Four years ago I moved into Rockhurst with a plan for success. The plan evolved, naturally, to integrate my talents with what moves me most. With the help of St. Ignatius' daily Examen I have reflected on this transformation and realized that who I am called to be is one who is transformed everyday into an improved version of my yesterday self. This calling is different from wanting to be someone; being called is acknowledging the shifted path and finding peace in the mystery ahead. This calling comes gradually in the middle of lectures, during days of service, or at the breaking points of late nights, revealing how today can be lived with a greater purpose. To receive who we are called to be is to receive ourselves with love at all stages of this transformation. To receive what we are called to do is to trust our transformed selves to follow the Spirit as It guides us down the uncharted path ahead.

2011-12: Finding God in All Things

Elizabeth Reid

Elizabeth Reid, '12, is majoring in Spanish and psychology with minors in biology and theology. She spent her four years as a Hawk involved in Executive Board of VOICES for JUSTICE, leading a Christian Life Community (CLC), Student Ambassadors, and Orientation. She moves on from the Nest to serve as a Jesuit Volunteer in Belize City, Belize, where she will work as a social worker for Hand in Hand Ministries.

My favorite image of God comes to me through the words of Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, in his book Tattoos on the Heart, where he describes a God who is always too busy loving who we are to spend any time being disappointed in us. Fr. Boyle reflects that the sacred place toward which God has been nudging us all our lives is not be arrived at, but simply discovered. What a freedom it is to know that we are exactly what God had in mind when God created us—right now, this day!

As my time left as a Hawk wanes with each passing exam and campus event, I’ve come to recognize that one area of my life in which God is present is my mourning. It’s taken me four years to realize it, but God has been finding me all along, working through each and every one of my experiences at Rockhurst—the intense joys, the doubts, the challenges that pushed me further than I ever could have imagined, the transformations, the frustrations that inspired me to strive for more, and especially, the beloved friendships. All of these have led me to exactly where I need to be right now, gracias a Dios. How rich that this is the life God desires for all of us: to stand on the edge of something that has been so wonderful, knowing that it fills us with great sadness to leave, while simultaneously looking ahead with excitement toward each new day, because the same God who journeyed with us up to this point will continue to accompany us through every step of the way. ¡Qué rico! God in all things.

Lynsey Riemann

Lynsey Riemann, '15, is majoring in communication sciences and disorders and psychology, with a minor in theology. She is an active member of a Christian Life Community (CLC), Student Activities Board (SAB), and Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority (ASA).

As a freshman here at Rockhurst, I have found God in the daily blessings God gives me, whether it be meeting a new friend or chatting with old friends on the Quad. God has been in my life to reach out to people who maybe are not following Him 100%. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and this is exactly what my goal is at Rockhurst - for everyone to hear the Good News of the Gospel.  Throughout the year, I have dived into His word and have newly found my life verse, Romans 2:12 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will." God has called us to be like Him, not of this world and its desires. I believe that if we reach to be more like Him, we will see God in all aspects of our life each and every day.

Frank Kane

Frank Kane, '14, is majoring in political science and philosophy. Hailing from Denver, he is involved in the Knights of Columbus, Social Mentors, CLC, and the Kansas City branch of the National Sports Center for the Disabled. He maintains an unending passion for writing and politics.

Over the years, through activities at Regis High School, ski racing, service on the board of Children’s Hospital, and various organizations here on campus (i.e. Knights of Columbus and Social Mentors), I have retained a passion for helping others embrace as unique what sets them apart as individuals. Merely in striving to help them accomplish this, I realize I have invited them to find God in their differences and handicaps and, thus, in all things. I have always believed that wherever good can be found, so too can God, and vice versa. This belief continually compels  me to encounter God’s hand in an area of my life where many overlook it: my gait. Though the way in which I move is easily my most distinctive feature and does not come without certain setbacks, it remains something for which I give daily thanks to God and everyone around me. My gait more often than not allows me to bring out the best in those I love and in those whom I meet on campus each day. In bringing out the best in those I love and encounter, I am hopefully better able find God in those people whom I often find it more difficult to love and to embrace.

Meaghan Fanning

Meaghan Fanning, '12, is majoring in nonprofit leadership studies and theology and religious studies, as well as minoring in philosophy. She was deeply formed by her years spent on the Executive Board of VOICES for JUSTICE and leading her beloved CLC. Meaghan plans to begin a Masters in Social Work program in fall 2012.

The poet Hafiz writes, “Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, ‘You owe me.’  Look what happens with a love like that—it lights up the whole sky.”  We hear the phrase “unconditional love” on a regular basis.  How often do we pause to ask what this really means?  To love without conditions, without limits.  How could we ever do this?  I take comfort in the fact that knowing and truly believing that we are made in the likeness of God and that means that we are created to love.  It is God’s joy to love us, and it should be our joy to love one another.  I find God in the pleasantries and drudgeries of everyday life – the life that sometimes feels like paradise and sometimes feels like we are walking against a hard, freezing wind.  But within that life, every day, is the opportunity to show people around us how much we love them. Anne Lamott shares her reflections on simple love and friendship: “All you can do is show up for someone.  But when you do, it can radically change everything.  Your there-ness can be life giving.  So you come to keep them company, even when it feels like the whole world is falling apart, and your being there says for just this moment, this one tiny piece of the world is okay.”  To love is to show others God, to allow them to feel beloved on this earth.

Charli Bultmann

Charli Bultmann, '14, is a biology major hailing from Carrollton, Mo. She is a Student Ambassador, member of Phi Delta Epsilon, Zeta Tau Alpha, and CLC. At this year’s Easter Vigil, Charli received her first communion and was confirmed into the Catholic Church.

It is difficult for me to pinpoint a specific moment in which I have found God, especially during this past year at Rockhurst. This year has been more of a journey on the path of creating a beautiful relationship with God for me.  I have seen God while walking to classes when I see the sun shining so brightly and the sky hovering above me in its rich blue color.  I have especially become aware of God lately in the budding of new life in the trees and flowers all over campus.  But God is not only present in these things; this year, more than ever, I have seen God in the people in my life. My family, close friends, and even acquaintances have been compassionate and thoughtful in ways I never realized before.  It is every person around me that makes me see God.  He is in all of us in one way or another.  I believe that it is our experiences with others that truly help us to find God.  These experiences unite us not only as a Rockhurst community but also as a community of God.

Katherine Hoffman

Katherine Hoffman, '12, is a first-year doctoral student in the physical therapy program. A native of Trenton, Mo., Katherine was involved in CLC as both a leader and member, ASA and APO as an undergraduate. She also participated in two spring break service trips: one to Guatemala and one to West Virginia.

I have found God in an array of expected and unexpected moments that have been knit together to create a unique tapestry of memories. Sometimes, God appears in obvious ways like enjoying the beautiful blooming tulips and other gifts of spring in nature as I walk through campus to class each day. At times, I feel as though the warm rays of sunshine are simply God’s emanating love flowing down from above. Other times, I find God in life’s sweetest moments, for example exchanging a much-needed hug with a good Rockhurst pal after a trying day. These moments remind me not only of God’s goodness but how if I look for him I can find him in others’ actions. However, finding God doesn’t always happen in the obvious or sweet instances in life. At times, I have found God in bitter, unexpected experiences that I don’t understand. For example, I have uncovered God during service immersion trips in glimpsing the poverty of the individuals living in the place I was visiting, whether that was domestically in West Virginia or abroad in Guatemala. In these moments, I have found it important to hold the experience not trying to change it but accepting the experience for what it is and acknowledging God’s presence. It requires trust in Him and openness to his greatness to accept these moments and to add them to the diverse and beautiful tapestry of life that God is creating for me. My hope for each of you is that you embrace all of the opportunities in your life to find God. May you be open to the impact those memories can have in your life as pieces knitted into the tapestry of life that God is creating for and with you.

Theresa Kiblinger

Theresa Kiblinger, '13, is a junior from Cape Girardeau, Mo. She is a nursing student minoring in French. She has been involved with CLC, ambassadors, Alpha Sigma Nu and French Club during. Theresa spent the 2011 Christmas break serving in Uganda and Summer 2012 serving in both Uganda and Kenya. 

If we do not expect to find God in all things and look for Him in our daily lives, we can miss wonderful opportunities for help, healing, and happiness.  It seems the most unexpected and unusual times, when I am not outwardly searching for God, are the times when He becomes the most present in my life.  Recently, I have learned to find God when I stumble off of His path or fall into sin.  It is through my failings that I turn to God even more for acceptance, grace, and mercy.  I have quickly realized that when I begin straying off of God’s path, He enters right into the mess I have created and picks me up again.  These times of sin and failing, where God once again renews my life, often leave me in awe of His goodness, His powerfulness, and His relentless and unconditional love.  Even though I may cause God pain and suffering, He is always there when I call on Him to pick me up, love me completely, and set me on the right path.  Time and time again, that is when I find God and feel His abundant love.  So I encourage you to open your hearts to the possibilities of finding God in the most unexpected places whether it is in a smile on the quad, a conversation with a friend, or even in our sins and failings because God is constantly surrounding each one of us.

Josh Goralski

Josh Goralski, '13, is from Naperville, Ill., and is studying nonprofit leadership studies, accounting and trying to fit in economics. He is involved in with student senate, various campus ministry activities, desk manager in Corcoran, and involved with the social entrepreneurship initiative.  

Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” Fr. Pedro Arrupe S.J.

In my two years at Rockhurst, I have felt the warmth of God’s presence and love in countless ways. I felt this as I entered Rockhurst with our entire class giving up a few hours to do service before embarking on our journey here. Additionally, I have continued to find God and fall in love with him through the retreats offered by Campus Ministry, conversations with friends, and speakers on campus like Fr. Boyle.

When I traveled to Haiti with a group of Rockhurst students over winter break, I experienced falling in love with God once again. I not only found God in the people we met, but I found God in each person in our group. I remember constantly thinking over the week our group was truly in love with helping to empower others. The group had agreed to take on a multi-year project to help the people of Duchity, Haiti. I think to myself that truly we all felt the love of God leading us to go on this trip. Throughout the whole trip, I just felt like God was there, blessing us with safe travels, productive meetings, memorable experiences that will not soon be forgotten, good weather and great conservation. There is something special when you are with a group of people that are called by a common love and are all on the journey to find God.

So, I encourage you in the spirit of Pedro Arrupe to let yourself fall in love with God.

Christiana Troupe

Christiana Troupe, '12, hails from Lee's Summit,Mo. She is a self-proclaimed health nut who is pursuing a degree in finance and economics. In her college career, she has served as an ambassador, resident assistant, orientation leader, social mentor, and frosh get-a-way leader. In her future career, she has a heart to one day bring justice to victims of human trafficking and participate in global development initiatives.

In the past few months, God has been teaching me how to find Him in my weakness. Weakness. Not exactly a word with a positive connotation, but let me explain. My entire life, I have found it incredibly difficult to accept the idea that God loves me APART from what I do for Him, that His love is completely free. For this reason, I have only ever known striving – striving to earn God’s love and approval that I already have. No matter how irrational, I’ve operated from the belief that if I could perform well enough, I could somehow earn what I knew I could never deserve. And I would continually fall flat on my face, feeling ever more distant from Him with each stride to “be enough.”

A few months ago, I was confronted with the reality that all along I had been striving to do instead of be.  What I had lost sight of is that “Jesus lived the life we could not live and died the death we should have died.” Not only do I not have to earn His love, but I couldn’t even if I wanted to - HE has made me worthy. Because I accept this truth, He calls me His daughter and that is who I am, regardless of whether I feel it. It is TRUTH.

Since then, God has been taking me on a journey of learning how to stop the striving and just receive His free love. I have been learning to live out of the truth of who He says that I am, to be loosed of unnecessary expectations. I am being set free to love Him, not as a burden, but as a joy. I am finally free to delight in my Father as He delights over me. I am enough solely because He loves me.

Veronica Immethun

Veronica Immethun, '12, is majoring in communication sciences and disorders and hopes to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. 

At first, the task of writing an entry for this seemed daunting. To this day, I still struggle with the concept of God and even believing in God (scandalous, I know). As I got to thinking, I found that this is not about discussing my devotedness to everything God and Christian; it’s about finding the small things on campus that bring me, and other students, peace of mind and heart.  Location is the first thing that came to mind. From on campus, Rockhurst feels safe and secluded (for me at least). If you were dropped from the sky onto campus, you would not know that you were in the middle of the city. But, Rockhurst is a haven – safe and welcoming. That definitely brings me peace. I then started to think about the people. Being a small college lends to this, but everyone makes things personal. The people here take their time to listen, understand, and help those around them, whether or not they are a student; they genuinely care about others. I found this comforting as well. So even though I am not the firmest of believers, I believe God can be found everywhere at Rockhurst through the peace of mind and kindness this university provides.

John Rios

John Rios, '12, is from Dallas, Texas. He is majoring in Leadership Studies and Psychology and plans to pursue a graduate degree in Higher Education. He is a Resident Assistant, Member of the Social Mentor Steering Committee, Ambassador, and Vice President of Social Affairs in Alpha Delta Gamma.

Before coming to Rockhurst, I had no concept of the Jesuit core values or even what a Jesuit school was for that matter. Upon stepping on campus, something felt different. I didn’t know how to explain it or even how to describe it. However, in my two and a half years here I know what makes Rockhurst so distinct! It is the people. Although it is a simple and short answer, this is also where I find God at Rockhurst University. He is present in the genuine caring relationships that exist between students and staff alike. He is visible to me when Jane in the Pub greets me with a smile, when Bill Kriege asks me how I’m doing, or when I see Fr. Curran spending time with students in the cafe. Although these things are small and simple, they remind of why I came here and serve as a constant reminder that God is present here at Rockhurst. Like my response, I like to keep things simple. For, one it eliminates confusion, plus it makes it harder for the little stuff like these simple actions to go unnoticed. So maybe this is not how you find God - that is up for you to decide as this is defined by each individual. These reflections just serve as reminders that He is always present in every situation in different ways, and it is your job to find Him. I wish you good luck on your search!

Colleen Smyth

Colleen Smyth, '13, is from St. Louis, Mo. She hopes major in an area of business and minor in Non-Profit Studies (maybe Theology too, if she can fit it in). Colleen is the service chair of VOICES for Justice, an active member in both Alpha Sigma Alpha and CLC, and also serves as an Ambassador.

Before you pass over this message, I invite you to take a second to just stop. Catch your breath. Let you mind rest for a second.

“God is love and love is God.” 1 John 4:8.

In order for me to find God in all things, I remember that I must find LOVE in all things. When I think about love, I am brought back to Pedro Arrupe, SJ’s poem that begins, “Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute and final way.”  I believe that college is the time to discover what we are in love with from causes like Relay for Life or being more “green” to being in love with subjects like Western Civilization or Marketing to being in love with others through service or in community. However, Rockhurst is not just about learning what we are in love with but how to let that love shape our lives. As Arrupe says, “It will decide what will get you up in the morning…how you spend your weekends…what amazes you with joy and gratitude.”  Who doesn’t want a life filled with love, a love that Arrupe says will even “decide what breaks your heart”?  One thing that most breaks my heart is knowing that there are people on campus who doubt that they are loved or have trouble recognizing that love. In being called to act as women and men for and with others, not only do we, as a Rockhurst community,  have the responsibility to find His love in all things, but more importantly, we need to be committed to share that love. I am so blessed to call myself a Rockhurst student striving to live a life that beats for others in good times and in challenging times.  I pray that we always remember, “fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.“ By doing this, we will have found God in everything.

Rodolfo Gauto-Mariotti

Rodolfo Gauto-Mariotti is a junior from Asunción, Paraguay. He is majoring in economics and marketing, and is a student athlete on the men's tennis team.

Every athlete at Rockhurst has sacrificed years of his or her life to training. They have worked on technique, conditioning, strategy and mental strength in order to excel and be selected for a position on a college team. This journey can be quite solitary, but when athletes join their new teams they become part of something so great that they will cherish for the rest of their lives. The team becomes their new family and with them they live and share every experience college has to offer. A tough win becomes an unforgettable moment when you can celebrate it with those who truly understand how much effort was put forth. A bad day is not the end of the world when you have teammates to count on to step in and get the job done for you. Teammates make long van rides and morning workouts bearable and even enjoyable. We might not know it or acknowledge it, but we find God everyday in the people who run next to us, those who wear the same uniform as us, and face our same opponents. We find God in the opportunity to get an education, travel to different cities and meet new people while playing the sport we love. Being a student athlete is a true privilege, an opportunity to grow and take care of the whole person. I did not know it at the time, but from the moment I became part of the Rockhurst Tennis team, I received a gift so great, it can only come from God.

Byron Gilman

Byron Gilman, '12, is an English and theology undergrad from Omaha, Neb. Byron is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, Sigma Tau Delta and Theta Alpha Kappan. He plans to pursue a masters degree in English.

Peace!
Be Still!

Pause, if only briefly, from the world around you.

Be Awake! You stand on holy ground. Breathe in. That air in your lungs?
It is the Breath of God,
the same God who breathed His last,
of the same air, on the same earth,
in the same world where you stand now.

And God blessed the world then,
just as He did at Creation,
just as He does today.

And so the air you breathe,
the ground and all its bugs,
the squirrels in the trees,
the shoes on your feet,
the wool in your sweater,
every last hair on your head-
is just as touched by the presence of God.

Pause, if only briefly, from the world around you.

Peace!
Be Still!

Leandra Stuckey

Leandra Stuckey, '13, is double majoring in political science and exercise and sport science. She is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, the University’s service fraternity, and is a cheerleader.

 The spirit of God is in the wind, blowing where it pleases, and it chooses to blow around Rockhurst. As I walk to class and see the leaves falling gently from the trees guided by the wind, I know God is there. He is everywhere around me. In the simplest action of breathing in the chilly fall air, He is there giving me the breath to continue living. He is there in the breeze that caresses my face when I step outside of Sedgwick. I don’t have to witness a miracle to know the goodness of God. When I was walking around campus one day, I noticed a leaf being blown across my path. It didn’t stay in front of me for more than a few seconds before the wind picked it up and carried it a little farther from me. This kept happening until the leaf landed on one of the cement benches. Again it didn’t stay there for long because another gust of wind came and blew it up again. The leaf had no control over where it was blown, it was determined by the wind. The same is true for me. The wind has led me to Rockhurst for a reason. This is where I will let the spirit guide me in my adventures here.

Gabe Jones

Gabe Jones, '11, is currently an MBA student and member of the men’s basketball team. He earned his BA in political science and economics and minors in business administration and philosophy. During his undergraduate years, Gabe was a member of Alpha Delta Gamma, Hawks for Life and the Social Mentors Steering Committee.

Finding perfection within imperfection can sometimes be a challenging task.  As students, the imperfection often becomes burdensome and can be nearly overwhelming.  The tough classes, our problems with friends or family, or even running out of points in the Cafe remind us that the world is rarely a perfect place.  Yet, when we try to find God in all things we try to do just that: find some measure of perfection in an otherwise fallen world.  That perfection could be a beautiful flower growing through the sidewalk, a perfect sunset, or even a rainy day.  But all the disorder and disappointment in our lives can make finding God a very difficult objective.  I often remind myself of the phrase “every cloud has a silver lining.”  For me, this captures the essence of finding God in all things.  No matter the situation, good or bad, I try to remind myself that God is here and in control.  When things go well, I find God by being thankful for what He has given me; when things are not so great, I try to find that “silver lining” that is God and thank Him for even the smallest graces.  Regardless of how things are going, God has a plan and will not let the imperfections completely “cloud” our search for His perfection.  God is there: we just have to be courageous enough to look through the fog and find Him.

Danny Duggan

Danny Duggan, '14, is a proud resident of St. Louis, a Rockhurst Student Ambassador and a CLC coordinator.

Although seemingly simple, the way in which I have found God so far this year becomes a complex experience for which I am forever grateful. With help and inspiration from those around me, I have truly begun to cherish the rising and setting of the sun and the beauty of this event on as many occasions as I can. Although I find myself having some late nights of studying, there are those special days whenI am able to be disciplined enough, wake up from my sleep and have an early to start to my day by jogging around campus. The peace that encompasses the campus at this time is the same that’s in my heart realizing the good works I have been able to accomplish at this University and those I will be challenged to in the future. As the sun is rising from the east, I thoughtlessly direct my attention towards the Town Houses feeling a quick chill of happiness thinking of all the memories my friends and I have created throughout this school year. Shifting my focus to see Corcoran Hall, as I continue my run, I appreciate the moments of growth I experienced while living there my first year here and in campus life this year as well. The silence of Rockhurst is awakened as the sun rises, promising a day of beauty and continual serenity.  I find God when I walk through the quad as I stop to peer into the trees to experience the full-fledged sun shining through reminding me He is staying by my side each day. The hustle and bustle of the academic and social life is always in full gear only to slow down as the sun begins to drop off to into the west. The Bell Tower and pergola offer a place for my friends and I to rest our heads as the sky begins to turn into a cotton-candy-looking clouded swirl of beauty and the sun quickly displays its splendor. I can’t help but see the sun splashing off of the academic buildings allowing Him to remind me of my appreciation for the life of college-ruled notebooks, folders, binders and the other necessitiessurrounding the classroom. With the rising and the setting of the sun, I am graced with the feeling of gratitude for this environment of learning, leadership and service,and most importantly for each person that the Son has warmed the heart of and allowed to change my life, without fail, each and every day.

Samantha Gormley

Samantha Gormley, '13, is a psychology major from Bartlesville, Okla. She is involved with CLC, Social Mentors, RAKERS, the Honors Program, Greek Life, and serves as an Orientation Coordinator and Eucharistic Minister.

How do I find God?  Well, that’s the question of the hour, isn’t it?  After much consideration and thought, I’ve come to realize that my encounters with God come not so much from me searching for Him, but rather His determination to pursue me.  Whether these experiences arise from a friend who wants to talk at the most inopportune time and ends up saying some of the most beautiful and loving things I could have needed to hear at that moment, or simply a perfect wind that flows through the Quad when my frustrations are running high, it is the moments I have no control over that I find God.  It is the moments I delight in the wonders around me and realize how thoroughly and completely my Creator has cared and provided for me.  God is in the professor that works with me to create a service learning option.  God is in the Sodexo employee who offers me my much appreciated chicken nuggets with a smile, even when the hours are long.  God is in the perfect song that comes on the radio or in the Pub.  He is in the challenges that bring out the best in me, even when it is most difficult, but rewarding, creating me anew and creating me as I was meant to be.

Steven Bokel

Steven Bokel, '13, is currently studying at The John Felice Rome Center in Rome, Italy. He is a business accounting and philosophy major, and a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi (business fraternity) and Christian Life Community (CLC). 

I oftentimes find myself reciting the words of Father Kolvenbach, SJ, “. . . to discern what is really happening in your life and in the lives of others, to find God there and to discover where he is calling you.” Where is God and how does he fit into the equation of my life? Making the decision to study abroad was not one made lightly. In choosing to leave, I had to sacrifice many of the things I loved most in this life and, what's worse, I was asking my friends and family to do the same. Finding God has not always been easy but there have been key moments in life where I have felt God's call to action, this semester abroad has certainly been one of them. I have found God in the splendor of Florence, the antiquity ofRome, and the faith of Warsaw. Most importantly, I have found God in the generosity of the people I encounter and all those back how who won't let me waste my time here. In my travels, I have learned that all people, not just Americans or Europeans, but allpeople are basically good. We all have that urge to help someone in need- to be empathetic. We are all the children of God.  I have found God in our willingness to give, to help, and have faith that the light will overcome the darkness.

Hero Balani

Hero Balani, '15, is an international transfer student from Belize City, Belize. He has recently joined the Rockhurst family and is majoring in international business at the Helzberg School of Management. Hero is currently working for The Rockhurst Fund as well as Sodexo. He is also a member of P.E.E.R.S, a prospective member of Delta Sigma Pi (the business fraternity), and is looking into further student leadership organizations in his semesters to come at Rockhurst.

One day, I look outside the window from the Xavier Loyola Residence Hall. There is silence all around and my eyes rest upon a pile of leaves that had fallen from the trees. They were stationary, dry, dead, cold: then suddenly, they start moving! Twisting and twirling as if dancing on the ground in joy that they were alive. I then took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and felt God’s magnificent presence there and then, all around me. Through his powerful forces: he keeps the entire universe moving, he keeps the earth spinning day to day, he brings new life to each and every one of us through his guiding hand. I see God in the motions of the daily life at Rockhurst. In the students that go from class to class, in the professors that instruct with vigor and confidence, in the administrators that move from meeting to meeting ensuring the success of Rockhurst, in the Sodexo staff who rush to give students their meals, in the hands of students who provide service (Joplin Retreat) and even from the simplest motion in the environment such as the little squirrels that run across the commons: God is present! Give it some thought and reflect on it. What makes you wake up in the mornings and get out of bed and do what you do best in your day? He is there. He is moving all of us, and you can feel him and will find him in all things around you, even in your daily activities. Just stop for a minute, close your eyes and take a deep breath, you’ll see.

Emily Mazzoni

Emily Mazzoni, '14, is a St. Louis native. She is majoring in elementary education, secondary education, mathematics and Spanish. Additionally, Emily is an R.A., VP of Student Senate, Orientation Leader, Social Mentor, SI for Spanish, Ambassador, P.E.E.R.S. executive member, a member of CLC and involved with numerous other clubs and activities on campus.

I find God in watching others experience small joys that make Rockhurst the unique University that it is.  I see the joy people get from feeling the mist of the fountains, squishing the warm sand between their toes during a game of sand volleyball, and hearing Jane yell out the newest twister order.  People smile as they walk by the seemingly random blue cow and they laugh as they are engulfed in the bubbles of the foam dance party.  It is in watching people during these instances - some daily, others rarer – that I see God.  All of these events turn our ordinary moments into an extraordinary experience.  It is through the smiles and laughter of my fellow students, the faculty, and the staff that I encounter God here at Rockhurst, for which I am truly blessed.  In such simple joy there is such great power.  God gives us the opportunity to be joyful each day, and I constantly witness the members of the Rockhurst community expressing that joy which reminds me that God is present in all things.

Alan Ratermann

Alan Ratermann, '15, is from St. Louis, Mo., and is currently undecided in his major. He is involved on campus with Rockstars, Student Senate, Running Club, and CLC.

I like to relate my search for God in all things to a seek-and-find puzzle. I know He is in my life and experiences, but at times I need to look harder or look at the puzzle in a different way. Sometimes I may not find the words I am looking for in the order I had originally planned; similarly, I may not discover things about God and myself until I give up my preconceived plans. Reflecting on the recent Frosh Get-A-Way, I went in looking for God with a specific plan of action. I would look for Him in the people I talked to and in my own thoughts. Well, needless to say that isn’t how it worked. Although I found God in talking to people, I also saw Him in their actions and encouragement towards one another. I thought I knew what I needed. During the retreat weekend, I felt as if God was searching for me, not the other way around. The realization that He wants to be a part of my life is an incredible revelation. Being open to experiencing God in all aspects of life reminds me to never let my own plans or ideas get in the way of knowing God.

Joe Evans

Joe Evans, '12, is from Omaha, Neb. and is majoring in Spanish. He is an active member of a CLC, has participated in domestic and international service trips, and has cut, split and stacked plenty of firewood on several Lumberjack Service Retreats.

I have been very fortunate during my time at Rockhurst to participate in two different spring break service trips. These service trips allowed me to encounter God sometimes in ways that I typically would not expect. During these experiences I have found God in both the people I served and also those who I served with. By allowing myself to be fully present with the people I served felt I was able to find God. I often encountered God in their positive outlook on life and in their sense of humor, despite their struggles. Although sometimes it seems that the people I served were very different from me, I have found that despite these differences you probably share more similarities than you think. It’s these commonalities that allowed me to open up to them and allowed me to see God in them. Returning from these trips has also made me realize that God is not just found in service in a place far from home, but can also be found right in our own backyards. Although we can often get caught up in our own problems in our lives, I have realized that by taking the time to serve others can open your heart and mind to God.

Amanda Schumacher

Amanda Schumacher, '14, is a pre-med student majoring  in biochemistry and Spanish. Amanda is an Ambassador, Resident Assistant, member of ASA and CLC, and a Frosh Get A-Way retreat leader.

I have felt God at Rockhurst in the people that surround me day in and day out because they exemplify His presence to me. I think God shines through the faculty and staff as they use their gifts and talents to inspire and lead students. He is in the athletes, as they pursue excellence on the field and on the court. God makes himself known to me through my residents and their joy, energy and generosity to each other and our floor. He is there in the Sodexo employees and the maintenance and custodial staff as they willingly and graciously perform their jobs with respect, discipline, and enthusiasm. He is in all students as they encourage one another and take on the challenge of becoming a better version of themselves to discover their passions and make their contribution in the world. God is truly present at Rockhurst University and I consider myself incredibly blessed to be a part of such an enriching place. It is through the people of this community and their compassion and charity that I have seen the face of God and learned more about my faith, the world and myself.

Anna Alfonsin

Anna Alfonsin, '12, is a nursing major from Overland Park, Kan. She is a member of the women’s soccer team and CLC. 

In a perfect world, finding God in all things would be a simple task every day.  I grew up in a family that encouraged finding God in everything around us.   As I grew older I began to hear the question, “If God is everywhere then why is there tragedy in our world?”  Tragedy is an obstacle that can make our search for God a little more difficult, but with our faith, we can definitely overcome this obstacle.  I have seen, especially in the past few years that our community response to tragedy is God reaching out to those in need.  Natural disasters, family disputes or tragedies,  and war have all plagued our world.  I am always so inspired by the aid sent to victims and the support that can arise from our society today.  It is in those moments that I have seen my favorite image of God in all things.  One of my favorite quotes that  I’ve learned to use in times of crisis is, “If God brings you to it, God will bring you through it.” He’s always around, but sometimes we may have to look past what is right in front of us in order to find Him.

David Wallisch

David Wallisch, '12, is an accounting major from Loveland, Colo. He is on the Executive Board of SAB, serves as the Homecoming Committee Co-Chair, is a member of Alpha Delta Gamma and a Sodexo employee. Throughout his years at Rockhurst, David has truly exemplified the Jesuit ideal of being a man for and with others, something evidenced in his commitment to weekly service at St. James soup kitchen.

Finding God in all things is a Jesuit core value that can be interpreted in many different ways.  When I think about this core value, I am reminded of the Gospel of Matthew when the Lord says to his disciples, "As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."  To me, Finding God in all Things is a way of explaining the need for service to others in our daily lives.  During a recent service opportunity, I had someone who was down on his luck come to receive dinner.  Despite his physical disabilities, he stayed to help me finish cleaning.  He then told me that he "tries to do a little bit of good everywhere he goes."  This was a great reminder to me of our ability to Find God in all Things every day by doing a little bit of good for those around us; whether it is holding the door for the person behind us, flashing a smile at someone having a bad day, or volunteering in the community.