Run the Race: 2012 Caritas Veritas Symposium
Dashing from one end of campus to the other, I overheard two students snickering:
“So-and-so keeps posting stuff on Facebook about Dominican, like really sappy stuff.”
“Is she serious, or is she just messing around?”
“No she’s serious, she reeeeeally likes Dominican.”
To be honest, I think the people gossiping were talking about me. And I am totally okay with that. I’m a student of Dominican University and proud of it, and if I plaster my news feed with pictures of ivy and arches, so be it.
The 2012 Caritas Veritas Symposium offered a special opportunity to bombard my social media handles with Dominican pride. At the Symposium, the Dominican community spent an entire day talking about love and truth in applicable ways. “From Motto to Mission to Manifestation,” the theme of this year’s Symposium, was an alliteration-loaded way of saying “so we know love and truth are important, now what do they look like?”
I remember a situation at DU’s Welcome Weekend where I got my first taste of the 2012 Caritas Veritas Symposium. Kari from the Siena Center offered me free candy and a pin if I would sit down and register on the spot. Tempting as the candy was, I let her know that I couldn’t sit down and decide right away which sessions I wanted to attend. Even the descriptions of the sessions sent my mind racing: Silent Music, Interreligious Dialogue, Countering Bigotry, Universal Citizenship…—big words with big implications. As one student put it, “It’s frustrating that I can only attend one presentation per session.”
The Opening Plenary Session was a special opportunity for me to celebrate the day through song. Amy Omi, our Liturgical Music Minister directed an upbeat and exciting opening song with percussion and dancing. I know it’s going to be a good time when Amy looks at me in rehearsal and says “and I want you to add some tambourine here. Just do whatever you want” (Yes! *mental fist pump*). The song, Festival Gathering, was oh so Dominican:
Come all you people, come and praise your maker! Come now and worship the Lord!
Alabare, alabare, alabare a mi Senor!
Plenty good room, plenty good room, plenty good room at my Father’s table; Plenty good room, plenty good room, so choose your seat and sit down!
All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place!
Overall, the day was exciting, enriching, and fun. I recall sitting in a session and consciously closing my jaw, which had dropped open in surprise at Dean Carlson’s description of Interfaith dialogue. The jaw-dropping message I took away from his talk, Hard to be a Saint in the City: Interreligious Dialogue and Catholicism was that God transcends the boundaries of human-defined religion, not just between groups of people, but even within the individual. It would be possible, then, for someone to be both Muslim and Catholic. Woah. Mind blown.
In other sessions, I recall massaging my jaw, sore from being awkwardly clenched in my thinking face. Two students’ presentations, David Gayes’ Physical Difference and the Scripture and Teren Patla’s Diversitas offered differing perspectives on disability. Being friends with both of these students, I found it interesting to hear about their experiences and thoughts about living with a disability in a Christian and/or secular environment. Other sessions, Understanding Our Personal Attitude Toward Mental Illness, featuring Thomas Aquinas and Michael Foucault, accompanied by The Gentle Touch of Caritas et Veritas on the Red Hand of Ulster: Dominican University’s Contribution to the Northern Ireland Peace Process were, as indicated by their loaded titles, wildly thought-provoking and heartstring-pulling. My Voice and Diction teacher might have something to say about improper jaw habits, but if anything, it means my brain was working on overload and my heart was tugging me in a zillion directions.
I am sure I am not alone in considering the 2012 Caritas Veritas Symposium a success. It is just a step, though, in a sort of love and truth marathon. Dominican not only walks the walk and talks the talk, but it also runs the race and tweets the truth! Through professors’ specialties, staff members’ expertise, and students’ curiosities, the DU community strides toward truth and love in tangible, impactful ways.
Keep running the race toward a more just and humane world, DU! Pace yourselves well, stop for water and a stretch, and share your journey with the rest of the Dominican University community. You might even add a hashtag.