I have gone to Catholic school for my entire life, so it only seemed right that I chose to go to a Catholic University. As I looked at Neumann, I saw it was always described as “Franciscan”, but that really did not mean much to me. Yes, I knew Saint Francis was a saint and he liked animals…but that was the extent of what I knew about him. Now I am a senior, and I have taken Theology 101, so I have learned a bit about the life of Francis-- his early life, his conversion and solidarity with the poor. But what really sticks with me is the lessons we can learn from the life of St. Francis, and how we can live out his values every day so easily, even on campus.
I think I have had to write a paper on the RISES values in at least half of my classes at Neumann, but this just goes to prove how strongly we are connected to the life of Francis on campus. During Franciscan Mission Week, we celebrate what our mission is so strongly found on, the Franciscan tradition. I think it is great to celebrate Francis for a week, but it is imperative that we live out this mission throughout the entire year, our RISES values. Reverence, seeing the value in every person as a child of God. Integrity, acting honestly always, even when our professors and vice presidents are not watching. Service, so easy as helping one another with love. Excellence, being our best always; and finally stewardship, receiving and using our resources as God has given to us.
My personal favorite value that Neumann has instilled upon me is service. I do not think that service must be any great act like going to another country or spending a day at the homeless shelter. These acts of service are nice too, don’t get me wrong, but service can so simply be showing love to someone, taking time out of your day to help another person. Showing someone that they matter because they are our brothers and sisters. How incredible would our world be if we could show love all the time to everyone? I know I struggle with always showing love and sharing my gifts with others. I think that there is something to be said for trying though. By showing love and being of service to others, we are living like Francis did.
Franciscan Mission Week is a great reminder for me to remember what my university has taught me on how to live my life. As we celebrate Francis this week, I challenge you to think of how you are living your life like Francis did. I challenge you to live like Francis throughout the entire year, not just during his week.