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Message From Sister Joan: Widen Your World

Sister Joan Lescinski

March 2017


In November, I had the privilege of delivering the commencement address to graduates of Carlow College, an institution that was founded in 1793 and is the oldest Catholic college in Ireland.

Established nearly a century later, St. Ambrose University has a shared history with Carlow College. The Most Rev. James Davis, the Diocese of Davenport bishop who had a significant role in our school's early growth, was ordained into the priesthood in 1878 in the very Cathedral where I spoke to his alma mater's most recent graduating class.

Our connections continue today through a formal partnership between our two schools. Two years ago, Rev. Conn O'Maoldhomhnaigh served a yearlong Presidential Fellowship at St. Ambrose. He worked with our Cabinet officers, Campus Ministry and me. He heartily cheered our athletes. And he helped us rededicate the third oldest building on campus, Davis Hall, which is, of course, named for Bishop Davis.

Fr. Conn was installed as Carlow's 20th president following his return to Ireland, and, last year, he graciously extended an invitation for me to address its graduates. I readily accepted, of course. No good excuse to visit the Emerald Isle should be dismissed!

John Lennon once famously announced "We are all Irish," and because Ireland has exported so much of its rich culture-its saints and scholars, poets and musicians, dreamers, visionaries and mystics-I believe that is true. (And not just on March 17 of each year.)

In my address, I suggested God lavished such richness on Ireland that it could not help but share its treasures with the wider world. In that spirit, I encouraged those bright young men and women of Carlow to widen their own worlds.

That is a recommendation I also make to any past, present or future student of St. Ambrose. The students we educate today are among the first in history to grow up with the world quite literally at their fingertips, through an Internet that opens a vivid and powerful portal to any corner of the globe.

But there is so much more world beyond those screens.

As we at St. Ambrose prepare to embrace the far-reaching topic of Faces of Globalization as our 2017-18 academic project theme, I encourage all of you to widen your world. Look outward, beyond your comfort zone, beyond your experiences. Look back into history and learn from it. Look forward into possibility and help make it happen. Look at the graces of this present moment and cherish them.

Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD

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