Greetings from the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life!
We hope that you are finding moments of connection and hope as you engage in the absorbing work of being a student and being a human in the world, in all the unique ways that you each are.
We are writing to touch base from the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, and update you on some of our changes as well as introduce ourselves to those of you who are first years.
While our former Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life has gone on to be the Dean of the College at Bryn Mawr, we are both excited for new opportunities and committed to the values and mission we have been cultivating for the past decade. Some of our most important priorities are as follows:
- To support and advise student religious and spiritual groups, as well as other student groups whose mission intersects with ours;
- To provide spaces of social engagement, social action, and dialogue; undergirded with mindfulness and contemplative practice;
- To provide venues for expression of the human condition through the arts;
- To interface with community religious and spiritual leaders to help students engage in communities of worship;
- To cultivate and maintain our physical space and nurture the "sacred" dimension of experience, here and elsewhere.
We welcome you to engage through a number of venues: our Friday Soup Salad and Soul lunch program, our meditation series, or be in touch with us about other programs we offer.
At the heart of our work is the individual and group conversations we have with students. Rabbi Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser and I are available for one on one conversation, and while this is sometimes called "spiritual advising," our first question will always be simply "How are you?" and we welcome the conversation going in absolutely any direction that you want and need it to. (See our Campus Resources.)
Our Center has partnerships with spiritual advisers and clergy outside the College from a variety of traditions, and we work with many local places of worship. We remain committed to both striving to meet students' needs for worship communities and spiritual exploration; and being a center of ethical reflection social justice, and dialogue.
Part of our role is to respond to the most urgent moral and ethical issues in our world as they play out and effect our diverse community. A great deal of the time it is you, students, who bring these issues to our attention. Together we try — in our own small ways — to mend the fabric of this broken, but still beautiful world. For example, you can fill out our planning form to collaborate with us on a vigil.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. College is a time of great seeking and exploring; it can be simultaneously spiritually rich and deeply challenging. Our hope is to be a space where you can most deeply discern the direction(s) of your own moral compass, and help you find a spiritual home, but even more so, be witnesses and companions on the journey.
With warm regards,
Reverend Matilda Rose Cantwell
Interim Director of Religious and Spiritual Life