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About the Center


Center for Religious & Spiritual Life

Helen Hills Hills Chapel
123-125 Elm Street
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Our Staff

Phone: 413-585-2750
Fax: 413-585-2794

We are open daily to the Smith community from 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m. for prayer, reflection, conversation, meditation, study and worship.

Helen Hills Hills Chapel

The Smith Center for Religious & Spiritual Life is a unique setting for student engagement. You'll find holiday and holy day celebrations, a cappella concerts, religious text study, intriguing discussions and fresh-baked cookies—sometimes happening all at the same time.

We tailor the programs and activities we offer each semester to students' questions, concerns and ideas. Some of our popular programs include Soup, Salad & Soul; Mindful Mondays; Jummah prayer & lunch; weekly meditation; and annual Interfaith Sundae event.

We meet with students at the chapel, and also in student houses, dining rooms, the Campus Center, and for walks along the pond. Drop by the chapel anytime to visit, hang out or study. Our staff are also available to meet with students by appointment. We want all Smith students to feel there is a place for them here. We work to ensure that you have what you need to thrive here—whether it is food that meets your dietary requirements, listening hearts, religious community to worship or celebrate with, or a companion on your spiritual journey.

To learn more about what we're up to this semester, check out our Fall Newsletter or our blog!

Spiritual Guidance

Among the many things the Center for Religious and Spiritual life offers is a space just to talk to someone.

The Smith years are ones of growth and change. The years you spend here as a student allow for new experiences, new directions, and new challenges. It is often a time of questioning. We offer many events and gatherings to foster learning and dialogue. These programs may combine prayer, reflection, discussion and self-discovery, giving students encouragement for a lifetime of spiritual development. Spiritual guidance differs from psychological counseling in that there is no plan, no goal, no one even takes notes. We are just here to chat and we would love to have you visit.

Reverend Matilda Cantwell and Rabbi Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser are trained in giving interfaith guidance and are available to meet with students for a heart-to-heart chat when needed. Spiritual guidance encompasses everything from the deep questions of life, to loving support for a person in times of stress or trouble. It is not based in any particular religious viewpoint.

Some reasons to come to the chapel and talk include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed and just need a friendly face and someone with an open heart who will listen
  • Looking for general guidance, direction, and an "ear" to help you discern your own truth
  • Needing a "fresh eye" to help in a given situation

We also offer hospital visits, one-on-one guidance, spiritual direction and pastoral counseling and make referrals as appropriate. All of our services are confidential and are offered to persons of any belief, faith or mixed faith background. We aim to support all seekers in the Smith community.

CRSL Funding

Funds might be available for student personal needs, travel for conferences, retreats or special programs related to religion, as well as ethics or community or public service. For conference funding, use the Universal Conference Fund Application. For non-conference funding, please fill out this form:

We recommend you submit your application as soon as you determine that you might be in need of chapel funding. Sufficient time must be given to review your application and determine the amount of funds to be awarded, prior to your event. For more information, contact Maureen Raucher.

Plan a Vigil

We're here to help you plan a vigil. Students who would like to plan a vigil should fill out request form and send an email to Matilda Cantwell to give us an idea of what kind of support you need.

Vigil Planning Form >

Community Participation

The Center for Religious & Spiritual Life values community collaboration and welcomes participation from community members and organizations. In order to achieve a harmonious working relationship, the Center has established protocols to guide interactions with staff and offer important information on the programming process.

  • CRSL develops its programming schedule one or two semesters prior to implementation. Community organizations and individuals who want to collaborate with CRSL on programs, activities and events should submit a proposal in writing for consideration.
  • The proposal must be approved by the director of Religious and Spiritual Life and fit into the Center’s goals and objectives for the year as well as the Center’s mission.
  • In some cases the proposal will be brought before the Student Advisory Board for input and feedback prior to a final decision.
  • Proposals should be submitted preferably the semester before the intended date but at least four to six weeks prior for proper consideration.
  • Proposals should include date, time, program description, budget, resources and requested support.
  • Collaborators are expected to assist in marketing efforts (e.g. creating flyers, posters and press releases). The Center will use its normal college channels for on campus promotion and when warranted, marketing to the community.
  • The Center makes space reservations for programs in accordance with Smith College's Events Management Office procedures and guidelines, which can take up to two weeks for approvals.
  • Priority consideration is given to proposal ideas which align most closely to Center goals.
  • Community partners are expected to adhere to CRSL established deadlines.
  • CRSL does not release student names and emails to outside groups as a rule to protect student privacy. However, the Center can send communication to students using its internal database, as appropriate.
  • All marketing flyers and posters must be approved by CRSL before distribution on campus and should include CRSL, Smith College, and access logos.