Janette Hogan (M.T.S.)
Mary Jo McDonald (M.Div.)
Michael Rosinski, SJ (M.Div.)
Raymond Ryan (M.Div.)
Jane Sims (M.A.M.S.)
Frederick Crowe, SJ
Vivian Ligo, Ph.D.
John J. Pungente, SJ
Virginia Varley, CSJ
In this technological age, visiting the website of our "mother" and international association, informs us that Alpha Sigma Nu is the "most prestigious honour society of Jesuit institutions of higher education." Honour and prestige - in one sentence! We have a hard time controlling our emotional reaction to these words, having been indoctrinated for millennia that honour is a commodity and prestige a rarity. It is the ultimate psychological division between the have and the have-nots.
Yet we all know that 'honour' and 'prestige' have really lost their edge in our culture. Nobility of heart, integrity of mind, commitment to justice, loyalty to one's community, respect of neighbour, reverence to the gods - this is what distinguished the men and women of honour in the ancient world. This is what was admired, esteemed and remembered in a world where all depended on the generosity of the other, where the community was more important than the individual, and cohesiveness was more essential than individual rights. The honourable person was the one who freely and generously bestowed honour on the other, that all would live in harmony.
We live in a different world today: competition is our ruling principle; fragmentation and individuality our ethos. There is no place for honour in our culture, but only for power; no place for prestige, but only for fame. And both power and fame are fickle, perfecting the rule that divides and conquers, depending on who takes and grabs first, denying and ignoring the other.
In this context, the energy of Ignatian spirituality ("for the greater glory of God" - and of God alone), the ideals of Jesuit education, scholarship, loyalty and service - stand out like a sore thumb. We are even more perplexed when our College would invite all of us to celebrate honour, and take the energy and effort to recognise it among its students. In a society that seeks mere power and fame, Alpha Sigma Nu responds with celebrating the ones who serve, who discern with integrity of heart and mind, who commit themselves to scholarship for the greater well-being of humanity.
We are blessed at Regis College, indeed very blessed, that because of the honourable conduct of all our students, faculty and staff, we take these values - dare I say it? - for granted. We are blessed that in a context where all respond generously to the call of living solely for God's greater honour in humility and service, the yearly task of our Chapter to discern and select exemplars that live the Ignatian values, is onerous indeed. Yet let us firmly keep in our minds and hearts that even the most committed of us, the most generous in service, the most loyal to the vision of God's kingdom, all of us, need to remember, to be refreshed in our discipline, to stop and ponder the gifts of our community, as lived in the flesh of those members of the Regis family who honour us with their generosity, commitment and enthusiasm.
I am honoured today to be in the company of people whom I deeply respect and cherish, because they have witnessed to me the beauty and simplicity of their honourable lives: our new student inductees, our honorary inductees, the Regis community who discerns and lives honourably the values of its tradition. We are all here as friends to celebrate one another and to remember the blessings of each other, that have been given to us all.
Finally, in the tradition of service of Alpha Sigma Nu, service that our Chapter understands primarily as "promoting community through conversation," our Chapter welcomes Regis College and all our friends, to participate in two new initiatives.
The first is a weekly Mid-day Prayer with the Songs of Taize in our little St Joseph Chapel here at the College. Starting Friday November 5th we are opening our doors to all those who desire the nourishment of quiet prayer and praise-giving chant. All are welcome.
The second, ties in with my opening remark that we are living in a technological age. When our media are digital, our conversation also needs to be heard digitally. Starting later this week, our Regis Chapter will be hosting and creating a new conversation space for the Regis community, where ideas about our common mission of integrated spirituality, a faith that does justice, critical dialogue and academic excellence, will be exchanged, pondered upon and shared. This exciting new project will continue our conversations beyond the classroom and beyond our Student Lounge.
It is only in community, a community that prays together and shares together, that our greater understanding can truly become lived commitment to our common values of scholarship, loyalty and service.