Opinion: Mission Hundred Days: Day 22

Grace Horner

Opinion Contributor

We were all challenged not long ago by a fellow member of the class of 2018, Andrea Kraft, to reflect on our time at Canisius. So, as the final days to graduation quickly ticked down, I decided that I had better rise up to her challenge and figure out what my Canisius experience has done for me. My time at Canisius has been marked by many things; Kairos retreats, international service trips, academics, employment, and of course, rowing. Each one of these experiences has not only taught me more than I would have ever learned just sitting in a classroom, but they have challenged me in a great many ways that I feel it will take many years to fully understand.

I will start with what I find to be the clearest marker of my time at Canisius – Kairos. Kairos, I’ve decided, is best summed up as an experience that will teach you more about a person in three days than you could ever learn in three years. Kairos taught me that it’s good to tell your friends that you love them, and that stories, whether they are ones of pain or ones of joy, are meant to be shared. When asking fellow members of the Kairos family about what their experience meant to them, I heard things like: “It means never having to sit in the library alone,” “It means noticing the little things and feeling at peace,” and “It means feeling more love than ever thought you could from people that you already know, and feeling love that you didn’t know you could from people that you don’t know.” Kairos expanded who we knew and tightened out relationships with those we already loved.

Through an impactful trip to an orphanage in the hills of rural Poland I watched in awe as the scope and power of the Jesuit mission came to light. My experience showed me that when the Jesuits instructed us to be Men and Women with and for others, to care for the whole person, and to always seek Magis (more) – it could be done anywhere from our own backyards to the beautiful mountains of Poland.  The children at the orphanage simultaneously brought joy and heartbreak to our team as we lived with them for just under three weeks. I quickly realized that each time we flash a smile when walking through the tunnels, or recognize someone’s humanity when others pass by, we are living the mission of the Jesuits. Whether you were heavily involved, find a deep sense, of peace or are asking yourself if you can remember those values from your freshmen religion class, the Jesuits have had an impact on all of us here at Canisius. From that Jesuit mission has stemmed a classroom experience that I would argue is universal for students at Canisius. To reflect on the academic aspect of my experience I need only look down the halls of Old Main and into a classroom. The academic experience at Canisius has been one of excitement and passion. Professors have challenged my thinking and the thinking of my classmates, and we have challenged theirs. This positive learning environment has fostered the curiosity and drive that leads to things like CEEP positions, ISD presentations, Honors Theses and other impressive projects.

When I consider my time at Canisius I know that I will soon look back with pride on an unforgettable four years. I will take pride in a class that, as undergraduates, led the school in donations on Giving Day. I will take pride in my classmates that taught me so much as we go forth to educate the young people in this country. I will take pride in the Campus Ministry interns and the many hours we logged in the office preparing for retreats. I will take pride in my friends and the people who have helped me along the way, in this school, and all that we represent when we wear the gold and blue. So I ask my fellow seniors … what will you take with you? What fills you with a sense of pride and accomplishment when you consider the time you have spent at Canisius? What fills you with love and what gets you out of bed in the morning?

I will leave you as Andrea did, with a prayer which is attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, a previous Jesuit Superior General. Consider the message he is giving us and ask yourself, as you head towards the unknown, what drives you?

Father Aruppe says:

Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.



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