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Fostering Growth of Imagination and Spirit
“A graduating senior said to me about her time at Santa Clara, ‘It transformed my imagination.’ She said she now asks questions she never used to ask, she is concerned about issues that had not been on her horizon earlier,” says Treacy. “That is what I hope for all of our students.”
Treacy and other campus ministers offer support in the student journey toward adulthood. “I think that we help to promote that transformation. That is why I love being a campus minister, because these are the critical years when students are asking those key questions: What is it that I value? What is it that I stand for? How is it that I want to spend my life? What do I feel are my deepest passions and my greatest gifts? Who is my God?”
So many big questions, of course, can be overwhelming. “Students live in this time of emerging young adulthood. It’s a time of great transition and with that comes a certain amount of anxiety—anxiety about themselves, their giftedness, and their role in the wider world,” says Treacy. “One of the roles of Campus Ministry is to help them appreciate themselves as God has created them, as loved and lovable and gifted. We help them live with greater peace and less fear.”
The Office of Campus Ministry is an integral part of the University’s efforts to educate the whole person. “That means we’re paying attention to every dimension of human life—the intellectual, emotional, and the spiritual. At Santa Clara, we do that in a way that’s not parochial. We recognize that there is religious pluralism on our campus and in the greater world. But we focus on what unifies us: the yearning of the human heart for justice and harmony and the community that God intends,” says Treacy.
Recently, Campus Ministry expanded its intern program, now with 16 students working in various ministries. And it will open a new multi-faith meditation room on campus during the 2008-09 academic year, part of a longstanding effort to foster campus opportunities for Protestant, ecumenical, and interfaith services.
“We see our diverse religious community as a real gift,” says Treacy. “It is important to honor, affirm, and support all of our students, however they find themselves drawn to God."