Saturday, April 30, 2011

Graduation Day at OLSWA!

I'm not one for ceremonies like this - I never went to any of my own university graduations, but it is such a beautiful day, that I thought I might capture it in photos. I love my school, my colleagues and my students, don't get me wrong. I just don't like formal stuff. But thanks be to Christ for my school!

The day was a great one, emotionally hard, but great. Why emotionally hard? Because saying good-bye is hard for me. I think I play it pretty close to the chest, but it's not because I don't care. But it was a day of consolations for me. It was a Catholic tour-de-force with the great Bishop Mulhall presiding at the mass, Sr. John Mary, S.V. (Sisters of Life) giving the commencement address, beautiful music, wonderful friends, and our great president, Dr. Keith Cassidy, overseeing the whole affair. Unfortunately, I did not have a picture of the class rep. (other than behind Amy, below), who delivered the farewell address, Jonathan Baker. I consider myself a pretty good public speaker, but I must confess that in light of Bishop Mulhall, Sr. John Mary and Mr. Baker, I feel very inadequate now! Mr. Baker's speech was just awesome, touching, and flawlessly delivered.

 Here are some pictures:

Me with two of the graduates, Margaret Campbell and Alec McEwan,
who is making fun of my mustache! Yes, I have a mustache.

This was a really fun moment as we waited for the ceremony to begin,
sharing some laughs with some students, and Dr. Ryan Freeburn,

This was my favourite moment of the day, as the students lined up to go up, seeing
dear Amy MacInnis (left), knowing full well that she would be awarded
the "Blessed JP II Award" for the highest cumulative GPA,
and not being able to tell her! It was so hard for me!

The Procession enters the church on the best day of weather we've had so far this year.

Three of the most talented Catholic men in the country:
from left to right, Michael O'Brien, Dr. David Beresford, and President Keith Cassidy.

Some of my dear colleagues.

Sorry for the poor ordering of these pictures. The liturgical procession.

Our clergy!

I know I said this last year, and will probably say it again next year, but not having had any special attachments to my Alma Maters, graduation day brings about a lot of unfamiliar feelings in me. I am relieved that our hard work is over for a while, a task has been completed, and yet I am sad that I am saying good-bye to so many wonderful people. I tend to get frustrated with the limitations and imperfections I see in my students over the year, but I cannot help but look at them as they receive their certificates - especially the third-year students - with deep admiration and satisfaction, looking upon a group of people who are objectively wonderful, singular human beings. Morally, I know they are head-and-shoulders above me, so I cannot really feel like I have contributed a whole lot to their formation, although I do try. But nevertheless, despite the farmer, God gives great growth to the plant sometimes...


  1. What a beautiful, holy afternoon! It was such a blessing to be there. I was impressed with the number of cum laude/magna/summa graduates. The liturgy was very moving, and the speeches were inspiring. May God pour out His blessings on all the faculty and staff, and give you His refreshment this summer!

  2. Thanks, Sue. I agree completely! The marks are not inflated; our students deserve what they get. When they go to other schools, it is proven again and again that they are first-rate. The third year especially are all solid, well-formed thinkers. It does go to show that for as much as excellence arrives at our doors the first day of their first year here, something more excellent leaves the last day of third year. I am very proud of our graduates and I have grounds to be proud of our process too. Keep us all in your prayers. We have something very special here from the Lord that we have to let happen in the way He intends.

  3. Thanks for the photos! I left my camera at home, although I don't know how I would have juggled it with the kids in tow. What a beautiful day! I was sad at Mass the next day when I expressed how much I would miss the students over the summer, and she responded, "Well, at least they'll be more room at Mass now." Even though we all need a break, it is just plain true that Barry's Bay is just not the same when our students leave.

  4. Bitter-sweet when they leave. Life gets easier, but you miss them!