Letter From The President – Fall 2019

Dear Friends and Alumni,

Our beginning this August was bittersweet. We lost our No. 1 Spires fan, Sr. Madonna Fink, and welcomed the largest freshman class in years.

Sr. Madonna, C’54, retired from Saint Mary as a reference librarian, but she was so much more to our students, particularly our student-athletes.

She was at every home event, starting each with a prayer. When the teams traveled, she met the bus in front of Ryan Sports Center and handed each student a bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies. While the students loved the cookies, they loved Sister’s kind presence even more. She listened without judgment.

She believed in them when they struggled to believe in themselves. She reminds me of the power of simple, authentic presence. Our gym floor has her name painted on it – Sister Madonna Fink Court. Most basketball courts are named for millions of dollars. Ours went for love and chocolate chip cookies. 

Every year, we welcome the students to Saint Mary with a Matriculation Ceremony in the Annunciation Chapel. We call them by name and invite them to light a candle from the Christ Candle as a symbol of their commitment to foster the light of God within them during their time at Saint Mary. This year, we had to hold two matriculation ceremonies in the chapel – one for freshmen and one for transfers.

The returning students were amazed at the transformation of the De Paul Library into the Keleher Learning Commons. With new study spaces, technology, furniture, and a fresh new look, the students fell in love at first sight – it might be the hammocks perfect for reading as the sun pours through the big window. The Commons is now clearly the center of integrated learning at Saint Mary.

I believe Sr. Madonna would be pleased with the new look of her old stomping grounds. Sr. Amy Willcott, C’83, and I had the honor of being with Sister as she made the passage from this world to the hands of God. She died as she lived with dignity and grace. Pray for us, Sr. Madonna.

With gratitude,

Sister Diane Steele, SCL, Ph.D., C’83

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