Becoming is Understanding - Cor et Anima
"To whom much has been given much will be required." (Luke 12:48) What a profound message. This statement certainly directs each community member toward a reality outside of ourselves. We can often get lost in the belief that it is the norm to be educated in a place like St. Scholastica. However, our institution's uniqueness makes that perception erroneous and your acceptance into the community a sincere privilege. Our founding Mothers had a collective vision for every student that attends this College and have placed an obligation on every faculty/staff person to guide our students toward that end. The "much has been given" speaks to the extraordinary opportunity St. Scholastica students have to be shaped in this unique way. Specifically, it speaks of the St. Scholastica experience which promotes the reality of each student's innate gifts and allows those abilities to be developed, formed and directed in light of our College Mission. The "much is required" calls each of our community members to take those developed and directed gifts and contribute them in a way that improves the common good. The founding Mothers believed that the visible act of utilizing these collective talents, when guided by their vision, would transform the world through loving service toward each other with the intention of justice for all of God's creatures. In order to embrace your opportunity to become St. Scholastica Cor et Anima, one must embrace the reality "To whom much has been given, much will be required." (Luke 12:48)
Cor et Anima means heart and soul in Latin. Why use the Latin phrase? Most do not understand Latin because it is a rather archaic language. This is correct if we merely look at this phrase as a Latin phrase, but if we look at it in the context of who we are - past, present and future - it makes sense. It is important that the St. Scholastica community understands that Cor et Anima is not a new concept. It has been part of the College existence since its inception in 1912 and a Benedictine history that spans over 1500 years. It has just lived invisibly at St. Scholastica and is now becoming more concrete through articulation and tradition. Using the words Cor et Anima helps us understand that we are not a people that exist only in this particular time. The words call for a bit of humility on everyone's behalf because our tradition allows us to reap the benefits of that past; in particular, all of our former brothers and sisters whose journeys, discoveries and toils have made today's student transformations easier. We have to know where we came from in order to recognize the signs which point us to where we need to go. Therefore, the transformation required of each of us, as we strive toward becoming St. Scholastica, should be considered a timeless gift. As the transformation did for those that went before us and for those that will come after us. That being said, we find that our institution is one of a greater whole and using the Latin phrase helps to make this reality visible. Our community should ideally be able to celebrate our past and this Latin phrase is merely an indication that we do in fact love and honor her. The Latin, Cor et Anima simply reminds us of these realities.
By freely choosing to be a member of the St. Scholastica community, each of us chooses to embrace all that it means to become uniquely St. Scholastica. Having a clear, concise statement defines for each of us and provides a common language to dialogue about our pursuit of "becoming." When we articulate Cor et Anima through the use of words, statements and activities, we engage in a higher level of commitment to ourselves and others. In reality, as human beings, we are incapable of accomplishing perfection. Does that mean that we must then lower our standards or our expectations? Not if our desire is to move toward these expectations as fully as possible. As each of us forms a relationship with the College, we expect an acceptance of each others' intentions of "becoming" St. Scholastica. The value of the statement helps each of us meet these expectations. At St. Scholastica, faculty and staff will challenge you and call you to a higher standard when you do not uphold Cor et Anima. It is faculty and staff's obligation to guide you to become the best person that you can be under the tutelage of the College ideals. In a very literal way, students are forever growing toward "Becoming St. Scholastica - Cor et Anima."
The Statement of Becoming in a certain sense is a statement of commitment. Our long-standing tradition persuasively expresses what an authentic commitment is when one is in a relationship with another, whether personally or communally. There are specific tenets of that relational commitment. The Statement of Becoming was designed to incorporate, in words and ultimately in expectations, that level of responsibility each of us has to another. These tenants include free choice, total engagement, and faithfully lived values, with a willingness to be transformed by this unique St. Scholastica experience. It is this Institution's belief that the personal transformation one undergoes in this experience creates commitment because it provides students and all community members an authentic sense of deep satisfaction. That sense of contentment creates a relational loyalty and a deep fulfillment that serves the College community, but more importantly, our larger human family; this is the type of relationship that our founding Sisters believed humankind intrinsically seeks in and for each other.
Cor et Anima makes visible an invisible reality. We have all heard people refer to The College of St. Scholastica as a "special place." Challenging and diverse academic programs are definitely at the heart of our institution's purpose. They are, however, certainly offered at other institutions as well. So, in effect, it is the manner in which we offer learning that makes The College of St. Scholastica uniquely special. The "special place" that alums and others refer to has more to do with the unique experiences derived from our mission: to form each student in a way that challenges him/her to make a better world. Each student's experience with this mission is absolutely real, but the collective nature of the institution's intentions are, for the most part, an invisible reality. Keenly aware that students are more likely to embrace our intentions if we articulate them clearly, the Cor et Anima Statement of Becoming does exactly that. Posting the statement around campus, in the student handbook and on bookmarks provides a constant reminder of who this College is calling each student to be.