Today, at DePaul University we are hosting a celebratory event called “Women of Spirit and Action.” This program, sponsored by the DePaul Women’s Network, is a non-competitive awards event which allows female faculty, staff and students to nominate women in our DePaul community who embody the spirit of St. Louise de Marillac.
In conjunction with our patron, St. Vincent DePaul, Louise was a an action-oriented woman who dedicate her life to serving others. She was a wife, mother, nurse, social worker, teacher, and community organizer in 17th century France. She educated women to help serve those most in need and founded a community of religious women that exists to the present day — the Daughters of Charity.
As the chair of this event I have had the privilege to read all of the 150 nominations. They are inspiring at every level. Faculty members discussed the strength and dedication of their students to persevere despite tough personal circumstances, staff members wrote about their innovative colleagues, student workers and supervisors.
A few excerpts include:
“My co-workers and I love our jobs, and Kate* is a large part of the reasons why we love working there. She never hesitates to praise us for our successes but she also helps us improve in our weaker areas. She keeps us all on task, but she also cares about our lives outside of work. She has made the lab and our office a home for all of us to be heard, appreciated, and loved.”
“Malia* is a strong, independent woman and in a society that is fast-paced, she is able to shine through. As a law student about to embark on her third year of school, she has consistently been able to display a unique strength through the experiences that her higher education career have presented to her. Malia* has put herself out into the Chicago community as a young aspiring attorney, ready to lead with passion, purpose, and promise. She takes every opportunity that presents itself and uses it as a positive learning experience. Malia* has been able to remain grounded, yet has excelled in areas of public service and volunteer work. She volunteers with numerous organizations in the Chicago area, and in her spare time, is dedicated to her law school. Overall, Malia* embodies the spirit and active enthusiasm that a professional woman should emulate at all times, and she does so with ease and class.”
“As St. Louise de Marillac was a “model to all women,” Juanita* has been a model at DePaul to both women and men. As one of the founders of a new academic department in the 1970s, Juanita* has been instrumental in continuous development of the curriculum, particularly in developing a number of master’s programs. Daily in her work she is an inspiring and enabling mentor to students as she assists them in articulating their life values and goals and creating their educational journey to move towards those goals.”
While St. Louise has been dead for over 350 years, her presence can be strongly felt on our campus in 2011. I salute all of our modern-day “Louise’s” who inspire others to do their very best through both words and actions. I am proud to work for and with such inspiring women. May the legacy of St. Louise shine at our event today and everyday!
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