Brother Tom Giardino

"Saying Yes"

Brother Tom Giardino, SM, Executive Director

The powerful forces of the past pandemic year had a tendency in many of us to lead to a certain passivity regarding our lives.  I was pondering that when I encountered this question in an article I was reading, “What moral resources are available to us to come to terms with the crises we face?

As I considered a response, I realized anew that the Catholic and Marianist traditions of our universities serve us well to reinvigorate our sense of personal agency to be an influence or current for good toward our desired future in the face of our crises.  We can indeed, under grace, take our freedom in our hands and say yes, as Mary of Nazareth did to her call from God.

This reminded me of the “yes” to my call to be a Marianist.  I am an only child from an Italian- American family – many, many expectations!  Grandchildren, family business…you understand.  However, I was by the “designs of Providence” as Fr. Chaminade would say, attending a Marianist high school.  That made all the difference.

The witness of the Brothers and the opportunities I had for leadership were the context to find my own voice and say “yes” to being a Marianist religious, much to my own surprise and the great dismay of my parents. I had never thought of this path for my life before a conversation with one of the Brothers about the church and the different roles in its mission. For example, saying yes gave me the opportunity to lead the development of the Characteristics of Marianist Education and the Characteristics of Marianist Universities.  This initiative has had a worldwide impact on our Marianist educational institutions and served to advance our 200-year tradition. Grace upon grace.

I am not alone in this experience.  In this Newsletter, you will read other stories of saying yes to being a current of good in a community of colleagues to create a desired future that enables our students and others to find their voice and be an influence for change. Together that current becomes a robust river of good, as the prophet Ezekiel says, “Wherever the river flows….fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail….Their fruit shall serve for food and their leaves for medicine.” [Ezek. 47]

At our best, Marianist educators are that kind of current for good.

Bro. Tom 

For a reflection by Marianist laypersons on “Saying Yes,” see this article written for the feast of the Annunciation, 25 March 2021, the Patronal Feast of the Marianist Family