Brother Tom Giardino

Solidarity: A Call to Action!

Brother Tom Giardino, SM, Executive Director
Have you noticed lately that “pivoting is the new name for Adaptation and Change,” which is one of the Characteristics of Marianist Universities (CMU)? I keep hearing this word as our university colleagues comment, exhort and rejoice regarding responses to these uncertain times.  Yes, our CMUs are alive and well -- and adapting!

This made me think of “solidarity” as an authentic interpretation and integration of the CMUs, “Educate in Family Spirit” and “Educate for Service, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.” Solidarity and the call to action that flows from this virtue is the theme for this issue of our newsletter.

Your newsletter team asked members of our AMU community what kind of social activism they are engaged in and – considering the pandemic and ongoing instances of social injustice in the news – why are you called to this kind of work, especially within a Catholic and Marianist framework.

The interviews in the first section of the newsletter will showcase how our colleagues incarnate solidarity and action.  This reveals that the CMUs are not simply propositions to be assented to;  you are the CMU, or else they are mere words on a page.

So it is with the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching that undergird our call to action in the Marianist world. I also see a model of this incarnation in Jesus who comes to us through a woman, Mary of Nazareth, patron of our universities.

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade felt a call to action in his time, resulting in Marianist education. As it is for ourselves now, he was continually confronted with harsh conditions, temptations to discouragement exhausting work and the need for faith in Providence given the mysterious machinations of individuals, groups and governments.   If you are interested in a good read along this line, check out the article entitled “Chaminade and Adversity,” from the North American Center for Marianist Studies -- and don’t hesitate to explore their web site for other exciting resources.

Speaking of resources – and more – please check out the refreshed AMU web site marianistuniversities.org.

I have been receiving requests and contributions regarding best practices on integrating the Characteristics of Marianist Universities in curricular and co-curricular domains. I have collected the contributions to this resource here. This will be a living document that will reside on our web site under the “Resources” section. If you have a contribution, please send them to our office to be listed for others to benefit from. Send to, ahart@sm-usa.org

I pray that this issue will be one source of encouragement for you in your daily educational efforts.  Thank you for your contribution to our common mission.

Bro. Tom 

If we accept the great principle that there are rights born of our inalienable human dignity, we can rise to the challenge of envisaging a new humanity.  For a real and lasting peace will only be possible on the basis of a global ethic of solidarity and cooperation in the service of a future shaped by interdependence and shared responsibility in the whole family.

Pope Francis: "Fratelli Tutti, Brothers & Sisters All," 2020