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The Wellesley College Office of
Religious and Spiritual Life
monthly newsletter
March 2019

A Message from the Dean  

“Faithful Companion” by Hafez 
The moon came to me last night
With a sweet question.
She said,
"The sun has been my faithful lover
For millions of years.
Whenever I face the sun,
Brilliant light pours out
Thousands then notice my happiness
And delight in pointing
Toward my beauty.
Is it true that our destiny
Is to turn into Light
And I replied,
Dear moon,
I see your insight into love growing,
Let’s sit together,
Close like this more often
So I might counsel you
In becoming
Who you

   I am enjoying the view outside the window, looking at the moonlight bouncing off the snow-covered Chapel lawn, I am reminded of this poem by Hafez and how our chaplains and students dedicated time this month to say “Let’s sit together, close like this more often.” They departed from their busy routines to experience the value of retreats and field trips. The simple act of going to a different place with different people can make one’s world intimate yet expansive at the same time. These shared, unique experiences can create bonds of friendship, but I think their true value is in creating something equally beautiful as friendship: they create companionship. In just being together, we come to know someone’s idiosyncrasies, allergies, humor, and habits. It doesn’t have to be a deep, meaningful friendship that creates a sense of belonging. The simple act of giving someone the window seat because you know they get carsick shows how we care for eachother even if we are not bosom buddies. Adapting to each others’ physical and personal sensibilities is an enormous gesture of inclusion and support. We may not agree on every issue or even be allies in every cause, but we can be companions, caring to spend time to know one another and ourselves. In doing so, we reflect light all around us, not knowing how far our moonbeams reach. 

Meditation Classes

Meditation and other mindfulness techniques can be essential skills for students with full schedules and many responsibilities. ORSL and PERA have joined forces to provide classes for students in Mindful Awareness at Wellesley. Students learn mindfulness and meditation skills to help relax, relieve stress, focus attention and nourish body and mind. There are two classes throughout each semester. Students learn skills in each class that they practice throughout the week as homework, maintain a weekly log of activity and experiences, and share with each other in class their difficulties, successes, and discoveries. About sixty students participate each semester.  They meet twice a week for one hour in the Houghton Chapel to reflect and center themselves, practicing different styles of meditation and mindfulness.

heartspace/UU Retreat

heartspace and the Unitarian Universalist Chaplaincy took our annual retreat from February 16-17, 2019. We gathered in our chaplain's home in Jamaica Plain for an afternoon of crafting, playing games, and walking by Jamaica Pond. An overnight in Malden gave us time to cook together and have a student-led, contemplative evening worship. We went together to Sunday services at First Parish in Malden, a historic UU congregation with a governing board made up of folks under 40, and had a great conversation with Rev. Otto O'Connor. The time away from campus gave us time to relax, get to know each other differently, and explore questions of faith and spirituality together.

Ash Wednesday

This last Wednesday, March 6th, we held our ecumenical Ash Wednesday service. Roughly 125 students and staff attended. After the service Emily Jendzej, our Roman Catholic Chaplain, and Sarah Robbins-Cole, our Protestant Chaplain, talked with the Multifaith Council to talk about the significance of Lent in the Christian tradition. Interesting questions were asked about why fast? Why pray or study the scripture more if you are meant to be doing that anyway during the course of the year? We discussed that Lent is a time to take up practices that remind you of the centrality of God in our lives. Sarah answered by saying that it is human nature to wander away from spiritual practices, no matter how meaningful they are. She mentioned the popular hymn called “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing” and the last verse of that hymn which is:

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Lent is the time that we more consciously and deliberately bind our wandering heart to Christ through our Lenten practices. As Emily said at the end, “it is always the hope that the discipline will stick after 40 days, plus 6 Sundays to practice.”

This Month's Snapshots

Newman Ministry took a field trip for Mass on Sunday, February 17 to St. Katharine Drexel's Catholic Church in Dorchester. It was wonderful to be welcomed by Father Oscar Pratt and Music Director Meyer Chambers who both come to Wellesley each fall with the Black Catholic Choir to celebrate Mass. 
Rabbi Dena Bodian hosted a poke bowl bowl extravaganza for Munger, Pomeroy, and Shafer as a part of the ORSL Neighborhood Chaplain program! 
In February, the Wellesley Jewish Community embraced its inner hygge with a vibrant Shabbat 101 service and dinner, as well as a song circle led by Chaplain Joanna Lubkin. Students also held a very popular spa night in the Jewish Students' Lounge.

Coming Up

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