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The Wellesley College Office of
Religious and Spiritual Life
monthly newsletter
September 2018

A Message from the Dean

On Tuesday, September 4th, Wellesley College celebrated Convocation. It is an event that draws us together as a community to thoughtfully and critically reflect on who we are and want to become as students, staff, and faculty. More than an annual tradition to open the year, Convocation provides an opportunity to remember our most deeply held values as we imagine the possibilities of the new year.


Comparing Wellesley to the hidden home of the Amazons, Themiscyra, President Johnson called us back to the moral mission of our college that extends beyond the pursuit of knowledge to the cultivation of wisdom and a life well lived. Wellesley College offers students a place to nurture their whole selves – body, mind, and spirit – as they grow into the fullness of themselves and their power. Like a training ground for mythic women warriors, Wellesley offers students a community in which they might face fierce challenges while being surrounded by equally fierce support.


Life is so much more than the success we measure. Its value lies in the relationships we cultivate, the bridges we build, the compassion and care we give and receive. In the end, it is how we treat one another and ourselves that determine if we flourish or if we fail.


Friends, let us choose to flourish.


I leave you with a blessing for the new year.


A Blessing for the Year  

In our common quest for academic and inclusive excellence, we recommit ourselves to lives marked by honesty, integrity and respect.

This year may we give ourselves fully to the task of intellectual inquiry, pursuing knowledge and truth as essential building blocks for a better, more just society.

May we cultivate a community that seeks out difference, not for debate, but for delight…that in our diversity we might discover new truths about each other and ourselves.

May we hear one another to speech, with a deep listening born of curiosity and good will.

And may we cultivate compassion for ourselves equal to that which we lavish on others, one that admires our imperfections as marks of beauty, not blemish.

Above all else, may we seek to do more than simply survive…may we seek to thrive, to flourish and grow in unexpected ways not only as individuals, but as a beloved community.

Now more than ever the world needs communities of resistance and resilience that will forge a new way. May we be that community for ourselves, for each other, and for the world.

A Note from the Buddhist Chaplaincy

Welcoming students back to campus in the autumn is always a heartening experience. Each year more and more First Years show interest in developing Mindfulness and Contemplative Practices. To help establish students on the path of mindfulness, awareness, self-care, and wellness, ORSL and the Buddhist Chaplaincy provide opportunities to join together and work on bringing these skills into their daily routine. Every Monday and Wednesday at 5:00pm there is a regular program of meditation and discussion in the Meditation Room on the ground floor of Houghton Chapel. Every Monday and Thursday afternoon there are two hour-long courses jointly sponsored by ORSL and PERA (Physical Education Recreation and Athletics). PE-192 is a six week introduction to techniques of mindfulness and meditation for which students receive two PE credits. PE-193 is an upper level course for students who wish to develop further their meditative and mindfulness skills. Students have ongoing homework, practice, assignments, keep journals of their experience, and share together in group discussion. The central question is always: How can something so seemingly simple be so difficult?

Interfaith Leadership Institute Reflection

Eleanor Nash
August 12, 2018

At the Interfaith Leadership Institute (ILI), wonderfully interesting people came together, and I got to know a few. Throughout the three days in Chicago, I met representatives from a Catholic university in Philadelphia, to a community college in Oklahoma and everywhere in between. I explored Chicago with my peers, and the conversations we had while trekking through the city made each excursion worthwhile. One student told me how her passion for mission trips inspired her to join a church. I gained a glimpse into people’s varied experiences in these walks.

I appreciated Wellesley’s history of interfaith programs at the ILI. Before I came to Wellesley, my alum friend, class of 2000, told me great things about the Multifaith Council. While Wellesley has this tradition, many students I met at the ILI were trying to start the first interfaith group on their campus. I am grateful that Wellesley has the historical framework for interfaith work.

While reflecting on interfaith in my life, I realized that I have a long history of interfaith experiences. For example, on an Easter before I was even in school, my family returned from our Catholic Easter mass to see our sidewalk beautifully decorated for the holiday by our Buddhist neighbor. Remembering a time when someone of a different faith took interest in my own motivates me to continue returning the attention. Overall, the ILI showed me that interfaith is not a new or isolated thing, which makes me more ready to engage in it. While I might have thought that my interfaith journey started when I joined Wellesley’s Multifaith Council in January 2018, I realized that I have been on the journey for a long time.

Student Profile: Chloe Carlander

Chloe is a familiar face around the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. She is starting her third year with us.  She is one of our valued student workers who has a wide range of responsibilities. I recently interviewed her and here is what we talked about:

Chloe, you had an interesting summer.  What did you do?

For most of the summer I was taking classes at the community college in my home town in Austin, Texas. I’m planning to apply to nursing school this fall, and I needed to take a few pre-reqs that Wellesley doesn’t offer. It wasn’t super exciting, but it was productive. And at the end of the summer I got married! On August 11th to Corin Wagen (a High School Sweetheart). He is a student at MIT studying Chemistry. We both hope to stay in the Boston area for graduate school.

I understand you are graduating early – why is that?

I am graduating a year early because I realized after I came to Wellesley that I want to pursue nursing. Nursing school will take a few years, so in order to try and save some time and money I decided to accelerate.

How many years does nursing school typically take?

I am applying to Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs, which are designed for people, like me, who have an undergraduate degree in a non-nursing discipline. MSN programs usually take 2 or 3 years.

What are you hoping to do with your nursing degree?

I am hoping to graduate as a Psych/Mental Health nurse practitioner.

What made you decide on that direction?

I have always been interested in medicine, but the most appealing part of the field for me is getting to  interact with and care for patients. I think as a nurse you get a lot more of that than if you are a doctor.

You are doing an interesting internship. Can you tell me a little about it?

I am working at the Walker School in Needham, MA which is both a day school and a residential school for children who have emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges.

What do you like to do around campus?

I’m involved in the ORSL as a student worker and part of the Protestant Chaplaincy. I also work as a student teacher in the Child Study Center, which I really enjoy.

Wellesley College has become a family school for you – Why is that?

My sister Claire just started at Wellesley this year.  In fact, I just help her move into her dorm last week. I’m so excited and happy to have her here.

Thank you Chloe!

This Fall at Heartspace

The Unitarian Universalist Chaplaincy is delighted to launch our second year of heartspace. We gather each Tuesday to share how we're doing (and know that people really want to know), to sing together, to honor the joys and sorrows in our lives, and to practice wonder. We read poetry and reflect on our lives, we do art and crafting as a spiritual practice, we go outside and find five things that bring us joy. This semester, we've teamed up with the Protestant Chaplaincy to create shared themes for our gatherings -- so both communities will be exploring the same themes from our own contexts. We're excited to hold our first gathering on September 11, to welcome in old friends and new faces. At heartspace, all of who you are is sacred. All of who you are is loved. 

This Month's Snapshots


Chaplain Emily Jendzejec with student leaders from Bates, McAfee and Freeman Hall during student leader training. Emily proudly serves as Neighborhood Chaplain to the eastside neighborhood!
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On Friday, August 31st, Hillel welcomed first-year students to celebrate their first Shabbat here at Wellesley. Following a musical Kabbalat Shabbat service, we enjoyed a delicious kosher dinner of falafel and shawarma in the Hillel Lounge. We all know that orientation week and the start of classes can be a busy and overwhelming time, so it was great to see so many students come together and take a pause to refresh for the week ahead.

As part of Soulful Sunday on September 2nd, many students attended the “Bagels and Blessings” event. While socializing and enjoying bagels and lox, students also had the chance to craft their own mezuzot (parchments inscribed with religious texts and affixed to the doorposts of a home) for their dorm rooms. Students decorated the outer case of the mezuzah using paint, tiles, and other materials. While some opted to fill the case with the traditional klaf (a piece of parchment) containing specific Torah verses, others took this opportunity to write down their own hopes and prayers for their room in the year ahead.
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Katherine Leary and Amy Lou at the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life’s table at the Orientation Wellness Fair on Friday August 31st

Coming Up

Join Wellesley College's Newman Catholic Ministry for a joyous celebration and Mass with music led by the Boston Archdiocesan Black Catholic Choir on Sunday, September 30 at 4pm in Houghton Chapel.  All are welcome! 

The Boston Black Catholic Choir established in 1992, has performed their uplifting and spiritual music from the Black Catholic tradition in Ireland, The Vatican, and the Caribbean. They perform locally in churches, prisons, and homeless shelters, and every fall at Wellesley College.

Weekly Offerings Fall 2018

Copyright © 2018 Office of Religious & Spiritual Life at Wellesley College, All rights reserved.


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