A Message and a Prayer for Troubling Times

August 14, 2017

Dear Bellarmine Community,

As we prepare for the new and returning students coming onto our Bellarmine campus this week, we do so in the midst of some very troubling times in our world and on college and university campuses. Our hearts go out to the University of Virginia, the families, and all who are impacted by loss and injuries. As educators, we reach out to one another to make meaning of these times and to bridge the division in our nation.

Please keep us mindful of the conflict with North Korea and hope and pray that our leaders can find ways to work toward peaceful resolution. I encourage our faculty members to continue the rigorous engagement of our students in the discourse of these important global and domestic issues. Our campus is the place for civil discourse and debate.

As we commence our work and classes, we will help our students make sense of the current state of affairs and continue to engage them in the gritty realities of the times. Let us reach down for something extra inside of each of us as we teach them, in words and deeds and by example, who we are as a community. There is no time more important than now for students and each of us to stand up for our personal and institutional values with respect, dignity and empathy and to work toward justice, equity and inclusion. Bellarmine’s founding president, Father Horrigan, was committed to civil rights and this commitment lives on today at Bellarmine University. We will not tolerate bigotry, racism or hatred toward any individual or group.

Here, we value the intrinsic dignity of each person as an individual. We educate the whole person, body, mind and spirit. And we recognize the interconnectedness of all life, and the solidarity of the human spirit which transcends ethnic, religious and social divisions. This is the foundation upon which Bellarmine was founded and the mission that continues to inspire us each and every day.

Last week the Ursuline Sisters and the Angela Merici Center shared Thomas Merton’s Prayer for Peace with us, and today I share it with you, in the hope that you may find some solace in it, as I am finding.

In Veritatis Amore,
Susan M. Donovan, Ph.D.

Thomas Merton’s Prayer for Peace

[O loving God], help us to be masters of the weapons that threaten to master us.
Help us to use science for peace and plenty, not for war and destruction.
Show us how to use atomic power to bless our children’s children, not to blight them.
Save us from the compulsion to follow our adversaries in all that we most hate, confirming them in their hatred and suspicion of us.
Resolve our inner contradictions, which now grow beyond belief and beyond bearing.
They are at once a torment and a blessing; for if you had not left us the light of conscience, we would not have to endure them.
Teach us to be long-suffering in anguish and insecurity, teach us to wait and trust.
Grant light, grant strength and patience…
grant us prudence in proportion to our power, wisdom in proportion to our science,
humaneness in proportion to our wealth and might.
And bless our earnest will to help all races and people to travel,
in friendship with us, along the road to justice, liberty, and lasting peace.

--From Non-violent Alternative, p. 59