A Farewell To The 2016-2017 Academic Year

April 25, 2017

By Sister Marci Hermesdorf, OP

For all of us at Dominican, April marks the end of another academic year. For some, it means the end of their time at Dominican and the beginning of a new phase on their life’s journey. Change—exciting and perhaps a little scary—is in the air.

For me, an English professor, April has additional significance, as it is National Poetry Month. Every day I receive from a friend via email a different poem—some are familiar to me, either because I have taught them or because they are part of my own poetry collection. One of the unfamiliar poems I received recently is  “Patient Trust,” by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest, who was both a scientist and a poet. I couldn’t help but think how appropriate his words are for us at this moment when we end one phase of our journeys and begin a new one –either a permanent change, like a new job, a new home, or some new adventure— or a temporary one—like summer vacation. So I offer this poem/prayer to all of us, who live in a culture of multitasking, instant gratification, and skepticism:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—

and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,

let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time

(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing

that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ. From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits. Ed. Michael Harter. Loyola Press: Chicago, March2005