Recap: Caritas Veritas Symposium 2015

October 6, 2015

By Leticia Vargas

On September 29, Dominican held its sixth annual Caritas Veritas Symposium Day. The theme for this year’s symposium was “Caritas et Veritas in a Life’s Work” which explored how individuals work for themselves and for the people around them. Every year, the symposium offers concurrent sessions and presentations led by Dominican faculty and staff that individuals can choose to attend.

This year, the symposium began at 9 a.m. with the Opening Plenary held in Lund Auditorium, which included opening prayers led by students and staff. Attendees were then freely dismissed to go to the first concurrent session of their choice. One of the first presentations was “You Were Called to do What?” led by Tracy Caldwell, Jodi Cressman, Angela Frazier, and Michael Lango in the Lund Auditorium. These four Dominican staff members shared stories of how they got to where they are today and encouraged attendees to talk about and discover their own path.

Session II included presentations on Ministry work, Caritas and Veritas in professions, and the neurodiversity movement. One of the presentations in the second session that was held in the Lund Auditorium was called “When Making a Living is Tough,” which reflected on the lives of Haitians and Guatemalans. Current Dominican students shared their stories of people they met while doing international service in these two impoverished countries. At the end of the reflection, MaDonna Thelen, director of community-based learning, said that by doing service, “We change our hearts, we change our minds, and we change our visions of ourselves.”

The presentations in session III continued to embrace the theme “Caritas et Veritas in a Life’s Work.” The session “Humans of Dominican: The Multiple Perspectives of a Story” presented by Mark Carbonara ’07, Vimla Dayal ’13, Roberta McMahon, and Sherri Wick encouraged individuals to consider how their perspective on life influences the workplace. An interactive activity had attendees divide into groups based on the color of a bead they were given at the beginning of the presentation. Attendees were then instructed to list reasons why their color was the best color. At the end of the activity, Sherri Wick said, “You want to think about your own story and how you are sharing it with others and how telling your story is about being seen, in part of who you are. It displays before others your personal hopes, your convictions, and your commitments.”

Session IV included presentations where attendees examined archival stories, the invisibility of the Latino/a class of Chicago, “the disease of being busy”, and a panel that discussed the work of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on caring for the earth.

“Our work becomes not just what we do, but who we are,” said Professor Dianne Costanzo, an instructor in Aikido and LAS seminar professor at Dominican. In her session entitled “Your Life Is Your Work”, Professor Costanzo posed three final thoughts for attendees: do not be afraid, do not allow yourself to settle for less when you can be more, and be light for the world.

At 3:15 p.m., the Academic Convocation was held in the Lund Auditorium to conclude the symposium. Lisa Amor Petrov, Assistant Professor of Spanish delivered a humorous speech and received the Sr. Mary Clemente Davlin, OP Diversity Leadership Award for her commitment and leadership in promoting diversity at Dominican. Rudy Lopez also gave an inspirational speech about treating workers fairly to help end the day. Lopez, who has experience working with voter registration, leadership development, and educational outreach in communities, accepted the Bradford O’Neill Medallion for Social Justice on behalf of Interfaith Worker Justice.