From the President:
Becoming Our Authentic Selves
Heartfelt greetings from Siena Heights University!
The theme chosen for this academic year was authenticity. The freshmen read for the summer was “My Orange Duffel Bag: A Journey to Radical Change,” by Sam Bracken and Echo Garrett.
The theme of authenticity was quite prevalent throughout the book. Basically, a young man from challenging beginnings decides to be and become his true self through his own reflections, persistence and the aid of others. The students loved the book and could relate to it well. We also had some great presentations on authenticity at our Common Dialogue Day in late September. Students, faculty and staff all participated as presenters and/or participants.
When I think about authenticity, I tend to go to a spirituality of authenticity.
I ask myself many questions:
- Is becoming authentic a process?
- Who did God create me to be?
- Am I striving to become who God created me to be?
- Can I live in this world that calls all of us to be so many things and remain authentic?
- How does prayer assist me in being authentic, and how does my membership in a community (in this case, the Siena Heights community) assist me in being authentic?
For me, and, I think for many others, the answers we give to these questions and the courage to ask them contributes greatly to the process of becoming our authentic selves.
When I stand before God, I stand there with nothing but me. That is who I am, my true self. Deceiving ourselves or others by being someone who we are not encourages inauthenticity and we are not our best selves.
So, an honest look at ourselves while praying and interacting with members of our community helps us to be truly authentic. As members of a university founded in the Dominican, Catholic traditions, we are all called to live a reflective life that helps us grow into our individual and institutional sense of authenticity.
As the year continues on, I am sure we will all learn more about authenticity. I invite you to do the same as we journey together as “Saints” becoming who God created us to be. And, remember the words of St. Catherine of Siena: “If you are who we should be, you will set the world on fire.”
Blessings on you and all your loved ones!
Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD