October 30, 2018
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Joined by Professor Charles Zola and Jeanne Conboy from the college’s Catholic and Dominican Institute (center), 14 Dominican Scholars of Hope from Mount Saint Mary College recently enjoyed a service learning trip to the Mariandale Center in Ossining, N.Y. The students aided the Dominican Sisters of Hope with gardening work and discussed spirituality.
The Dominican Scholars of Hope, a group of civic-minded students from Mount Saint Mary College, recently spent a day reflecting on St. Dominic’s Pillars of Study with the aid of their namesake, the Dominican Sisters of Hope.
Rooted in the values of the Judeo-Christian and Dominican heritage of the college, the Dominican Scholars of Hope is a nonacademic living and learning community for highly motivated Mount students.
More than a dozen of these scholars traveled to the Mariandale Center in Ossining, N.Y. – a retreat center for spiritual, personal, and communal growth that is sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Hope – to help the sisters winterize their vegetable and herb gardens. The group harvested eggplants, tomatoes, and herbs; pulled weeds; cleaned out vegetable beds; and prepared herbs for drying.
Sr. Bette Jaster, OP, Environmental Program Specialist, offered a reflection on contemporary ecological problems like global warming, drought, and pollution. She explained the importance of good stewardship of God’s creation and the need to work for a cleaner planet through fostering an eco-friendly attitude. Sr. Jaster noted that she lives out the Dominican charism through her involvement in environmental causes, and she challenged the students to think critically about the world around them.
After lunch, Sr. Jaster took the Mount scholars on a tour of the Mariandale Center property, explaining how the natural world can be a rich source for spiritual contemplation. The walk included stops at the prayer labyrinth on the property, a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Healing, and a grotto dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.
Whether extracurricular or embedded in coursework, service is a core element of a Mount education. St. Dominic’s Order of Preachers embraces four pillars of life: prayer, study, community, and service. Mount Saint Mary College is guided by these Dominican traditions and fosters a love of volunteerism in its students.
“The gardening trip with the Dominican Sisters was a truly phenomenal experience,” said Nick Tucker, a sophomore from the Bronx, N.Y. “It allowed me to see the Dominican Pillars of community and service at work via gardening. I loved taking part in this experience with my fellow Dominican Scholars of Hope.”
Richard Conboy, a freshman Dominican Scholar of Hope from Dumont, N.J., said that the event provided “a peaceful atmosphere which allowed me to connect spiritually for the first time in a while. The walk that we took at the end was extra special to me because it allowed me to get some alone time to pray.”
The Dominican Scholars of Hope program is spearheaded by Charles Zola, associate professor of Philosophy, director of the Mount’s Catholic and Dominican Institute, and Assistant to the President for Mission Integration.