A new “Faith in Action” wall celebrates the Catholic Dominican charism of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell and Caldwell University and graces the walls of the second floor in Werner Hall. Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., vice president for student life, wanted to create a special spot on campus where passers-by and visitors could see the social justice issues that the Sisters of St. Dominic pursue and how that work informs the university’s life.
The colorful display showcases projects and commitments that uphold what it means to be “living the mission” and “growing mission every day” and to show “devotion to our Dominican heritage.” Panels show the Sisters’ commitment to the “sacredness of all creation” through their “corporate stances” and actions on nonviolence, the death penalty, genetically engineered foods and labeling of foods, human trafficking and immigration reform and their commitment to a land ethic and to confronting climate change. “It highlights the mission of the Sisters and gives words and reflection to their preaching and living,” said Sister Kathleen.
Senior Brittany Gaule got to know several of the Sisters of St. Dominic through her involvement in campus ministry. The wall “helps us remember them … and how they passed the torch to us,” said Gaule.
One of the projects highlighted is the installation of a solar energy system, which provides 8% of the electricity for Caldwell University, Mount St. Dominic Academy and the Motherhouse. Quotes are included from St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas and Pope Francis’s encyclical “Laudato Si.”
Pictures and text present the academic and extracurricular activities showing a “direct connection” between the Dominican Sisters and “how we live the mission today at the university,” explained Colleen O’Brien, director of campus ministry, who worked on the project with Sister Kathleen. Activities included are Caldwell Day, the annual day of community service; the volunteer trip to Belize; the Young Adult Dominican Preaching Conference; the Faculty Commission on World Concerns lectures; Founder’s Day, and Masses. A panel on Dominican values describes how the life of St. Dominic, the mission of the Sisters of St. Dominic and the four pillars of Dominican life inform the university’s core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence.
Senior Anthony Pineros said the wall’s visuals can encourage students to “incorporate in our lives the examples of faith and fellowship.” One of those activities is the Midnight Run during which students reach out to the homeless in New York City. He and Gaule joined the campus ministry run the week before Thanksgiving to give out clothing and food. It was especially poignant this year given the losses the vulnerable have faced due to the pandemic. “We brought light to their worlds,” said Pineros.
Relocated next to the showcase are pictures of the Dominicans, St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Agnes of Montepulciano, St. Martin de Porres and St. Rose of Lima.
New statements from the Sisters on the environment and racism will be added to the display. “The wall will continue to grow as the Sisters continue to bring forth the Gospel message,” said Sister Kathleen. She and O’Brien are encouraging the campus community and guests to visit the display to learn more about the roots of the university. “I think it will catch people’s attention and encourage them to reflect deeper on the call of the Caldwell Dominican mission,” said O’Brien.
For Pineros and Gaule, who are approaching the end of their college careers, it is special to be able to walk past the photos, some of which show them taking part in activities over four years at Caldwell. “Looking at this wall makes me take a trip down memory lane,” said Pineros. “It is something to hold on to and cherish,” said Gaule.
Graphic Imagery, the agency that created the Faith in Action wall, was recently honored with “Gold” from the annual Educational Advertising Award competition for creation of the wall.