Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., vice president for student life, reflected on how the blessing of hands gives expression to the mission of Caldwell University and empowers the students to be a healing presence to the people they work with and tend to. “The students realize their hands give healing and love to those who are most vulnerable.” She said it is meaningful for them “to recognize their own worth and power in what they are choosing to do.”
President Nancy Blattner asked the students to remember the day and to consider the beauty of the grace and compassion of their hands. “You are the blessing to those you come in contact with,” she said, encouraging them to live the mission of Caldwell University.
Dr. Barbara Chesler, vice president for academic affairs, encouraged the students in their commitment to pursue nursing careers recounting how her mother was studying nursing in England when World War II broke out. She was the age of many of Caldwell’s students and was taken out of school to nurse Italian prison of war soldiers. As a result, Dr. Chesler has always had great respect for nurses.
Dr. Theodora Sirota, interim director of the Nursing Department, said it was a special day, bringing together Caldwell’s mission and the compassion of nurses and showing students how important their choice of a career is in their lives.
Chaplain Father Al Berner and Nursing faculty members Brenda Peterson, Aneesha Jean, Phygenia Nimoh, and Meghan Ryan also participated in the ceremony including leading prayers and reading Scripture.
Juniors Natalie Pedri and Samantha Coughlin agreed that it was a special ceremony, particularly since some of their professors were crying and were clearly moved. “We’re one step into the future,” said Coughlan.