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“Dorm Talk” Series Features Discussions of Beauty, Intelligence & Sanctity

“Dorm Talk” Series Features Discussions of Beauty, Intelligence & Sanctity

Posted: December 11, 2018

This fall has marked a strong start for the annual Women’s Dorm Talk Series, which Resident Assistant Jeannette Richard (’17) and Student Activities Director Kayla Grimm (’20) organize for the women of Thomas Aquinas College. The semester has featured four talks, all presented by members of the College community:

  • The series began on October 3, when Admissions Counselor Sarah Dufresne (’14) spoke on the subject, “Marian Consecration: By Being Bound We are Free.” Sharing her own story of growing closer to the Blessed Mother, Miss Dufresne discussed St. Louis de Montfort’s prescription for Marian consecration, stressing the importance of Our Lady in the spiritual life.
  • On All Saints Day, Dr. Margaret Hughes, a new member of the College’s teaching faculty, presented a talk titled, “Humility and Hope in Discussion (Or, Why You Should Not Worry About How Smart You Are).” Responding to concerns that she had heard from a number of women about classroom discussions, she emphasized that there is a wide variety of intellectual gifts, that each one can be invaluable in the classroom, and that, in God’s eyes, the innate goodness and worth of every person is not dependent on intelligence.
  • About two weeks later, Mary Ann (Hastings ’03) Shivone, a graduate of the College and wife of tutor Dr. Stephen Shivone, “held the girls spellbound,” Miss Richard reports, “with an inspiring talk” called “Loving the Beautiful in the Age of Distraction.” In her examination of the role of beauty in the life of the faithful, Mrs. Shivone described how love of beauty can act as a remedy to sluggishness and callousness, reawaking the heart to deeper realities and to God Himself. She also gave advice about how to cultivate such a love of beauty, prompting a lively discussion.
  • To close out the semester, another alumna and faculty spouse, Suzie Andres (’87), gave a December 2 talk about Servant of God Marcel Van, a mid-20th century Vietnamese lay brother whom she calls “the spiritual little brother of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.” Drawing on St. Thérèse’s “little way” to sainthood, Mrs. Andres encouraged the women to let God into every aspect of their lives, noting that nothing is too small or insignificant to share with God. (“Armed with a first class relic of St. Therese herself, I spoke on Marcel to a group of wonderful young women,” writes Mrs. Andres on her blog. “It was a lovely group.”)

Now in its fourth year, the Dorm Talks typically consist of a 45-minute presentation, refreshments, and a question-and-answer session that has, on occasion, run well into the night. “These informal talks provide spiritual and moral guidance to the female students to complement the rigorous intellectual studies we have here, and help foster relationships between the girls and the female tutors, tutor wives, and other female role models in the College community,” says Miss Richard. “I am so grateful to all the wonderful women who have come to share their wisdom and spend an evening with the girls. They are all such lovely examples of Catholic womanhood!”

Adds sophomore Shelby Heaton, “The Dorm talks are edifying and entertaining. It’s wonderful and refreshing to have a variety of such lovely women take time to come speak to us.”

Regina Sweeney (’97)

“One of the things I’m most grateful for is the attitude the College instills toward learning, an attitude of not being afraid to try something that most people would say is difficult, and instead working through it.”

– Regina Sweeney (’97)

Mother of Eight

“I am grateful to Thomas Aquinas College for educating new leaders for our Church, leaders who are grounded in their personal relationship and commitment to Jesus Christ.”

– Most. Rev. George Niederauer

Archbishop Emeritus of San Francisco