Monday Meditation: Vocation

The first Cortina Formation Time of the year focused on the topic of vocation. Freshmen and sophomores were split into separate rooms to hear from members of the Creighton and Omaha communities who shared their vocational journey and gave advice to students as they find their own vocation.

Our panelists were: Kyle O’Reilly, video editor at West Corporation; Scott McClure, Vice President of the Magis Program at Creighton; Dr. Andy Gustafson, Associate Professor of Business Ethics and Society at Creighton; Dr. Corey Guenther, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Creighton; Becky Nickerson, Assistant Director for Leadership and Retention in Creighton’s Office of Multicultural Affairs; Amanda Drapcho, Director of the Lieben Center for Women at Creighton; and Kate McKillip, an internal and pediatric resident at UNMC. We thank them so much for taking the time to spend their Sunday evening with us!

As you begin to reflect and meditate on your passions and career calling, here are some great resources to help you continue thinking about vocation:

“Something’s your vocation if it keeps making more of you.” — Gail Godwin, Evensong

What does vocation mean to you? How do you see your time at Creighton informing your vocation? What can you do/are you doing to make your time here meaningful? How do you balance your inner voice and the demands of society/college culture when it comes to discerning your vocation?

Cortina Interview Project ||On Self-Reflection & Other-Centeredness

Roc O’Connor speaks on Self-Reflection & Other-Centeredness in Jesuit Higher Education.

A Letter from Former Cortinian Elizabeth Samson

A Letter from Former Cortinian Elizabeth Samson

Elizabeth writes to us from the Mile High City, Denver, Colorado, where she is volunteering with the Vincentian Volunteer Corps. Elizabeth was an RA for Cortina her senior year and an RA in Deglman hall the year before–she got the … Continue reading

What Cortina Was To Me: Strength and Direction in Community

I entered the Cortina Community with a fairly strong sense of social justice.  Social justice first interested me in the 6th grade when I started speaking out against sweatshops and Nike.  This advocacy didn’t garner me much popularity, and I became used to being independent and working on my own.  The high school wrestling team gave me my first real sense of community, of belonging and being part of something.  I finally felt part of my faith community when I attended the Jesuit Family Teach-In my junior year of high school.  I realized how important community is not just for my own health, but also for social justice.  Cortina taught me that.

My best friends Bill, Pat and Tim also joined Cortina.  I thought we would all live in the same suite, but the leadership thankfully changed plans in the middle.  We picked roommates but were assigned suitemates.  Unable to be with only the people that made me comfortable, I had to branch out into the wider community.  I made amazing friends as I became the guy with a minivan, a self-proclaimed giver of excellent hugs and the oddball who always slept on the couch in the common areas.  These experiences not only helped me find joy, but taught me the vital importance of love and community in social justice.

I learned what it means to give myself to community, to serve and to love others.  More importantly, I learned what it means to let others love and serve me.  I share in the brokenness and struggles.  As a weightlifter and wrestler, I sometimes find it difficult to realize that others might be stronger than I am.  The wonderful people on my floor, however, demonstrated inexplicable love and kindness.  They helped me learn humility, generosity, and what how to engage social justice in a way I could have never done on my own.

Many of my community mates also unknowingly helped me discern my vocation.  Most knew I was interested in joining the Jesuits, but only six knew I was in the midst of the application second semester.  Through their support and graciousness I learned what vocation means—to be called not just by God, but just as much by the community.  My vocation, given by God and community, is to be a voice for the voiceless.  It is to live justly, live communally, live as a Jesuit.

-Ken Homan, A Cortinian in

Ken Homan pic

What Cortina Was to Me: Invigorating

Three of my four college years were spent living and engaging in the Cortina Community. To say these three years were life changing would not be giving them enough credit. In many ways I am both jealous of and excited for the upcoming freshman class for the having the opportunity to be a part of this community when beginning their journey at Creighton. However, I was blessed to be challenged and inspired by my peers, resident advisors, and those whom I served (yes, service was not a one way street) all while being a part of a caring community.

Before becoming a part of Cortina, I was ignorant and happy to be so.  Through our Sunday community time, service sites, and community conversations, I was challenged to actually open my eyes and confront the injustices in our society.  Service at Siena Francis, a local homeless shelter, started as an uncomfortable endeavor for me.  How was I, a 20 year old college student, suppose to connect with someone who lost their home, job, and is struggling with addiction?  For some reason I could not get around the prejudices I walked into Siena Francis with.  However, week after week, I returned to serve breakfast and participate in their weekly celebration of sobriety.  Slowly, I began to get to know the clients of Siena Francis and was able to see them for individuals they were as opposed to defining them by their homelessness.

These moments at Siena Francis, along with a service trip centered around homelessness in Denver, ignited my passion and shaped my post-graduate plans.  By addressing my prejudices and deciding to focusing my energy on the issue of homelessness, I ended up a volunteer at a transitional housing facility in Omak, Washington.  Sure, my case may be slightly more drastic compared to most of my peers, but Cortina provided a safe space where I could confront my ignorant attitude.  I was able to reflect on my beliefs, be exposed to social justice issues, expand my comfort zone and gain meaningful relationships, all of which was done alongside my peers and supervisors.

One word to describe my Cortina experience: Invigorating.
-Kayla Zobel
A Cortinian in 2009-2010, A Cortina RA from 2010-2012
kayla zobel

Monday Meditation: On Authentic Selfhood

“Hold still, we’re going to do your portrait, so that you can begin looking like it right away.” -Helene Cixous

These words are chilling, and rightly so. The idea that we position ourselves to begin looking like a version of ourselves that someone else has determined is best  is no less than frightening. Cixous, a brilliant feminist theorist, meant for these words to scare. She isn’t into this version of self-creation.

Yesterday, in our meeting, I read this quote by Parker Palmer:

“We arrive in this world with birthright gifts–then we spend the first half of our lives abandoning them or letting mothers [or fathers] disabuse us of them. As young people, we are surrounded by expectations that may have little to do with who we really are, expectations held by people who are not trying to discern our selfhood but to fit us into slots. In families, schools, workplaces, and religious communities, we are trained away from true self toward images of acceptability; under social pressures like racism and sexism our original shape is deformed beyond recognition; and we ourselves, driven by fear, too often betray true self to gain the approval of others…Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks — we will also find our path of authentic service in the world. True vocation joins self and service, as Frederick Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as ‘the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.'”

In our meeting, Liz challenged us to think the of  “love” and “vocation” as intimately tied. Brother Pat challenged us to unplug and cut out those things that make it hard to hear the quiet voice calling us into full life.

We need to position ourselves in relationship to people, objects, events, studies, activities, and ideas that challenge us, but also that call us into our authentic self–not the self given to us by the the world that exists outside of us, and often only wants to use us.

Where do you see love in your life?  What in your life is “too loud”? Whose voice in your life is “too loud”?  Where do you feel the most joy and also the deepest service to the world? What is the picture that is being painted of you? Does the picture conform to the reality of the self that is trying to emerge from you? How can you best position yourself to discern your next steps, steps that bring life to you and to others?

-Annie