Each year, a special introduction is written for our blog to extend a warm welcome to the incoming class and your families as you enter not only a new school but also a new chapter of your lives. There’s a certain quality that attracts students to become Siena Saints, and in four years, you may know exactly what I mean. As I recognize the impact of my time here and all of the knowledge I have gathered, I think what makes a Saint a Saint is resilience.
My senior year unfolded in the midst of a pandemic. Each of us is uniquely aware of the uncertainty, loneliness, challenge, and loss of this past year. During my final year at Siena, I watched the school I have grown to love struggle socially, having to skip many major events in order to prioritize the health and safety of our close community. It is during the Spring 2021 semester that I watched and played a role in the resurgence of our living and breathing campus with the onset of spring and New York’s swift rollout of the COVID-19 Vaccine. In this way, I witnessed and practiced Siena’s resilience; a school that rose from a long and dark winter stronger than it was when it entered it.
As you become a Saint, you will recognize that Siena’s resilience will find a home in you, just as you will find a home in it. In light of our school’s Franciscan heritage, we glean an important and formative example of resilience in the Prayer of Saint Francis, in which we ask to become instruments of peace. Surrounded by the noise and indifference of the world, Saints strive to be voices of peace with and for others. We seek to sow love where there is hate, planting acts of kindness in the places and in the hearts of those who have been dulled by the world. Where there is darkness, Saints bring light, our optimism and commitment to change remaining unshaken. While observing Francis’ example, we come to know that it is in giving that we receive and in our resilience that we continue to grow stronger.
Saint Francis is the patron saint of ecology and an integral aspect of the Franciscan tradition is reverence for nature. At this point, you may or may not know that Siena’s campus has recently been named one of the top 50 Most Beautiful in the country by Conde Nast Traveler, and while this rings true, I am delighted to share that at Siena, you will encounter beauty in more than just your surroundings.
You’ll find beauty in the little things. Like the way your fellow Saints will hold doors open for one another, the way the light shines off the dome of Siena Hall, the way the leaves are tracked throughout your residence hall during the fall, the way you forget how you met your closest friends but are forever grateful for them anyway, the ways you will come to serve others, the way you’ll get to know the friars and their stories, the way everything will take shape for you over the course of your time here, and so many more small details that will hold a big place in your heart.
In sharing intentions for you as you enter the Siena Community, I hope that you find all of the ways to love this school. Afterall, through all of the peaks and valleys that you have encountered in the past year alone, you found your way here. We couldn’t be happier to have you. This is what makes you resilient. This is what makes you a Saint. As you set your sights on the future, I hope that you carry this inherent courage while you continue to pave your path here on Loudon Road and beyond.