Monday Moments with President Bergman: March 22, 2021

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on March 22nd, 2021 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

The vision statement that undergirds our Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan says this: Gustavus equips students to lead purposeful lives and to act on the great challenges of our time through an innovative liberal arts education of recognized excellence. Whether you are a current student, an alumnus, or an employee of any age, these words can speak to you.

I had an opportunity last week to listen to a webinar hosted by NetVUE (Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education) that featured the authors of a new book entitled Living Vocationally: The Journey of the Called Life. The authors are Paul Wadell, who teaches at St. Norbert College, and Charles Pinches, who teaches at the University of Scranton. Both are professors of theology and religious studies. I had several takeaways from the webinar:

  • Our vocation journey involves telling our story and listening to the stories of others. Each of our stories has a past and a present, and we are, each day, living into our future. Our stories include times of success and triumph, and they include times of disappointment and challenge. Through the stories of others, we gain new insights about ourselves.
  • Sometimes our callings come suddenly and unexpectedly during the ordinary moments of life, and sometimes they slowly emerge through learning, growing, and discernment about our vocations. We can have many callings in lifeour vocations are dynamic and can change over time.
  • When we live vocationally, we live for the greater good. We connect to something bigger than ourselves, and we live in service to others and for the benefit of our community.

While listening to the webinar, and in the days since then, I found myself thinking about this phrase in our vision statement that calls us “to lead purposeful lives.” What comes to mind when you think about leading a purposeful life? For me, it means living on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose. It means thinking about, wrestling with, and continually discerning my vocations (or my callings) in life. It means paying attention to the stories of others, learning something new every day, and figuring out how I can use my talents to serve the people around me.

Your vocation journey is a part of the overall Gustavus story. Together we seek to make our community and the world a place where everyone can thrive. I hope you have noticed that the Gustavus vision statement is written on the stairs inside the southeast corner of the Jackson Campus Center. Each time you walk up those stairs, take the opportunity to read and re-read these words, and think about how you are living out this vision statement. In particular, this week, be mindful of your own journey toward a purposeful life.

Yours in community,

President Bergman


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