Two titans of the academic world will clash tonight in the Leighton Concert Hall when famed anti-theist and author of books such as “God is Not Great” Christopher Hitchens faces Catholic apologist Dinesh D’Souza in “The God Debate: Is Religion the Problem?”Hitchens and D’Souza represent two fundamentally irreconcilable positions, and both have come under criticism for their tendency to use demeaning language and bullying in debates.Theology Professor Fr. Richard McBrien said he will not be attending because both Hitchens and D’Souza represent the extremist sects of their respective viewpoints.“I’m not excited about the debate because an intelligent middle position will not be represented. The two debaters reflect, in my opinion, extreme anti-religious views, on the one hand, and an extreme right-wing view of Catholicism, on the other hand,” McBrien said. “It’s an important debate, but the religious side would require someone with a more comprehensive theological perspective.”Junior Sy Doan, who wrote an Observer Letter to the Editor criticizing Hitchens’ aggressive debate tactics, said despite his reputation as an “intellectual bully,” Hitchens is still a “viable member of the intellectual community who Notre Dame should welcome.”“I think it’s wrong that we expect intellectuals to be genial and mild-mannered,” Doan said. “Intelligence and comity do not necessarily go hand-in-hand.”After President Barack Obama was invited to speak at last year’s Commencement ceremony, Notre Dame’s identity as a Catholic university has been criticized.“To shun an important, admittedly controversial, member of the academic community in Mr. Hitchens would be to betray Notre Dame’s commitment to a holistic, liberal arts education, in my opinion,” Doan said.Some students around campus agreed with Doan’s sentiment and felt the debate would actually help strengthen their faith.“As when Obama visited our campus last year to give the Commencement address, it is important to open a dialogue with those who disagree with Catholic teaching in order to strengthen our own beliefs,” junior Zach Reuvers said. “The University cannot fulfill their mission of educating hearts and minds if they only present one side of an issue.”Junior Scott McIntosh, who is a theology minor, said ignoring works “by individuals such as Hitchens only hurts Catholicism.”“By engaging in civilized dialogue with those who have opposing beliefs, we can not only deepen our own understanding of the Scriptures, but also share and articulate the beliefs of the Catholic Church in the hopes that others may see what the Church has to offer,” he said.Sophomore Dennis Grabowski said hosting the debate is important for sustaining an intellectual climate at Notre Dame.“This debate has importance for all those who seek to promote an atmosphere of discourse on this campus — those who seek an atmosphere in which questions can be better resolved, positions strengthened and others’ beliefs accepted,” he said.Grabowski said Notre Dame’s position as the preeminent Catholic university in America made it the perfect forum for the God Debate.“There are few forums which are actually improper for the discussion of the existence of God; a University such as ours which seeks to be known as an intellectual one is certainly not among these,” he said. “Indeed, the world’s leading Catholic University is the perfect forum for the discussion of deep religious questions.”One complaint about the event centered on its timing. Theology Professor Fr. Neil Roy said it is odd that the God Debate would be scheduled during a holy week.“Given the splendid ceremonies of the Easter Triduum just celebrated so magnificently at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the ongoing exuberance of faith on campus during the Easter Octave, it seems somewhat awkward that this particular event should be scheduled on 7 April — Easter Wednesday,” he said.Many students complained about the scarcity of tickets available. Both Reuvers and McIntosh said they were in class while the event sold out and were unable to get tickets afterward.“I was also frustrated by the lack of tickets available to students,” Reuvers said. “An event of this magnitude should be held in a location that allows a large number of people to attend and I believe a majority of the tickets should be reserved for students.”Junior Jessica Hedrich wrote a Letter to the Editor expressing her own frustration with the lack of tickets, but was given a ticket after an event organizer saw her letter.“I am a committed Catholic, and I think rationally considering these questions can bring a deeper understanding of my faith and why I believe what I believe,” she said.For those unable to attend the debate, it will be broadcast live tonight on NDTV.
The Saint Mary’s College Student Diversity Board (SDB) will host a Hunger Banquet sometime before Christmas break, but students can begin helping now. The event is meant to remind students that hunger is a major concern around the world, Kelly Reidenbach, vice president of SDB, said. On the day of the event, students are asked to donate a meal swipe — one meal at the College’s Noble Family Dining Hall — to an organization that provides food for the underprivileged and to participate in an experiment that helps demonstrate the global wage gaps between classes. Reidenbach said the entire process for participating in the event is very simple. “It is just like swiping for a meal in the dining hall except the money that would normally go to Sodexo will be donated to an organization that helps fight hunger,” she said. A table will be set up in the Student Center Atrium on the days prior to the event so students can sign up with their identification number. After donating a meal, students are then encouraged to attend an exercise hosted by SDB instead of going to the dining hall to eat. Students will be divided into different economic classes and each group will be served dinner according to their class, Reidenbach said. A slide show will be shown and a few professors will give short talks on topics dealing with the event. “The Hunger Banquet is a great way to provide an opportunity for open discussion as well as an opportunity to educate students and community members and bring awareness of an issue that affects millions of individuals worldwide,” Reidenbach said. “Many people do not realize that hunger is not only a world issue, but also an issue in the United States and even the South Bend community.” The Board strives to fulfill one of its main purposes through the event — to provide opportunities for discussion on issues relat[ed] to various socio-economic backgrounds among other topics of diversity, according to Reidenbach. The Board has been working with Oxfam International, an international relief and development organization that works with colleges to create solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice. The Board received supplies and ideas from the organization to make the event possible.
A voice that matters The strike did make headlines around the country as the nation’s third largest public school system fought through negotiations over the past two weeks. Dr. Maria McKenna, primary advisor for students in the Program for Education, Schooling and Society (ESS), said the national attention to the strike could bring more education issues to the table for discussion. “I think that this strike and the complexity of the issues that both sides were dealing with require people from all sorts of different disciplines to come together and really think in new ways about education, about children and learning and about teaching,” she said. McKenna participated in a forum discussion hosted by the EduClub on Wednesday evening about the strike, along with labor historian and history professor Dr. Dan Graff. During the forum, Graff said both the city and the CTU made sacrifices in the negotiations. The school board promised the teachers to hire 600 new teachers in art, music and other non-core classes, as well as more school counselors. In a city where many schools began class without any textbooks, the board also guaranteed textbooks would arrive before the first day of class. However, Graff said the teachers union conceded on the issue of teacher evaluation, which will continue to utilize standardized testing results at least in part. “My sense as an outsider and an observer is that at least internally, the union came away stronger by this fight, by the activity itself of banding together and striking, showing strength in the face of some real strong attempts to take away some of the CTU’s bargaining power,” Graff said. The strike was the first major strike in an American metropolitan area in more than two dozen years, Graff said. “We’re not used to seeing big public strikes,” he said. “The goal is not quitting. It’s withdrawing our labor as leverage to get you to negotiate. … This is what a strike is supposed to do. You get to a settlement and then you move on.” ‘You know who lost?’ Sophomore Shaaya Ellis disagreed with Graff, however. For him, teachers belong in the classroom, not on picket lines. “I’ve been following it every step of the way,” he said. “What I got for it was greedy union thugs wanting to be paid more money for incompetence.” Ellis, who attended public schools in the Bronx and Harlem in New York, said he has followed the strike closely in the media throughout the past few weeks. The rhetoric on the strike has focused on who won and lost between the city and the teachers, Ellis said, but that debate has taken away from students’ education. “We can go back and forth and decide who won, who won,” he said. “You know who lost? The children. They lost seven days of instruction, and to them, that’s an extended summer break. … The students, they won’t see the disaster that the union has wrought on them.” Senior and EduClub president Rebecca Kibler said Notre Dame students have a responsibility to promote educational opportunities for younger students. “In general, Notre Dame students are where we are because we received a stellar K-12 education or have had a lot of opportunities and are continuing to get that education,” she said. “Many of the [CPS students] don’t have arts teachers, they don’t have music teachers, they don’t have basic things like that that are part of a well-rounded education, like Notre Dame students kind of take for granted.” Future teachers should especially pay attention to the issues debated in light of this strike, Kibler said. ‘”I think this is a really great opportunity for students to really look at both sides of an issue and sort of evaluate personally where they’re going to fall on it, so if they going into the teaching profession they’ll have a well-reasoned opinion on these things that teachers should have an opinion about,” she said. Back to school For Sammon, the strike was perhaps more draining than a day teaching math at the front of her classroom. “It was quite exhausting,” she said. “We had to be at school earlier than normal even. Plus it’s not exactly a fun time just standing with a sign up and waiting for cars to honk.” Sammon, like all other CPS teachers, is a member of the union. While she worried about her students, as they weren’t in school, she said she felt it was important to show solidarity for her coworkers. “I knew I needed to be there to show my support for my coworkers who were very interested in the strike,” she said. “To me, it was more important to establish a good relationship with them.” Even as the strike ends, McMannon said a return to the classrooms will not end some of the critical questions for her school district. “To be honest, I am worried about what is going to happen system-wide going forward,” she said. “Schools are going to be shut down, which means schools that are already overcrowded will become more crowded. There already aren’t enough resources, and given that Illinois’ economy is one of the worst in the nation, I just don’t see where those are going to come from.” McMannon said she also worries teachers will leave the area to find jobs elsewhere. “These are tough issues that are likely impossible to solve, but they are not impossible to improve,” she said. “I am not hoping that suddenly all the problems are gone and CPS is the top public school district in the country. That is completely unrealistic. I am hopeful, however, that this process will allow the teachers, the board and the city to come together to word toward improvement, because it really is needed.” Contact Megan Doyle at [email protected] Notre Dame graduate Molly Sammon stood in front of her high school students at Chicago Vocational Career Academy in the south side of Chicago on Sept. 4 for the first day of the school year. It was her first day as a teacher. Six days later, Sammon stood across the street from her empty classroom, hoisting a sign in the air on behalf of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). Sammon, a Teach for America corps member, joined forces with teachers from her school and public schools across the city in the eight-day strike that kept kids from their classrooms and brought teachers to the picket lines. “It became apparent that there was a lot of community and parent support,” Sammon said. “Parents know what the school is like. They know we’re missing a lot of really basic needs. … We’re missing adequate textbooks, we’re missing air conditioning, athletic equipment and computers. So they know our struggle.” City officials and union delegates reached an agreement and suspended the strike Wednesday, and the union members will vote to ratify the new contract in coming weeks. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers returned to their classrooms Thursday after lengthy debates on teacher evaluations, school resources and other education issues. The Chicago Vocational Career Academy where Sammon teaches is in a low-income neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. With the strike, Sammon said she worried about her students on the streets instead of inside the classroom. “A lot of students here get breakfast, lunch and dinner supplied for them by the state. … I think daycare becomes a problem when you are working paycheck to paycheck, and you depend on the school for daycare,” she said. “I spent all of the strike thinking about, ‘What are they doing right now, are they safe, are they fed? I know they aren’t thinking about math, but are they getting their basic needs met?’” But on Thursday, Sammon finally returned to her classroom. “Today really felt like the first day of school,” she said Thursday. “Kids were excited and hugging their friends in the hallway. I took today to go over all the rules. A few of my students said that they were ready to start learning math again, so naturally that got me excited to continue the rest of the year strike-free and with a solid working contract.” As the storm brewed during Sammon’s first days at school, she said she warned her students about the possibility of the strike before they left class Friday, not knowing if they would be back in their desks Monday. Sammon, a former sports writer for The Observer, said she turned the strike into a lesson about how her students could engage their community by following the local media. “This was so fun for me to tell my students, ‘Watch the news. Go home and watch the news on Sunday night,’” she said. “For the first time, these kids were involved … and their lives were directly involved in politics.”
“Show Some Skin: It’s Complicated,” a performance of 27 anonymously submitted dialogues by 18 actors, opened Thursday night at the Carey Auditorium of Hesburgh Library with consecutive performances the following two nights. While last year’s show “The Race Monologues” centered on race and ethnicity, “Show Some Skin” broadened its focus to include all forms of identity at Notre Dame. Sophomore Monica McEvoy, an actor in the show, said she joined after stage manager Sarah Yunjung Jung told her she would be a good fit for this year’s changed focus. “I’ve always wanted to be involved in something like this on campus,” McEvoy said. “Sarah really encouraged me to actually do it.” The dialogues McEvoy and her fellow actors performed ranged from topics of depression to race, which she said made the show more comprehensive and relatable for all audience members. Those who participate in the show are able to see how brave these anonymous writers really are, McEvoy said. While the writers use their talent to create these dialogues, the actors use their passion to perform on the authors’ behalf. “It’s one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever been involved in,” she said. “These voices, the anonymous writers that have submitted these pieces, it’s nice that actors are sharing their story for them.” Besides acting her two dialogues titled “The Story of Bread” and “Average ND,” McEvoy also participated in several of the other skits. “They had people in the background in some of them so I was a kindergartener coloring with crayons in one of them, I was a person in a lineup in the back in another,” she said. “I also played a pale person in one of the pieces.” Once students participate in the show as actors, they are not allowed to act again. McEvoy said the creators of the show want to have different people involved each year. “I can’t be an actor again, but I’m definitely considering being part of the production in some form,” she said. She said she may join the storyboard team or even submit an anonymous piece. McEvoy enjoyed the experience not only because of the content but also because of the friends she made as well. “I met a lot of really cool people that I wouldn’t have known at all otherwise,” she said. “We’re just not from the same circles.” Sophomore Katelyn Virga attended the show after seeing how hard one of her friends was working on her pieces for the show. After hearing her perform her dialogues in the dorm, Virga said she became interested in the idea and decided to see the whole production. “I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I like how they incorporated not just racial issues but also stories of people dealing with body image issues, self-confidence and finding themselves.” Stories on students dealing with bulimia and anorexia also were voiced during the show. Virga said those stories provided a new perspective on how these issues can affect anyone at Notre Dame. “That could be anyone down the hall,” she said. “We just don’t know.” Virga said students need to be careful not to judge, and they should watch what they say. “Even comments we say to our friends that we consider harmless could affect someone, could hurt them without us even knowing it,” she said. The dialogues often contained comic relief portions scattered throughout, she said. The stories varied in length, some lasting several minutes while the shortest was one line. Virga said the lines were powerful regardless of the length. As a follow-up to the show, McEvoy said the production team and faculty advisors will host a conversation open to any audience members who attended one of the performances. The discussion will take place on April 12 from 6-8 p.m. in the Notre Dame Room of LaFortune Student Center. As stated in the Show Some Skin pamphlet, students are welcomed to share their thoughts on the dialogues or their own stories and learn more about getting involved in the show next year.
Like most Notre Dame students, senior Sam Bellafiore had an idea of what his future career would be when he was still in high school. But at the time, Bellafiore wasn’t thinking about becoming an accountant or a lawyer — he was thinking about becoming a priest.Bellafiore, who will enter Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York, this September, said he has been drawn to religious life for quite a while, even though there were many times he said he wished he wasn’t.“I started thinking about [becoming a priest] late in high school, and you don’t particularly like the idea of not getting married, or not owning very many things or having to spend every day helping other people,” Bellafiore said. “[Religious life is], on the face of it, not particularly attractive. And I kept finding that, on the surface level, even though it wasn’t attractive, there was something very deep inside of me that still kept wanting to do this.”That part of him that wanted to become a priest grew throughout his time at Notre Dame, Bellafiore said.“Really from the first day I was here — I met someone in my section as a freshman the first week of class, and we talked about discernment,” he said. “People are just in general more open to the idea of someone becoming a priest or religious [at Notre Dame] than you’d find in a lot of other places. So the fact that people were open with it and thought it was an okay thing to do – it makes it a lot easier to think about.”Men that join a seminary can choose either to join an order — like the Congregation of Holy Cross — or a diocese. Bellafiore said he considered joining an order, but ultimately decided to join a diocese so he could serve the city where he grew up.“I was really drawn to serving the people in the place that I’m from, the place that raised me and formed me and helped me become who I am,” Bellafiore said. “And I want to go back and help people there.”Bellafiore said serving the people of his community is something he’s looking forward to most as he prepares to enter religious life. What will be even more important to him than that, though, will be the Mass, he said.“If I became a priest, the most important thing in my life — and if I don’t become a priest, the most important thing in my life — would be Mass, when God actually continues to take flesh in the world and be with us,” Bellafiore said. “That would be the most important thing. There’s nothing more important than that. But I’m also looking forward to, in seminary and if I become a priest, just spending time with people, ministering to them, learning from them and bringing whatever I can share to them.”Senior Christina Serena, who will join the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in August, said she is most looking forward to giving her life “entirely to God” after graduation. Courtesy of Christina Serena Senior Christina Serena (left) will join the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in August. To her left are Sister Joseph Andrew, foundress and vocations director of the order, and two postulants.“Rather than waiting for that time to test out my vocation, I’ll actually get to live it and see it with clearer eyes than I’ve been able to so far,” Serena said.When she first arrived at Notre Dame, Serena said she didn’t want to be a religious sister. But like Bellafiore, her love for religious life grew during her time as an undergraduate.“Through my Foundations of Theology course and through my prayer and getting to know God better in that way, it became clear to me that God was calling me to consider [religious life],” Serena said. “The more I prayed about it, the more I learned about the Dominicans, the more it attracted me. And there just became a point where I fell in love with religious life, and during prayer one morning said, ‘Yes, this is what I want to do.’ And that’s what I’ve wanted to do since.”By the time she was a sophomore, Serena had decided she wanted to join the Dominicans.“I don’t think I would have been able to discern my vocation without an image of religious life,” Serena said. “And the first sisters I ever encountered were from my community, in Spain at World Youth Day. And after [God] introduced them to me it was most natural for me to begin, first of all, discerning with them. And later, meeting other religious orders, I realized that God introduced me first to the order that was right for me. It’s a matter of the heart, so I can’t say exactly why I’m called to them.”Serena said there are many reasons she loves the order.“I love the Dominicans’ commitment to study,” Serena said. “I love that they’re the order of preachers, because I think that’s so important, especially with all the people in our culture today who don’t recognize Christ. They’re also very monastic. I love all the traditional ways of praying, and they wear the traditional Dominican habit. But they’re also very young and joyful; their average age is 30 and the average age of those who enter is 21.“So I’m already over the average. One of the pre-postulants was asking me how I felt about being old,” she said with a laugh.To those discerning their vocation, Bellafiore said the most important thing he has learned throughout the process is not to be afraid.“Fear is not something that comes from God,” Bellafiore said. “He always speaks through peace. There’s also no reason to be afraid because He’s totally good and totally in love with you and wants nothing but what’s good for you.”Serena agreed.“I think oftentimes when people are trying to figure out God’s will, they think of it as something that God knows and He won’t necessarily tell them unless they do everything perfectly, or they really think about it and obsess about it,” she said. “But the vocation is something that God has already implanted in you through baptism, and He actually desires for us to know our vocations more than we do ourselves. So as long as you’re staying close to God through the sacraments and through prayer, He will reveal your vocation to you at the right time.”Tags: Commencement, discernment, dominican sisters of mary, priesthood, Seniors
Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) is investigating a report of sexual assault committed Saturday, according to an email sent to students Thursday night.The assault reportedly occurred in a West Quad men’s residence hall, the email stated. This is the third sexual assault report NDSP has sent to students this school year.The email quoted “du Lac: A Guide to Student Life,” Notre Dame’s official policy book, and warned students of the risks of sexual assault as well as the standards of consent.“Sexual assault can happen to anyone,” the email said. “Anyone initiating any kind of sexual contact with another person must seek consent and not engage in sexual contact unless consent is given.“On college campuses, perpetrators are more likely to assault an acquaintance than a stranger. Being aware of your own safety and watching out for your friends are important steps you can take to reduce the risk of sexual assault.“The perpetrator, not the survivor, is responsible for any instance of sexual assault. Nothing a survivor does or does not do is an excuse for sexual assault.”Tags: Clery Act, NDSP, sexual assaut
Victoria “Tori” Murden McClure, president of Spalding University, will speak at the 169th Saint Mary’s Commencement ceremony, which will take place May 14 on Le Mans Green, according to a College press release. The 350 graduating students represent 31 states and four countries, and three students will be valedictorians, the release said.McClure is the author of “A Pearl in the Storm,” which documents her adventure across the Atlantic, according to the book’s website. She is best known for being both the first woman and first American to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, as well as to ski to the geographic South Pole, the website said. A self-proclaimed explorer, McClure is chair of the board of the National Outdoor Leadership School, according to the website.Prior to her presidency at Spalding, McClure was a chaplain of Boston City Hospital, a policy assistant to the Mayor of Louisville, Ky. and the director of a shelter for homeless women, the press release said. According to the release, she will be receiving an honorary doctorate of humanities for her commitment to public service.Along with McClure, Sister Joan Marie Steadman and Portia Prebys will be receiving honorary degrees from the College, the release said.Steadman will be recognized for her leadership abilities and her mission-focused efforts to preserve the legacies of both the College and the congregation, the press release said. She is the executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and a board member of Loyola University Health System in Chicago, according to the release. She also served on the College’s Board of Regents, now known as the Board of Trustees, from 1982 to 2006, and maintained her position during her presidency of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, the release said.Prebys will receive an honorary doctorate of humanities, according to the press release. She serves as the director of Saint Mary’s study abroad program in Rome and will be recognized for her life’s dedication to the cultural exchange between Italy and the United States, the release stated. A ’66 graduate of the College, Prebys received a Fulbright Fellowship to study Renaissance history in Italy, where she currently resides, the press release said.Tags: Commencement, Saint Mary’s Commencement, Spalding College
The Notre Dame Folk Choir will perform their annual Concert for the Missions in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Friday at 8 p.m. The concert benefits Yancana Huasy — an organization that assists families who have children with disabilities — through Holy Cross Missions, senior and Folk Choir social commissioner Greg Demet said. “The Concert for the Missions is our annual event to raise proceeds for the Holy Cross Missions organization, and this will be our 24th year hosting the concert,” he said. As the group’s only performance concert of the year, the Concert for the Mission places special emphasis on the organizations it benefits, senior and Folk Choir president Liam Maher said. Located in Canto Grande, Peru — which contains a large impoverished population — Yancana Huasy supports families with disabled children because it is usually economically challenging to provide for their children here, Demet said. “Our goal is to support these families financially, spiritually and socially,” he said. “We strive to give hope to families who have lost all hope by relieving them of significant economic burdens.”Folk Choir director J.J. Wright said Yancana Huasy provides the Canto Grande community with services they need in order to live fuller lives.“A child born with a disability is viewed as a curse in this community, which usually leaves the mothers to care for their children alone,” he said. Canto Grande was built in landfill, and as a result contains a significantly poor population, Wright said. “The Holy Cross brothers founded a parish here to build up the community,” he said. “The funds we raise through our concert are given to the Yancana Huasy organization, who chooses how to best use them.”This year has especially focused on integrating Peruvian culture into the concert, Wright said. “This year is exciting, because we have a particular focus on their work in Peru,” he said. “ … We’re striving to encounter Canto Grande’s cultural situation by learning music that is authentically Peruvian and South American in an effort to understand the people culturally.”The concert will be set up in a Mass setting, Maher said, in order to increase the spirituality of the event.“We approach the concert as a prayer-like experience,” he said. “We take time to reflect in between songs, hold the Mass completely in Spanish and have included some hymns and choral pieces that will make the music speak for itself. We want the concert’s music to make a connection between those who are listening and the Holy Cross Missions, rather than draw the connection physically.”The Folk Choir has also invited Juan Pastor, a Peruvian musician, to help lead the performance, Wright said.“Learning by performance is especially important in Peruvian culture, and Pastor has taught us the important aspects of the music found in between the lines,” he said. “ … Having someone provide us the gift of showing what music actually sounds like has been very enlightening.”Maher said Pastor brought his expertise to help the Folk Choir learn to represent the Canto Grande people.“He helped us approach the music from a culturally sensitive standpoint,” Maher said. “He’s connected a lot of the dots that we were unable to, simply because this has been such a new experience for us.”Tags: Concert for the Missions, Folk Choir, Holy Cross Missions, Notre Dame folk choir, Peru, Sacred Music
Maeve Filbin | The Observer Students gathered in Riedinger House on Tuesday evening to hear some of the ghost stories of Saint Mary’s.In the parlor of Riedinger House, students sat on couches and clustered together on the floor, leaning forward attentively to listen to the Resident Assistants sharing stories of ghostly encounters in the Saint Mary’s residence halls. Tuesday night, the Class Gift Campaign of the Office of Annual Giving hosted the annual reading of “Quiet Hours,” a 2002 collection of ghost stories and other paranormal activity reported on campus.Students sipped hot cider and ate donuts as they listened as Residence Life staff read from the collection written by three Saint Mary’s alumnae – Shelly Houser, Veronica Kessenich and Kristen Matha – and recalled their own experiences with slamming doors, shaking beds, disembodied knocks against the window and apparitions wearing red.At one point, the parlor lights flickered, briefly casting the listeners into darkness.“That’s enough,” senior and Resident Assistant (RA) Anastasia Hite said, as if chastising a ghostly presence pulling pranks in Riedinger House.Hite, who had several spooky stories to share, said she is no longer fazed by the strange occurrences that have plagued her time as a RA at Saint Mary’s.“It’s a constant thing,” Hite said. “If anyone wants to go ghost-hunting, they should just follow me around.”Recently, Hite said she has experienced some paranormal activity in her friends’ Le Mans Hall dorm room.“I hate Le Mans,” Hite said. “[My friends] have lived in Le Mans for the past three years. They lived in one of these rooms across the hall from the creepy stairwell. At one point, I am in their room and I’m like ‘I have to go to the bathroom.’ So I walk down the hall to go to the bathroom, and the doors in this bathroom are kind of squeaky but they all were propped open. So I walked by and shut all three of them, and they all squeak right. So I go to the bathroom in the last stall, and when I walk out, all the doors are open and there was no squeak.”Hite said while living in Holy Cross, she has often woken up to find her bed shaking, as if someone is standing at its foot and rattling the posts – a phenomenon she said other residents have reported having experienced. In other instances, Hite said she has heard knuckles rapping against bathroom windows and doors, only to find no one on the other side.Another time, Hite said she and senior Mia Washington shared a strange experience in the elevator of Cushwa-Leighton library.“We get in the elevator and we’re in the basement,” Hite said. “The doors start to close and they get about like two inches from being closed, and they just like slam open, slam shut and then the lights flicker in the elevator.”Though Washington was startled, Hite said she wasn’t moved by the encounter in the elevator.“Just another day,” she said.Senior and RA Liv Sencion said she experienced a ghost with an interesting hobby: redecorating her dorm room.“My first year, I lived in a single in on the second floor in the south side of Regina,” Sencion said. “There was a single next to me – another girl – and the girl and I were supposed to room together but didn’t, and it worked out because we weren’t that good of friends. I would go home some weekends. One weekend I go home and I didn’t tell her because she’s not my mom. I come back and she is all upset with me and she says ‘Why did you have to move all your furniture at like three o’clock in the morning? You kept me up. And why did you have to do it both nights?’ And I was like, ‘I wasn’t even here.’”The furniture in Regina is heavy, Sencion said, and makes a lot of noise when moved across the floor. Though the neighbor reported similar instances of disturbances on weekend nights, Sencion said she never returned to find her room disturbed.Tags: ghost stories, Paranormal Activity, Quiet Hours, residence halls, Residence Life, Riedinger House
View Comments By the way, the stage version of Peter Pan doesn’t have an actor playing Tinker Bell. The magical character is represented by a little flash of light and tinkling music. Also, to choke on one’s tongue, it would have to be in one’s mouth. Raunchy pop star Miley Cyrus is busy kissing Katy Perry, simulating masturbation on stage, and (of course!) endlessly sticking out her tongue as she treks the country with her Bangerz tour. Still, the 21-year-old former child star took some time out on February 24 to shut down tabloid rumors that she’ll play Tinker Bell in the planned NBC live broadcast of Peter Pan. Peter Pan Live! is set to air on NBC on December 4. ”I would rather choke on my own tongue,“ Cyrus tweeted alongside a pic of a recent Star magazine item purporting that she is excited to don fairy wings on live TV because it’s her “dream role.”