St. Agnes Speaker Series Highlights Dominican Study
The Dominican pillars of Prayer, Study, Community, and Preaching serve as not only St. Agnes’ mission statement, but core principles that guide an authentic striving for growth embedded within the culture and community of the school. Last Tuesday, all students were given the opportunity to choose between various speakers as part of the school’s Dominican Day of Study, a branch of the school’s Catholic Social Teaching.
Students were emailed given four different locations of speakers the day before, each of the speakers are successful women in various careers in the Houston area, but all share a common theme: incorporating dignity of life into professional life and goals, a valuable take-away that students of Dominican study strive for.
Catholic Social Teaching at St. Agnes calls upon the dignity of life – teaching that every human being processes inherent worth and value. This perspective calls each student to a life committed to Social Justice, and to become a witness to the intrinsic worth of every human being, taking actions to uphold and protect that worth. A lifetime journey of discipleship is about living out your faith in tangible ways.
Valencia Lewis, the Executive Director of Angela House, a non-profit organization in Houston, spoke upon the importance that lies in unwavering commitment to restoring the dignity and self-worth of these women as they transition from the criminal justice system back into society. By providing safe housing, comprehensive support services, education, and counseling, Angela House not only offers women a second chance but empowers them to rebuild their lives and become self-sufficient, contributing members of their communities. By advocating for the rights and well-being of formerly incarcerated women, Angela House emphasizes the belief of inherent worth and potential for transformation in every individual, regardless of past mistakes.
Cristina Ocampo ’14, a St. Agnes alum, spoke upon her fellowship at Neighborhood Defender Service. Her experience in the work of holistic public defense is centered upon Catholic Social teaching’s protection of the poor and vulnerable. CST highlights the importance of ensuring that all individuals have access to legal services and representation, particularly those who are vulnerable, marginalized, or unable to afford legal assistance.
Claire Puccini ’14, another St. Agnes alum, has gone on to a very successful career as a Structural Dynamics Engineer at NASA. Although her career is rooted in the principles of science and technology, Ms. Puccini emphasized the importance of solidarity. As a woman working in a predominantly male workspace, she sought community in her various internships and jobs throughout the years and gave students valuable insight. Solidarity calls for empathy, compassion, and mutual respect, and she explained how in a collaborative workspace as an engineer her lessons on the value of each person as a part of the whole.
Allison Marek, a psychotherapist who specializes in working with people with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and trauma, brought back the call of support and compassion as a disciple from the vast world of ethics within professionalism back to the core of human experience- emotions. Kate Palmer, a junior, explained how she “really appreciated how the speaker discussed how so-called “bad emotions,” such as envy and anger, were actually normal and healthy.
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