Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tea Time and Sister Brian (1925-2009)

S. Brian Spain
 The students in Brian Hall residence on the campus at the College of St. Benedict wanted a sister to come to their “Tea Time Thursday” gathering to talk about S. Brian Spain. I was delighted to share with them a bit of what I knew about her. It wasn’t difficult to recognize how she endeared herself to others by embodying humanity, humility and humor.

Her Benedictine presence was felt in such varied ways on the college campus during her 28 years. She wholeheartedly gave of herself as: Counselor, Student Development Coordinator, Residence Hall Director and Benedictine values consultant.

Her sociology major and her admiration for Dorothy Day alerted her to the needs of the poor. Her sense of justice called her to help persons of color in Mississippi to prepare them to vote. And her listening ear and unflagging ability to “challenge and support” students continually spoke of her ability to walk lovingly with humanity.

She journeyed with her own humanity in a uniquely humble way. A maple tree was planted outside one of the residence halls to acknowledge her long-time effectiveness with students. A newly constructed residence was named after her. She received an award from the city of St. Joseph for developing policies that strengthened ties between the college and the city. And on all these occasions she acted as though nothing extraordinary was happening.

Maybe it was her humility that monastery leaders noticed when she was appointed to work with women who joined the monastery as Formation Director. Or was it her humor that leaders recognized would help her simultaneously look at the growing edges and innate goodness in the women seeking a monastic life style? It certainly was her humor that won the hearts of many who worked and lived with her over the years.

A cup of tea is raised in your honor, S. Brian. Others that come later may not know your twinkling eyes. But all of us who felt your presence attest to your giving spirit and raise our cups in solidarity.

1 comment:

  1. I certainly remember those twinkling eyes and beautiful spirit. I have a lot to live up to! May God continue to bring her spirit to life in all who come after her and especially all those who live in Brian Hall at the College of St. Benedict!