Household Spotlight: Ardens Virtus


Ardens Virtus is one of the four male Faith Households at Ave Maria University. It’s a group of young men committed to praying and sacrificing daily in order to bring the love of Christ to those around them. “The hour has come,” their mission statement proclaims, “and we have decided to go forward into the world as warriors, not to be chided into cowardice, but enlivened and inspired by the spirit to engage sin at its source, pray for those who struggle daily, and bring the love of Christ into day to day life.”  

The opportunity to get involved with a Faith Household is one of the major components of the strong campus culture and spiritual life at Ave Maria University. Households are groups of male or female students who mutually support one another by spending time together in prayer and recreation. These Christ-centered groups strive for balanced, healthy, interpersonal relationships, all while challenging their members to develop spiritually, emotionally, academically, and physically.

In the interview below, William Petry gives a glimpse into the brotherhood and spirituality of one of Ave’s male households, Ardens Virtus.

Q: How did you decide to get involved in a household, and why did you choose Ardens Virtus?

A: I decided to get involved with Ardens Virtus last year when another student came to me at the beginning of the year and told me about the concept of households here at Ave, which was totally new to me. He then introduced me to the group of guys that were in Ardens at that time. It seemed to me that households were a conjoined effort of like-minded people who seek a sense of community as well as direction in achieving personal and collective goals for their lives, which was something that I wanted to be a part of.

Q: What are some of the things that you guys do to build community? What kind of commitments do you have to the household?

A: Ardens does many things to build community among each other and on campus, from social moments to communal prayer times. Personally, I think that Ardens’ ITT (intentional talk time) is one of the most valuable community building techniques. Each week, we have a one-to-one conversation with one of the members of the household. It can be as casual or formal as you please, as long as it is an earnest heart-to-heart conversation. These weekly conversations have been incredibly helpful for me, and I’ve been able to get to know the other members of Ardens as well. The household has various commitments, as others do, from weekly Mass, to night prayer a couple times a week, and a weekly meeting. There are plenty of other opportunities as well to nourish prayer life and establish community.  

Q: What is unique about being in a household at Ave?

A: It seems to me that households at Ave are a great opportunity for students to exercise a deeper level of introspection, discern their spiritual, social and emotional needs and find a particular means of fulfilling them based on their personal history and spirituality.

Q: Is your household in charge of putting on any events during the school year?

A: Ardens organizes a couple events on campus, such as competitive inter-household dodgeball games, apologetic debates, etc. There are many creative ideas that spark from our leadership team to engage with campus life.

Q: If I’m a male student interested in getting involved with Ardens, how would I join?

A: If you are interested in joining the household, I encourage you to join one of our events, such as night prayer, and get to know its members and mission to see if it is a right fit for you!

Interested in learning more about Household Life at Ave Maria University? Check out the missions and charisms of the different female and male households here!

An Evening with Bishop Dewane: Advice on Faith and Life


We are midway through the season of Lent, a time of greater sacrifice, almsgiving, and prayer. Before Lent began, long-time friend of Ave Maria University, Bishop Dewane, visited AMU students on campus in the Gyrene Cafe to provide valuable advice on what the Church wants from them, especially during the season of Lent. Our students took advantage of the Bishop’s presence at their University and asked a variety of questions concerning his vocation to the religious life, the Church’s expectations of the students, advice for entering into society after college, and their Lenten duties.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane serves in the Diocese of Venice, Florida. He grew up on a farm in Wisconsin with loving parents, one brother and two sisters. Prior to entering seminary, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Wisconsin. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree in International Administration from The American University in Washington, D.C. He also holds degrees from Pontifical Gregorian University and Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, both in Rome.

Sometimes, you have to wait on the Lord’s timing.

Bishop Dewane shared hat he did not enter seminary until he was 33 years old. The students, intrigued, wondered what else he did before entering the seminary. Bishop Frank Dewane traveled to Russia, learned the language, and worked for the National Broadcasting Association (NBC) in Moscow. After some time, he traveled to New York City and worked for a subsidiary of PepsiCo. When the time came for him to enter the seminary, he just knew. Bishop Dewane explained that he learned we must “be open to what the Lord is asking us to do, we must turn ourselves over to the Lord. At times in my life, I knew I just had to wait on the Lord.”

Throughout all of Bishop Dewane’s education experience and work experience, his father had repeatedly asked him, “When are you going to get a real job?” When the Bishop finally entered the seminary, his parents were happy and proud.

During his time at seminary, the Bishop explained that there were some seminarians whom everyone knew would most likely become bishops someday. Bishop Dewane told the AMU students: “No one in the seminary ever said to me, ‘You’re going to be a Bishop.’” And yet here he stands today, installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Venice by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, and even serving on several committees at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Go out into the world and be Ave Maria strong, he said, particularly Our Lady strong.

Ave Maria University students crowded together in the Gyrene Cafe to hear from Bishop Dewane on the Monday before Ash Wednesday because they knew how valuable his advice would be. Senior Katie Ligday, student host for the event, asked: “What do you and the Church want from AMU as a young Catholic institution?” In reply, Bishop Dewane said, “Be the yeast in society, make a difference wherever it is you go.” Continuing, he urged: “You’ll all leave this nice place… Be Ave Maria strong, particularly Our Lady strong. At Ave Maria University, you get a unique education, in education but also in faith and morals. Be that yeast, that leaven in the world. Yeast can go bad sometimes. So, be the yeast in a good way. You know what is good, now set out and do it.”

When posed with the question, “How can we live in the world and not be consumed by the world?” the Bishop responded, “It’s not easy. You need a good conscience. You need to make those right choices. You need to be strong enough to tell a person that they aren’t being yeast.” More concretely, he warned about the distraction of technology and encouraged students to develop real connections, real relationships, with others. “Look at people in the eye, not at your device, and understand where their heart is. People are the gift the Lord has given us. Don’t let technology enslave you. Computers, iphones, all of it are great. But, they can be destructive.” Bishop Dewane expanded upon his answer to add that all are called to live holy lives. “That universal call for holiness is out there for you,” he said. “It’s not just for Bishops or nuns, but laity too. Keep in mind the call to holiness. Once we hear the call, it’s our responsibility to respond. That’s important. Find what the call is for you. It’s different for everyone.”

This year, Lent began on February 14th, which was both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. Bishop Dewane suggested that students celebrate Valentine’s Day on the day before, and live out the prayer and fasting of Ash Wednesday as a Valentine’s gift to the Lord. “Lent is no great secret,” he said. The entire season of Lent is a time set aside in a special way as a “gift” for God, to help us prepare our hearts to receive the far greater gift of participation in Christ’s suffering, death and Resurrection.

Bishop Dewane serves as an example of faith and love for the students at Ave Maria University. It was a great privilege for our students to receive advice from him during this formative time in their lives. AMU students ended the evening pondering the Bishop’s advice and inspired to go out in the world and be Ave Maria strong.

Grace Project Event Fosters Discussions on Female Friendship


At a recent Grace Project event,  Resident Director Amanda Morin and McKenzie Ligowski, wife of Resident Director Daniel Ligowski, shared their thoughts on female friendship. “If it wasn’t for the women I was with in nursing school, there’s no way I would have made it!” McKenzie exclaimed. She went on to talk about the temptation to “close off to the world when you fall in love,” but how maintaining your female friendships is important. Women “help you see a reflection of yourself,” she explained. “And they bring out the best in you!” Amanda, in agreement, shared: “The Lord sent me all these amazing girlfriends, and I spent a lot of time in college nourishing those relationships.”

The Grace Project brought a cozy evening of tea, biscotti and dialogue between women in the University community on the importance of cultivating strong female friendships

The Grace Project is a series sponsored by Student Life that offers undergraduate women on campus an opportunity to connect with and learn from female mentors in the University community.  While sipping on tea and snacking on biscotti, the students at the latest Grace Project event learned from McKenzie and Amanda about fostering deep female friendships during and after college, balancing relationships and priorities, and entrusting their dreams to the Lord while keeping a practical focus.   

On the topic of balancing female friendships while dating, both McKenzie and Amanda agreed that a romantic relationship should not take away from female friendships. But they also emphasized the importance of being realistic and setting clear boundaries with their friends.  According to McKenzie, “You have to make realistic expectations, and just be honest with them when you’re saying no.” Amanda added that it’s all about intentionality: “If you’re going to call them, do it. If you can’t, just be honest with your reasons.”

Amanda and McKenzie concluded the Grace Project event in answer to a question on being at peace in the present. “ Get to know yourself,” McKenzie urged. “You can’t be present if you don’t even know who you are!” Amanda followed up with  “God is in the present. Remember that. If you’re not there, you’re going to miss out.”

The Grace Project is just one of the over 250 events Student Life sponsors annually, including concerts, feasts, dances, talent shows, sports competitions and more. If you’re interested in learning more about the vibrant student culture at Ave Maria University, visit the website!

 

 

Dr. Rezende Offers Students Advice at “Professors are People, Too!”


“What is God’s will for you?” one student asked at the latest event in the series hosted by Student Life, “Professors are People, Too!”

“That’s the wrong question,” Dr. Ubiratan Rezende, Associate Professor of Politics and Business, replied. “We know what it is: to respond to the here and now. Jesus told us He would take care of things; we just don’t trust Him.” Going on, Dr. Rezende explained: “If God wants you to be one of those pivotal people who change the world, you will do it. But don’t try to control things, that’s my main advice.”

“Professors are People, Too!” is a recurring event designed for students to get to know their professors outside of the classroom. In a casual setting, AMU students feel free to ask questions on a range of topics. In turn, their professors respond openly, offering life tips, words of advice, insights from their experience, or simply expounding on their hobbies and pursuits.

Within the classroom, Dr. Rezende is known for touching on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from politics, economics, and theology, to international affairs, business and culture. It’s no wonder: his educational background includes a PhD in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, a JD from the University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and an MA in Theological Studies from the John Paul II Institute, Washington, DC.

Outside the classroom, Dr. Rezende has experience working in both the private and public sectors. He has served as Senior Consultant for the World Bank and Secretary of the Treasury for the State Government of Santa Catarina Brazil. He is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. When reflecting on his work in the public and private sectors, he said: “There’s no difference. Wherever you are, you will see the human existence.”

He went on, urging the students gathered to consider a life of public service. “Serve the public,” he said, “because public service is disappearing.” Invoking the example of Jesus’ apostles, who followed Him with a simple “yes” and went on to transform the world, Dr. Rezende challenged AMU students to do the same. “Think of the twelve apostles, who didn’t know what they were doing,” he said. “Why not do something out of your comfort zone and be unprepared for it?”

In addition to academic and professional achievements, Dr. Rezende has succeeded in attaining many personal achievements. A Cavalry officer in Brazil, skilled in the guitar and Johnny Cash impressions, and an excellent cook are just a few of them. “I love to cook,” he shared. “I enrolled in a French cuisine academy. I wanted to be a chef. I want to understand the inner workings of things. Cooking is chemistry, because of the interaction between the heat and different chemical substances.” Going on, he said: “My wife loved it, because I had to come home and work on making different meals.”

Humbly responding to a student’s question about his favorite meal, Dr. Rezende answered: “My favorite meal is the one I receive every morning in the Church: the Eucharist.”

Dr. Rezende understands that many struggle with decisions and, as a man who has accomplished so much, he reassured the students wondering what to do with their lives. “I never knew what I wanted to do,” he expressed. “I still don’t. But if you have an inkling, do it.” Dr. Rezende couldn’t continue without describing his love for his wife and children: “I was able to do all that I did because of my wife’s support. My wife is the backbone of my life.”

In front of the many students listening eagerly to his words, Dr. Rezende shared from his experience and wisdom. “Professors are People, Too!” is an event that further builds the strong personal relationships possible between students and teachers at Ave Maria University. This academic year is Dr. Rezende’s final year of teaching at Ave Maria University. His impact and presence at the University will not easily be forgotten by the students, faculty, and staff who have known and learned from him. Dr. Rezende left off the event telling students that, although he doesn’t know what the next year will contain, he leaves it all in the hands of God with faith, hope and trust.

Join the March for Life Rally


The March for Life Rally will take place in Washington D.C. on Friday, January 19th. Join us, from 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM EST at the National Mall. The March for Life will begin at 1:00 PM EST. Ave Maria University students, alumni, family and friends will be meeting up at the Rally at 11:30 AM EST at the corner of 14th and Constitution. Keep an eye out for the Ave Maria University banners and our new blue and green striped winter hats. We would love to have you March with Ave. Immediately following the March for Life, alumni and friends will head to The Dubliner  (4 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001) for fellowship and celebration.

For additional information, contact Sophia Mick at sophia.mick@avemaria.edu or (760) 908-2414.

If you are unable to join us in Washington D.C., show your support of Ave Maria’s ProLife initiatives by giving a gift, click here to Donate Now.

Additional Information:

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADOPTION IS THE ANSWER                                                                                    A MARCH FOR LIFE STORY

 

Ave Maria University’s March for Life Story


Every January, the staff, faculty and, most especially, the students of Ave Maria University become the voice for the University community at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. This past year was no exception as over 200 members of our University joined the ranks of Marchers, despite the cold of a record breaking winter. These 200 students, faculty, and staff were part of a peaceful protest that drew nearly half a million people from all over the United States looking to lend their voices to urge our government to abolish abortion from this country.

As usual, The March for Life was an excused absence from class for all Ave Maria University’s students attending with the University group. The University chooses to allow for this two-day absence to emphasize how important the fight for a Culture of Life is to the very mission of the University. In the spirit of Pope St. John Paull II and St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Ave Maria University seeks to promote a Culture of Life which cares for the most vulnerable of our society from conception to natural death.

As can be heard in the resounding chants of her students at the March, Ave Maria University believes that the dignity of each person should be upheld not just by the Church, but all of society. Since life is a gift from God, every human is sacred and must be treated as such in any condition. By attending this March, Ave Maria University takes a stand to always defend the rights of those threatened by the culture of death, whether it’s the unborn, the disabled, the infirmed, or those at the end of their lives.

Like previous years, this mass pilgrimage to the U.S. capital from Ave Maria, Florida was entirely organized by the students of Ave Maria University, specifically Ave for Life; the University’s pro-life initiative and largest student organization.  Ave for Life organized for three buses to transport these 200 students (almost 20% of the student population) over 1,000 miles to Washington D.C. This dynamic group of students was able to raise enough funds to cover all food and lodging costs for all the students traveling to Washington.

As is evident, everyone at Ave Maria University who was involved in the 2017 March for Life spent a great amount of energy to bring this event about. However, as usual, the established media chose to treat this large scale demonstration very minimally, or in some cases, pay no attention to it at all. One may ask why Ave Maria continues to be a part of an event that receives little attention due to biased reporting. What good can come of it?

In fact, a great deal of good has already come of it. According to the Washington Post, 53% of Americans ages 18-34 believe that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. This is a staggering number compared to the generation that was this age when Roe vs. Wade was passed. The students of Ave Maria University belong to a generation that believes it is becoming more and more likely that abortion will be abolished in this generation’s lifetime. This is why Ave marches. As AMU Junior Blair Harbison put it, “We believe that one day abortion will be seen as the evil that it truly is, and we hope to be remembered as the generation that stood for what they believed in and became the voice for the voiceless.”

 

 

Resident Assistant Spotlight


Senior Matt Peterson gives a glimpse into what it’s like to be a Residence Assistant.

Q: First, the details. Where are you from, and what are you studying?

A: I am from Bedford, New Hampshire and I am studying accounting with a minor in Latin.

Q: So, why did you want to be an RA?

A: I wanted to be an RA because I saw the impact my RAs had on me, and I wanted to have the same sort of impact on other students.  Having transferred into Ave halfway through my sophomore year, I understand that the transition to college can be challenging and awkward at times, but the RAs were always there to aid with that transition. I’s satisfying knowing that now I can be that for other students.

Q: What have you learned from being an RA?

A: I’ve learned that every single person truly is unique and comes from a different walk of life. This definitely helps me handle situations with a less judgmental mindset, knowing that when a student is acting out or being unsociable, it has much deeper roots than what I see.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an RA?
A: Aside from the lack of sleep, the most challenging part of being an RA is stepping outside of my comfort zone, whether it be to connect with a student who wants nothing to do with me, or handling an incident.

Q: What makes Residence Life at Ave so awesome?

A: The people. Not just the residents, but also the other RAs, who are carefully and prayerfully grouped with one another to make the most perfect fit possible for each of the dorms.

At Ave Maria University, each residence hall is served by a Residence Director, a live-in full-time staff member who plays a critical role in the lives of the students in their residence halls. Residence Directors are assisted by a team of Resident Assistants (RAs), students who are hired for their leadership skills and heart of service.

A Night on Broadway in Ave Maria, Florida


What’s the next best thing to experiencing a night on Broadway? Experiencing it without traveling to NYC! Broadway’s bright lights and magic came to life on AMU’s campus during the 2017 run of the Drama Club’s annual Night on Broadway performance.

The group of students who performed in this year’s Night on Broadway showcased songs from a variety of musicals, including Mary Poppins and The Drowsy Chaperone, Evita, and Wicked.  Some in the audience were transported back to their childhood by Broadway classics like The Sound of Music and Footloose. Others had the opportunity to hear music from more recent productions, such as Anastasia, or the 2017 Tony Award-Winning musical, Dear Evan Hansen. Throughout it all, the joy and camaraderie of the group of student performers was clearly visible, and the fun they had while sharing their talents overflowed into the audience.

A Night on Broadway was initiated by Ave Maria University students looking to make use of their talents in a joyful experience of the arts on campus. Rachel Wisely, student director of this year’s show comments after the fact, “I was told several times that this was ‘the best Cabaret yet.’” Rachel was joined by students Rebecca Felix (assistant director), Erin Koehler (choreographer), and Zachary Rappley (orchestra director), in addition to the team of singers and dancers who put in hours of rehearsal to pull off the Drama Club’s 2017 Night on Broadway. “I am very proud of the cast and of my work as a director,“ Rachel shares. “It’s amazing how collaborative, artistic work pulls together!”

The AMU Drama Club, which has over 35 active members, is one of the largest clubs on campus. The club organizes and puts on at least one student-run production each semester. If you’re interested in learning more or getting involved, contact the club’s staff advisor, Rachel Flowers.

 

Christmas Spirit on the Dance Floor


It’s the month of December, finals are fast approaching, but the holidays are also coming and students are itching to celebrate. What’s the solution? Snowball – a semi-formal dance with a winter wonderland theme. The annual event, organized by the Student Activities Board (SAB), is an opportunity for guys and gals alike to pull out their finest for an evening of music and dance.

As students streamed into the Bob Thomas Student Union on Friday night, they were awed by the twinkling lights that transformed the ballroom, hinting at the magical night to come. Outside, a bonfire crackled, inviting students to stay a while to enjoy food and warm drinks with friends. Indoors, a long line formed for the photo booth decked with tinsel and lights. The event organizers knew this would be an evening to remember.

To add to the holiday spirit, SAB brought in  DJ Jay Martin, who works for Life Teen International. Throughout the night, music and laughter filled the ballroom as students danced away. Judging from the smiles and good cheer in every direction on the dance floor, the 2017 Snowball provided a much-needed break as the young men and women of Ave Maria University prepare to buckle down for the last week of class and final exams, and then – home for the holidays!