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Both Liberty and Freedom in Your Sights
President Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN
May 11, 2013
Members of the Regis College Board of Trustees, faculty, families, honored guests Kathryn Erat and Cardinal O’Malley, and especially graduates of the class of 2013, welcome to the eighty-third annual Regis College commencement.
“We are Boston. Boston strong, Boston brave, Boston stands as one.”
And every time the sky is clear, you, standing “high on a hilltop” here at Regis, have been able to look east and see the skyline of our great city and know that you are connected to her. Most of you come from Boston and neighboring towns. Many of you among our graduate students were first responders in greater Boston hospitals, health facilities, or health agencies after the bombing, and we are so proud of you.
Many of you come from first-generation families – you are the first in your family to go to college or graduate school and use your writing, linguistic skills, arts of communication and teaching and research to contribute to the political office, the financial workplace, the media, or the schools shaping the next generation.
Some of you were not born in this country, and you became citizens as you took an Oath solemnly promising, among other things, that you will “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” You received a document proving your naturalization.
Today, in a few moments, you will all receive another document, a diploma saying you are a member of this educated community with its Catholic intellectual and social justice sense of purpose. This community, where you have brought your purpose and found your path, where you have walked our paths and found your purpose, claims you as her own. You belong to a multifaceted Catholic university in greater Boston with over 12, 000 alumni and 2000 currently enrolled undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in the arts, sciences and health professions, devoted to engagement, service and advancement in a global community.
As graduates of this Catholic university formed by the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, you are about to engage, serve, and advance in the world. Boston stands as one, and you stand between the liberties promised by the U. S. Constitution and the freedom of the Sermon on the Mount. The U. S. Constitution says, “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” – and the Gospel , as Cardinal O’Malley noted on April 18 at an interfaith prayer service after the Boston Marathon Bombing, is “a kind of constitution for people called to a new life.” Some of its well-known phrases say,
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Mt. 5. 6-9).
Go for that. Whatever job, or graduate program or mission or family you begin, stand strong, brave and stand tall as one, with both liberty and freedom in your sights and in your grasp. Engage, serve, and advance in the world.