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Bread and healing begin school year

Bread can take many forms, yet the breaking and sharing of bread is a universal act. As Mount Mary faculty, staff and administrators convened for the start of the school year, the group reflected upon how something so rich in diversity can unite us all.

This powerful symbolism launched the All-University Workshop, a two-day in-service largely focused on the topic of serving the needs of a diverse community.

"Bread can be a sign of spiritual union," said Sister Joan Penzenstadler, SSND, vice president of Mission and Identity. "Sharing bread is often a ritual for unity and reconciliation." Read more about Mount Mary's message to the community.

Penzenstadler's words took on a particular urgency in light of the city's unrest in the aftermath of rioting: "reflecting upon these breads, what each one means in our lives, inspires and challenges us all."

As members of the campus community brought various types of bread to display at the podium, she suggested some meanings associated with each type of bread, such as:

  • Challah: As Jewish families gather Friday evenings, challah is blessed and shared as a sign of faith.
  • Flatbread: Common to many Middle Eastern and African cultures, this calls to mind the peacemakers, and those caught up in the conflicts of war.
  • Soda bread: Quick breads symbolize hospitality, as they can be put together for unexpected guests.
  • Sourdough bread: Because small amount of leftover dough leavens the next batch of bread, it is a reminder of our heritage.

During the workshop, participants delved into inclusion practices through an examination of academic trends; best practices in community and industry; University procedures; and emerging strategies.

The 2016-17 school year officially begins Saturday, August 27, with all classes beginning Monday, August 29.