Spring 2020 Dean's List

Deans List


Congratulations to the students who made the 2020 Spring Dean's List:

Julianna Acosta Tina Le
Lucrecia Acosta Larrama Marc LeBlanc
Edwin Alfaro Shannon LeBlanc
Kassandra Alves Michael Lopez
Richard Amsel Tatyana Lugo-Gardner
Alex Angelo Pearl Lutta
Phillip Antonucci Nicole Maffei
Eunice Asare Juliet Maglitta
Kirsten Avery Kaitlyn Magner
Jessica Barbera Aleksandr Makarov
Kathryn Barnes Alyssa Mancini
Brendan Bartlett Jake Mangano
Derona Beckford Patrick Manning
Kayla Beer Ayden Mapplebeck
Madison Belanger Margaret Maresco
Sarah Benites Felicia Marlborough
Kaylee Besse Domenic Mattress
Chayna BinghamHendricks Mario Maturi
Daniel Black Vincent Mcallister
Paul Boisvert Erinna Mccarthy
Kiaralis Borrero Kade McCartin
Rebecca Botteri William McGoughran
Carli Boudreau Jennifer McNally
Hayden Braga Kendall McNamee
Cassparina Breen William Mehigan
Scott Brooks Anne Melanson
Karlyn Brown Krystal Melendez
Michael Burke Danielle Mello
Ethan Burney Zion Mercado
Nicole Burritt Justin Mercurio
Rachel Burwick Scott Merrell
John Calcagni Flori Micani
Guillermina Caraballo Dillon Milliron
Gina Carbone Kennedy Minix Rogers
Kellii Cassion Jessica Miranda
Marianell Castillo Hannah Mitchell
Abigayle Celata John Moffat
Adrianna Celeste Jakob Montas
Louis Chaix Griffin Moore
Angelica Chavez Noah Morning
Tyler Cheverier Jacob Mullins
Karoline Ciance Jacob Murphy
Michelle Cilley Alex Myers
Caleb Cimini Jonah Myers
Jessica Clary Robert Napolitano
Katelin Copithorne Jacob Nash
Louis Costanzo Emily Ngo
Riley Cote Jacob Nichols
Niamh Cote Magdalene Njuguna
Laurie Cowgill Bernard Ofosuhene
Richard Craver Anthony Oliva
Jacob Crevier Destiny Orozco
Andrew Cucci Sydney Owen
Jordyn D'aniello Amanda Pachico
Jonae Darling Nicholas Palermo
Lindsey Davieau Marylee Panient
Rachel Davis Tyler Pappas
Alondra De La Paz Matthew Parizo
Nicholas DeAntonio Katie Parker
Alexis Desmarais Brenden Patterson
Jean Desmarais Drew Paulhus
Sonya DiPietro Audhinn Pelletier
Diandra Doble Patrik Peltola
Margarita Dono Jacqueline Pereira
Joseph Dorman Vitoria Pereira De Oliveira
Brandon Dorsey Ian Perla
Konstantinos Drosidis Tyler Perron
Keannah Dunsmore Cameron Perry
Marisol Durango Meaghan Peterson
Serena Eastwood Jason Phillip
Gabriella Eldredge Alexis Phillips
Elizabeth Eldridge Michael Pillarella
Melissa Elie Gianni Pisano
Destiny Esparra Monfreda Hailey Ploga
Jessy Eugene Annette Poku
Alexandra Faucher Meghan Pope
Regan Forss Azadoria Ray
Dawnisha Franklin Caitlin Reynolds
Monica Frew Ashley Riddick
Alexander Friend Michael Roberge
Sakina Fundi Julie Rogers
Sabrina Gabriele Lydia Rosen
Katrina Gagner Alicia Ross
Daniel Gangemi Julia Rutkowski
Madelyn Gannon Jessica Ruttan
Dylan Gansert Panajoti Samarxhi
Gage Garcia Sara Sammons
Ashley Garcia Bradley Sampson
Jacey Garron Samantha Seniti
Jessica Gelineau Amanda Servis
Joseph Gemelli Hailey Shaw
Nicholas Genatossio Erynn Sheehan
Audrey Gendall Jason Shell
Jason Gibbs II Mark Siegel
Jaiden Gibson Angela Sinatra
Gabrielle Gibson Jack Sitzman
Meghan Gillis Joshua Slaney
Brian Gionet Natalie Smith
Nathan Giron Edward Smith
Mellany Gomez Mikayla Smith
Jadalis Gomez Isabelle Smith
Jorge Gomez Damion Smith
Joao Goncalves Jacob Smith
Drew Goupille Meghan Sonia
Matthew Grauer Alexander Sorenti-Burns
Bailey Gray Ariel Squier
Sierra Green Whitney St. Germain
Ashley Griffin Sophia St.Onge
Naomi Griswold Carl St.Paul
Valentina Guevara Medina Celina Stacy
Rayssa Guimaraes Eric Steeves
Patricia Guzman Doriela Stoja
Madison Haley Liam Stone
Sarah Hall Ha Tang
Franchesca Hammond Hang Tang
Jessica Hanam Dario Tarquinio
Erika Hansen Hunter Tetreault
Kyle Hansen Austin Thomas
Timothy Harrington Ryan Todesco
Katherine Heffernan Zoi Traiforos
Courtney Hile Carmen Troncoso
Noah Holland Nathan Trull
Joshua Holman Olivia Tsoumakas
Joseph Holmes Adam Twitchell
Jonas Hostovecky Christopher Vacarelo
Jacqueline Howlett Kentrahvey Vellom
Melissa Hubacz Bridget Venuti
Taylor Hubert Fili Veras
Samantha Hume Catherine Verostick
Julius Huset Abigail Vigliotte
Benedetto Iaboni Jddon Vincent
Emily Ierardo Juliana Wahl
Zachary James Matthew Waite
Clare Jankowski Cole Walling
Sienna Johnson Meaghan Walsh
Sierra Johnson Peter Walsh
Ryan Johnson Abigail Warren
Patrick Kenary Emerson Warren
Molly Knox Alyssa Wentworth
Isabella Kozciak Dream Whitaker
Emily Kropo Colby Wilkins
Nicholas Kukuris Edwin Woods
Aada Kunto Allison Woodward
Katelyn Kupstas Joshua Wozniak
Yvonne Lamptey Caleb Wu
Evan Lancaster Jacob Zablocki
Derek Lane Katie Zanauskas
Kendra Lanoue Sophia Zimmerman
Hannah Larkin Seth Zolda
Zachary Lavoie Emilee Zuidema
Nicholas Lawrence
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An Anxious Return

return to mass

 

By Melissa LaNeve 
Director of Campus Ministry, Anna Maria College

For months now I have been anxiously longing to return to Mass and receive the Eucharist. While the virtual Masses with Fr. Mike Schmitz have provided some much needed spiritual nourishment and guidance, nothing takes the place of receiving the Body of Christ in the Eucharist. So, when the announcement came from the Governor that churches could be opened and then the announcement came from the different dioceses that they would be finding ways to safely welcome everyone back, I was overjoyed! And yet... anxious and uncomfortable. My home parish decided they needed another week before resuming Masses so when I got a text from a friend inviting me to Mass at his parish, I had to make a decision. Do I go and finally receive what I’ve been anxiously longing for or is my worried anxiety there to protect me? That Sunday morning, I woke up with intense feelings of unease and discomfort. As I debated going to a new church, with people I didn’t know, to try and follow what limited protocol was on their website, I grew more and more anxious. I asked my friend a couple of questions which help relieve some of those anxieties and then I finally made the decision that for me, Jesus was worth facing those feelings. This won’t be true for everyone, especially families, but I did take note of certain feelings that may be helpful as you too discern when and how to return to Mass.

 

A few things you may experience when you return to Mass:

  • It will be a very different experience and have a somewhat sterile feeling. However, it is the same Mass which should bring comfort.
  • You may feel uncomfortable or your heart beginning to pound simply from having to walk into a building you haven’t been in in months while also trying to pay attention to all the new protocols you’ve been told to follow.
  • You may get easily distracted throughout Mass worrying if you’ve touched your face, or if the pew has been wiped down properly, or if you’re going to walk up or down the aisle the right way.
  • You may not even find yourself as joyful or grateful as you thought after finally receiving Jesus in the Eucharist because you’re concerned with putting your mask back on and not getting near other people in line.

 

A few things to remind yourself of as you prepare your return:

  • If you’re anxious, try to stick with your parish church instead of finding any that are open. Send your parish staff questions if a particular answer could help alleviate any of your worries.
  • Others will be there to help guide you through this process.
  • Stay calm. Even if you make a mistake and someone gets mad or frustrated with you, don’t be afraid to express your own worries and intentions. Don’t lash back out but show love for those who may not be handling their own anxious feelings in the best way.
  • Be patient. This is a learning process for us all!
  • Have hope! A small number of attendees does not mean the Church is dead. It will take time for everyone to reach their own comfort level to return in this situation.
  • Recognize your feelings and be ok with them. If you need more time to get comfortable before going back to Mass, that’s ok! Just don’t allow it to become an excuse not to return.
  • Finally, TRUST JESUS. He will relieve your anxieties and allow you to praise Him and receive from Him through the Mass in the ways He desires.

It is a true gift to have access to the Sacraments again! Let’s remember to pray for and offer great gratitude to our parish priests and staff as they try to protect us all in this process. Jesus Christ, draw us close to you and protect us!

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Facing the Unknown

Facing the Unknown

Written by Maureen Halley

 

Some of the biggest virus outbreaks of this century have changed conventional thinking about how to prepare for disease outbreaks. In 2003, there was Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS); the H1N1 influenza followed in 2009; Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012; and the deadly Ebola virus in 2014. “With each outbreak, we learned more and more about preparing for a pandemic, but no one could have predicted the astronomical effects of COVID-19,” said Nick DaDalt ’13.

 

When asked what it’s been like working on the front-lines during this pandemic, DaDalt, the Education Director for Central Massachusetts Emergency Medical Systems Corporation, responded that planning for the worst scenario is part of his job. “We all knew that a potential pandemic was coming, so we put plans and supplies into place quickly. We work closely with Massachusetts Department of Public Health and lot of time is put into preparedness – from dealing with training and equipment distribution to unfortunately, the threat of mass casualties.” This included the purchase and maintenance of regional assets over the years in preparation for the unknown, including Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) kits, designed to protect against certain respiratory hazards with integrated head, eye and face protection. Those PAPR kits are now in use at the temporary COVID Hospital set up at in Worcester’s DCU Center.

 

Reflecting on the situation, DaDalt shared that “preparedness capabilities have made a big difference in this pandemic, and we’ve also experienced daily learning opportunities for how to better face the future.”

 

He also added that there is a lot of stress placed on front-line workers; that nurses and doctors are being expected to do the unthinkable. “The level of required protection and even social distancing affects personal and professional lives, and how the work is done.” When a patient has been ill, their family was able to join them, but that’s no longer the case. “It’s very difficult to watch folks succumbing to this virus alone.”

 

As a front-line worker himself serving the town of Southbridge, MA as a Call Firefighter/EMT, DaDalt spoke about the changing role of emergency response. “When responding to a call now, we all have to stop and think about what we’re walking in to and what we may be taking home to our loved ones at the end of the day; that takes its toll both physically and emotionally.” That said, DaDalt is adamant about fulfilling his need to serve others. “Public service is a priority for me – it always has been and the pandemic doesn’t change that at all.”

After serving UMass-Memorial EMS/LifeFlight as an EMS Communication Specialist and Training/QI Coordinator for nearly 10 years, DaDalt enrolled in the Fire Science and Administration program at Anna Maria College because of its reputation for delivering an in-depth education with a focus on the importance of service to others. “Anna Maria prepared me to serve in a leadership capacity, to carry out the tasks that I’m facing during this dynamic and unforeseen situation; without my education, I would have struggled.” He also added that the programs “attract people in public safety to the campus who not only understand and value, but live the College’s mission every day.”

 

As the Education Director for Central Massachusetts Emergency Medical Systems Corporation, Nick DaDalt has his finger on the pulse of many different aspects of life support services provided to the people of Central MA. He provides a central information point for all providers relative to pre-hospital treatment protocols, EMS regulations, advisories, certification and recertification requirements, training and education. DaDalt is also a logistics management specialist with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), and maintains a continuous state of readiness in order to deploy – and serve – with Disaster Medical Assistance Team Massachusetts-2 during and after public health emergency response. He ensures the setup of response team’s equipment, base of operation infrastructure, and is responsible for the inventory of supplies. He has served NDMS for 14 years, helping to provide critical emergency medical care on deployments including Super Storm Sandy (New York) in 2012, Hurricane Irma (Florida) in 2017, Hurricane Maria (Puerto Rico) in 2017, and recently to a COVID-19 Mission in California. 

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An End of Semester Message from President Retelle

MLR video5mar20

 

President Retelle shares a video message of hope to the students of Anna Maria College.

 

Cover slide MLR5may20

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If I Ever Needed Someone

 If I ever needed someone

By Kathy Menard, Assistant to Campus Ministry and Coordinator of Community Outreach

Gas was thirty-six cents a gallon. The average cost of a home was just over $23,000. Just off the South Coast of England, on the Isle of Wight, the largest Rock Festival was held with 600,000 to 700,000 people in attendance. The year was 1970. It was the year I was born and the year Van Morrison released his song, If I Ever Needed Someone. I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with this artist. Maybe you’ve heard of his more popular songs, Brown Eyed Girl or Have I Told You Lately. But today, I would like to focus on his song, If I Ever Needed Someone.if I ever quote

We are living through a very uncertain time. News is no longer changing daily but hourly. Some days are better than others and some are harder than others. We have gone from living freely to discovering that in order to live, sometimes we must be subjected to limitations. We have had to change the way we live, learn, communicate, and gather. It’s a lot to absorb in such a short period of time. We say, “No one has lived through a time such as this. No one understands what we’re going through.” This is all new territory and one must blaze a new trail. But, must one do it alone?

Here is where faith comes in. We have a Father who is waiting for us, calling to us, running after us, longing for us to seek His help. One need only ask, to call out (or whisper)! Van Morrison, in the song, If I Ever Needed Someone, sought out the Lord as someone he needed, someone to understand, "Someone to hold on to, and keep me from all my fear. Someone to be my guiding light and keep me ever dear!” I don’t know what was going on in Van Morrison’s life at the particular moment that he penned this song, but he knew God had to be part of it. Morrison knows where his faith lies, as he sings, “to stand with me when I’m troubled, and help me through my strife, as times get so uncertain, I turn to you, in my young life.” We have a Father who wants to be a part of our lives, the good and the bad. We have a Father who does not abandon but one who sticks by us and claims us as his own!

If I ever needed someone, now would certainly be the time. However, as I reflect, I realize that my Father, our Lord, has been a part of my everyday life, through all the challenges and celebrations. We have a Father who wants to be part of all our lives. He is here with us. I look for God in all the beauty around me. And, yes, in times such as these, we may need to look a little harder. I see God in all the helpers who are sacrificing themselves for the betterment of others. I see God in all of us who are sitting at home and staying away from others so that not only they stay healthy but others around them do as well. I see God in all the people who continue to work and wonder if this will be the day they get sick. I see God in all the families spending time together. God is our love, courage, hope, faith and our service to others. He shares our pain, tears, frustrations and sorrows. I need God every day, every minute. He leads and guides all that I do. As Morrison sang, “...To keep me from my selfishness, to keep me from my sorrow, to lead me on to givingness, so I can see a new tomorrow.” Our faith and hope are found in God. He will lead us through this. We need only reach out, call out, shout out, whisper out, or cry out, “Father, I need you.” If I ever needed someone that someone is God. He is here waiting for you, calling out to you, seeking you. Will you allow Him to be the “someone” you need?

God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good!

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And This Too Shall Pass

this too 23apr20 v2

 

Written by Deacon Jack Franchi, Anna Maria College's Campus Deacon

 

We’ve heard these words almost all our lives from well-meaning friends to fine people and many think that it came from Biblical Scripture, but nowhere in Scripture are these exact words found. What we can find in searching Scripture are the many things God does tell us about suffering, pain and hard times.  We are now facing dramatically, severely and historically tough times with this Coronavirus pandemic.

We and all of humanity are now facing this global catastrophe but there is always the good news that God never leaves us alone. He never leaves us in hard times to wallow in a sea of loneliness and despair. Robert H. Schuller, noted evangelist and motivational speaker said, “Tough times never last, tough people do”, and we are a “tough people” thanks to our faith. As Catholics and Christians we are instilled, by God, with that five letter word FAITH which gives us that four letter word HOPE. Our hope is in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and He will bring us through this timely horror. As Psalm 91 says so well, we have security under God’s protection.

In a recent interview Bishop Robert Barron, prelate of the Catholic Church serving as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and founder of The Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, spoke in a recent YouTube interview about the pandemic. He said that God permits this for a greater good. It brings to my mind the phrase we sometimes hear, “out of adversity comes greatness”. Out of everything negative that happens to us, something positive comes out of it. Maybe not immediately, but in God’s good time. Bishop Barron uses the example of God’s permitting evil actions in order to bring about a greater good. For instance, without Adolf Hitler’s horrendous actions, we would not have had the courageous actions of Maximillian Kolby, a Franciscan friar who volunteered to die in place of a stranger at Auschwitz, or Edith Stein, a Jewish nursing assistant who worked in an infectious diseases hospital, converted to Catholicism and died in Auschwitz. This is by no means to downplay the pure evil that was the Holocaust, but rather to see examples of the reason God permitted the tremendous evil of the Holocaust and invite God to show us how to respond to the evil we see in front of us in our own lives.

Again, God works in unique ways. We as a nation have experienced many terrible moments like the Coronavirus, from the catastrophe of the Great Depression in the 1930s, Pearl Harbor in 1941, September 11, 2001, to countless hurricanes and fires. However, time and again we’ve seen how all these catastrophes have brought us closer together as a people, as a nation, and as a world.  

We now have literally thousands of doctors, scientists, and researchers working on a vaccine cure for the Coronavirus. We trust in and praise God that they will find a cure. And we trust in and praise God that He will direct our paths to become great Saints in this time because we have the quintessential being who has a proven lifeline to attack any and all catastrophes. We as Christians have a prescription from God that works…. Prayer, Prayer, Prayer.  

May God Bless us all, for this too shall pass.

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April 21st Update from Health & Counseling Services

April 21, 2020

Hello Anna Maria Students, 
Welcome to the home stretch of this unique and challenging semester! We see the resilience you have demonstrated under these challenging circumstances. Health and Counseling Services continues to reach out to check in with you and to share some resources you may find useful.

 

Many of you are naturally experiencing more stress right now. Our human emotions can range from anxiety, depression, loneliness, and feeling overwhelmed, just to name a few. If your experiences and emotions are interfering with your ability to take care of yourself, connect with friends and loved ones and attend to school work in a way that you feel positive about, reach out to us. We are here to assist you in navigating your way to the end of this semester in the safest and most successful way for you.

 

And, feel free to just let us know how you are doing! You do not have to be struggling in a major way to reach out to us.

 

With this note, we are sharing resources provided by Love is Louder, a project of the Jed Foundation. The Love is Louder project offers tips, tools and resources for taking care of our physical and mental health, and in supporting one another in times of uncertainty. 

LoveIsLouder

To learn more about the Love is Louder Project, check them out here

 

Here are just a few examples of what they offer.  

 

Click on any of the hashtag(s) below to be learn more about them.
#staycalm                         
#stayactive                                             
#stayconnected              

 

You can also check out our Simple Actions To Manage Stress and Online Classes:

SimpleActions

To read more on how you can practice these simple actions visit our AMC COVID-19 page here

 

This information is found in Health and Prevention

 

As you make your way to the end of the semester, I also want to let you know that I am available for support and assistance during the summer months as we continue to navigate this situation together.

 

Sherri Grande DiReda, LICSW
Director of Health and Counseling Services

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Words of Encouragement from the Sisters of Our Founding Order

Words of Encouragement blogheader

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives around the globe. The evolution of the disease and the reach of its impact is still unknown, but it has been proven that the education you are receiving at Anna Maria is preparing you to make a difference as ethical leaders and community-oriented professionals. The world is in need of your strength, compassion, and skills more now than ever before. The Sisters from our Founding Order have begun sending notes of encouragement for you as you study remotely. They are also keeping you in their prayers. Please check back periodically as new notes are posted.

 

May we grow back

Today, we live an unusual world wide experience. With the entire Anna Maria College family, I join in prayer and carry you in thought as you await new beginnings and the continuing realization of your educational and personal goals.

Blessings,
A proud Sister of St. Anne and Anna Maria College Graduate

 

Perhaps we haven’t met but our footsteps have marked the Anna Maria College pathways.

Our days perhaps have not intertwined but our hopes, plans and realities continue to find life at Anna Maria College.

Whatever the season of our individual lives, we find roots in our Anna Maria College experiences.

In the spirit of Blessed Marie Anne Blondin, foundress of the Sisters of St. Anne, we touch the founding dreams of those Sisters who built Anna Maria College.

 

Hello students of Anna Maria College.
My name is Sister Pauline Marcotte, a Sister of Saint Anne. I spent forty years as a missionary in Haiti, teaching students at the Secretarial School in Port au Prince. I am now retired and living in Marlborough.

I would like to share with you a song that my younger sister composed on March 31st in the midst of the pandemic. She titled it THE CORONA SONG. Unfortunately, I don't have the music to share with you. Hopefully you will find the words inspiring as I did.

Refrain: Wait for the Lord (3X) and be strong
Believe and Trust in Him
Believe and Depend on Him
Believe, Pray, and Look on Him
Wait for the Lord and be strong

I am thinking of you and praying for you.
Sister Pauline Marcotte, Alumna of Anna Maria College

 

April May

 

Dear Students,

As a graduate of the Class of ’57, I look back at the most important lesson I learned through the years—that what seemed like a “catastrophic” incident at the time turned out to be, in God’s plans, the very best thing for my life.

Two salient incidents impacted my dreams and desires and set my life in a totally different direction each time.

The first painful incident was the reason I gave up my 4-year scholarship at Anna Maria after my freshman year to enter the community of the Sisters of St. Anne.

The second heartbreaking incident many years later, hastened the end of my official teaching career after which a serendipitous meeting opened the door for my taking a Clinical Pastoral Education unit, on-the-job training for chaplaincy in a hospital.

I was often asked which I preferred: teaching or chaplaincy. My answer was always, “I absolutely loved teaching and I absolutely love chaplaincy” because, in both cases, I knew I was doing God’s will for me in those ministries.

So, my “words of wisdom” to each of you today are—what could seem as a huge setback to your plans and desires, the position you thought you had, the promotion that went to someone else…could turn out to be a blessing in disguise as you look back on your life in later years.

Please count on my prayers for you!
Sr. Annette Bibeau, SSA ‘57

 

learn from

 

Some thoughts from Teilhard de Chardin on Easter Sunday, the morning of his death:
“O Risen Christ, grant me the grace to be ever young for God’s greater glory, young, ie: optimistic, active, smiling; perceptive.”

Sister Michèle Jacques

 happy week

 

My name is Sister Connie and I’m a Sister of St. Anne. I’m sending this note today to touch base with you as you continue your Anna Maria College courses online. There have been so many consequences of the coronavirus and your online courses are just one of these consequences.

I do hope and pray that you are coping as well as can be expected. I’m sure that you are missing the college “action”. It’s surely difficult to stay six feet apart from everyone during this trying time. I know that I’m finding it hard! However, please do listen to and observe all directives given as this pandemic invades our lives.

As you hope for the ending to this crisis, I’m sure you’re staying in touch with your friends. Social media is everyone’s friend at this time! However, please do find some time to bring this crisis to prayer as we all hope to get back to a “semblance of normalcy”. I’m keeping you and the Anna Maria community in my prayers.

Sincerely,
Sr. Connie

 

Sister Paulette artwork

 

Dear Anna Maria College Students,

My college years were many moons ago. There is no way any of us could have carried on our course work without real time classes. Internet was not developed and portable phones were not even a thought for that matter. You are living in an amazing time. Many things you have always done can no longer be done the usual way. You cannot go to your school, but you can still go to class! It has to be hard to do courses on line. I am sure there must be frustration but I hope you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Really, I find it awesome that you have the courage, energy, patience, and perseverance to do this work. So, I want to congratulate you on what you are doing in a time of such uncertainty. Be assured of my prayers for your success.

Blessings,
A Sister of Saint Anne

 

Native American Quote

“Everything on earth has a purpose,
Every disease an herb to cure it
And every person a mission.”

This is a Native American theory of existence.

(Salish wisdom)

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Online Recovery Resources Can Save Lives

COMMUNITY

By James DiReda, LICSW, PhD
Associate Professor in the School of Professional Studies
Anna Maria College

 

Anna Maria College is preparing the next generation of recovery and addiction professionals through classroom courses, clinical and experiential learning opportunities. Alumni serve their communities through psychology, community health, nursing, social work, music and art therapy, education and emergency response.

 

The misuse of substances, and addiction to alcohol and other chemicals is a problem that often negatively impacts individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. The pain and devastation is endless, the cost astronomical, including loss of potential and ultimately loss of life, with an end to it seemingly nowhere in sight. Sad as this sounds, and discouraging as it might seem, there is hope, individuals who misuse substances and those addicted can and do change. There are millions of people that have joined the ranks of those in recovery from substance use disorders and addiction. I write this as one of those fortunate enough to have survived 20+ years of active addiction, and the nightmare it caused for me, and proudly say that April 1 marked the 35th year since I have used any type of drugs, alcohol, or nicotine. Needless to say, my entire life is worlds apart from the day to day existence it once was, and it only seems natural to share the gift I have been given with others, in hopes that it might be of use to them in some way.

When speaking about the dramatic life change recovery entails, people commonly ask “how did/do you do it? What is the “secret” to making this incredible transition from hopeless and helpless to healthy and unencumbered by addiction? They want to know so they can apply it to their own life, or share it with someone they care about that struggles with substance use/addiction. As intriguing and mysterious as it might seem, it really isn’t all that complicated, and in fact, is quite simple. However, make no mistake, being simple in principle does not mean easy! There are a variety of treatments and support groups available to educate, guide, and support those who struggle with substance use and addiction, and most are fairly accessible and free of charge. Without getting into a long diatribe or lecture about addiction, it is a condition marked by a dependence on substances (or even behaviors) that has a progressively negative effect on the person (and those around them), driven by a compulsion to use those substances, and a loss of control over them. Addiction has been called a sickness of the soul, causing disconnection and isolation from others, and retreating into a lonely, dark, and often painful aloneness, even in the company of others, where the only sensible “fix” is to use substances to anesthetize the pain of this condition. If addiction is about disconnection, then the logical suggestion would be for that person to reconnect, with others, with self, with the greater community or universe. As much as I would like to entice you with some elusive cure or mysterious treatment, and many of those exist, but have yet to be proven effective, that connection I mentioned earlier is really at the heart of recovery. Yes, there are other factors involved, but at its core is a reconnection, something as humans we are hardwired for.

In a recent NPR interview I was asked about recovery and what I do to remain sober and in recovery? And so, without breaking any of the traditions of the mutual support groups that I attend, I spent time explaining the power of those groups, and the people in them, to the interviewer in hopes that her article would shine some bright light on this issue of addiction and recovery. Traditionally, people learn about addiction from what they see on television and movies, and what they read about in the local newspapers, which usually portray addicts and addiction in a very negative, often sleazy image, which can be stereotypical (often accurate) description of addiction. However, addiction doesn’t always look the same, or impact everyone in exactly the same way. Nonetheless, what most folks see is that description, but don’t see the millions of success stories about those once addicted, but now recovering and changed. In my humble opinion, our society has seen and heard enough of the dark stories, the heartbreaking ones, the infuriating and scary ones, which do exist, and always will when speaking about addiction. However, what folks don’t often enough hear are those success stories of those in recovery. Part of that is because most recovery support groups and those who attend them choose to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons, but that keeps the rest of the world from hearing about that success, and the miraculous change that happens on a regular basis with individuals in recovery.

So, it seems fitting that as I celebrate 35 years in recovery, living a life I could never have imagined while in the throes of my own addiction, that I share this with you. I want folks to know that first of all, no one wants to live the life of an addict, but it can happen to anyone (and does happen). Those who become addicted are not some “others” who exist “somewhere” else, they are our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, cousins, friends, and coworkers. And that isolation and disconnection that feed addiction can be reversed by connecting with others who walk the same path, and are accessible and willing to help. Ironically, as I write this line, we are in facing a pandemic, causing that “connection” and interaction we find so helpful in recovery programs to discontinue at in-person meetings, and shift to an online format. For many in recovery the thought of being isolated, especially in early recovery, seems extremely risky, and they find themselves reaching out in ways that are quite unfamiliar.

We, in the recovery community have seen a recent surge in the amount of mutual support meetings being offered in online platforms (Zoom, Go to Meeting, etc.) in an attempt to stay connected to friends and supports in recovery. Although not the ideal, and by far no comparison to actual “live” meetings, online support group meetings have been a lifesaving option for many, present company included. Simply seeing and hearing from friends and others in recovery, and hearing the important messages that get conveyed through these groups, provides the connection and encouragement that helps us maintain another day in recovery. I strongly recommend to those in need to find a virtual support group meeting (AA, NA) and continue to do so until in-person meetings are available again, it can save lives. There is much more to say about the treatment of addiction and the services available, and I don’t mean to make recovering from addiction sound or seem easy; it’s NOT. However, the message I do want to convey is that WE DO RECOVER, and we do it by connecting (even virtually) with one another to help each other through this painfully, scary, but beautiful journey of recovery.

 

Dr. DiReda holds a dual Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Work from Boston University, and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. He is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with over twenty-eight years of direct clinical experience in the field of mental health and addictions counseling. He has served as an advocate, treatment provider, researcher, and teacher working with individuals and families, schools, hospitals, treatment programs, jails, private and not-for-profit organizations around issues of mental health and substance use. He is a member of the Boards of Directors at AdCare Educational Institute, and the MA Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR). Dr. DiReda is an assistant professor of Social Work in the School of Professional Studies at Anna Maria College and is a founding partner at Lake Avenue Recovery in Worcester, MA.

 

online virtual resources

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We Are An Easter People

BLOG Easter2020

By Fr. David Cotter 
Anna Maria College Chaplain 

 

If I’m being honest, I can’t say that I remember many of the nearly fifty Holy Weeks and Easters I’ve celebrated in my priesthood and religious life with much distinct clarity. One year is not that different from another, so they tend to blend together. However, I do remember at least one in particular. I was a student in New York City, sometime in the late 1970s. This particular Easter I was free on Easter Sunday morning and, since a friend from undergraduate days was visiting from Montreal, decided to do something neither of us had ever done. We’d go into Manhattan for the Easter Parade. Now, it’s not really a parade. Rather it’s all the people thronging Fifth Avenue in Mid-town as the many church services conclude around noon. There’s no traffic on the day. The doors open, people spill out and spend a beautiful spring morning walking up and down the avenue and Central Park enjoying the day and watching other people. Feeling as though, just as Easter promises, they’ve come to life again after a winter spent largely indoors.  

I have a vivid memory of standing on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the “Met,” at 1000 Fifth Avenue, as good a vantage point as any and itself crowded with people, and looking down the street and seeing nothing but people, a solid mass of humanity, seemingly all dressed in their best, all happy and, especially, all together. There’s something about the celebration of life renewed that demands the presence of other people with whom the celebration might be shared. No one imagines an Easter Parade with only one participant, nor a heaven in which our eternal bliss is solitary. It was a perfect morning, a perfect day. Joy is meant to be shared. And that’s what I experienced that Sunday.   

That’s why I’ll remember this Easter as well. Palm Sunday recalls the entry of Jesus into a Jerusalem packed with people preparing to celebrate Passover, yet this year I recalled that first Palm Sunday not in a packed church but an empty one. Aside from the musicians, the parishioner who so kindly undertook to live-stream the Mass and those necessary for the celebration of the liturgy, no one was there. I preached, as best I could, to rows of empty pews hoping that someone was watching. It wasn’t what anyone would have wanted, but it was what we had, so we did it as well as we could.  

But here’s the thing…after the Mass I went out into the parking lot, with mask on and gloved hands, to distribute palms to whoever wanted to come by. And people did. Without stop. People I knew but hadn’t seen for some weeks. People from our friends in the Congregational church just across the street. People I didn’t know at all. We laughed. We caught up with our lives. We connected. When the stream of cars finally ended and I returned to the rectory, I discovered that many friends in the United Kingdom had tuned in and watched as well. I was reminded over and over of something we confess each week as we recite the Creed, the Communion of Saints. Our community does not consist only of those we can see immediately in front of us. Rather, as the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, with whom we share love and support.  

This Easter, the One with Empty Pews, will doubtless last in many of our memories as long as that long-ago Easter Parade one has in mine. That Easter I was struck by how many people were there, how many shared the faith and joy celebrated on this day. The same is true this year, for we are always surrounded by love, buoyed up by the support of communities seen and unseen. Sometimes the circumstances of our lives make it seem as though we’re alone but then, in God’s good time, we’ll walk outside into the sunlight and discover all the people waiting to greet us, to share this day with us, to remind us that we can never be alone. 

God Bless and Happy Easter! 

Fr. David Cotter 
Anna Maria College Chaplain 

50 Ways to Be an Easter People 

Prayer: 

  • Pray the Litany of the Saints
  • Pray for the Pope and the leaders of the Church
  • Pray for the government and the leaders of the country
  • Pray for your family
  • Pray for those who have died due to COVID-19
  • Pray for those who have not been able to have a funeral shortly after their passing due to restrictions from COVID-19
  • Step out of your comfort zone and invite someone to pray with you or for you
  • Visit the Anna Maria College Virtual Prayer Wall and pray for all the intentions listed there. Even add your own!
  • Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet and reflect on God’s generous mercy

Sacraments: 

  • Attend Mass / Make a Spiritual Communion
  • Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation / Do an Examination of Conscience
  • Renew your Baptismal promises

Works of Mercy: 

  • Be the hands and feet of Jesus
  • Call or video chat with a friend and check in with them
  • Visit with an elderly family member either by phone or physically (when permitted)
  • Buy a few extra items at the grocery store and donate them to your local food pantry
  • Go through your closet and take out everything that doesn’t fit but is still in good condition and donate them.
  • Now go through a second time and remove items that you haven’t worn and are still in good condition and donate them.
  • Give generously to your church, organizations, or individuals in need
  • Check in with a neighbor today to see if they need anything
  • Fulfill one act of kindness today
  • Choose an area around your home, neighborhood or town and pick up the trash
  • Preach the Gospel without using words, use actions
  • Do extra chores around the house just to help out
  • Practice forgiveness and let go of anger
  • Love everyone as we are all equal in God’s eyes
  • Welcome people as they enter your church for Sunday Mass or service
  • Practice living on what you need versus living on what you want. “Live simply so that others may simply live.” Gandhi
  • Practice patience today
  • Become a Eucharistic Minister
  • Volunteer as a Lector at church
  • Join the choir at your church

Gratitude: 

  • Be joyful!
  • Share messages of hope- via posting in your windows, on your social media, or through the mail
  • Look all around you to find Jesus in others and in the beauty of nature
  • Try to let go of your fears and anxieties, one at a time, and give them to God. He’s got you!
  • Take some time outside and just breathe the gift of fresh air
  • Find something unique to rejoice in today, not something you’d typically give much attention to, and share it with someone else.
  • Get creative! What does being an Easter people mean to you?

Faith: 

  • Sing Praise & Worship music
  • Take a virtual trip to a Shrine or Holy place
  • Spend time meditating on Psalm 30:4-5
  • Spend time meditating on Luke 24:40-41
  • Practice “Bible before breakfast, Bible before bed”
  • Don’t forget what you did for Lent in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Find a way to continue to incorporate those things into your life now!

Learn: 

  • Research a joyful Saint and choose one thing they did that you can start emulating yourself
  • Read a book about one of our great Saints
  • Read St John Paul II encyclical calledRedemptoris Missio to learn more about who we are called to be.
  • Try an hour away from social media and take that time to learn something new about your faith
  • View the Scriptures as a love letter to you! Learn more about God by reading the Scriptures with that mindset.
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From the President - April 8th Update

April 8, 2020 - Update from the President

Dear Anna Maria Alumni,

As a valued member of our community, I write today to let you know, that in these unprecedented times, the mission and the values of Anna Maria are alive and well. Whether it be through your own personal efforts to assist those in need, through your fellow alumni who have answered the bell in responding in so many ways to those affected by COVID-19, our faculty and staff who rolled up their sleeves and did what needed to be done to assist our students to complete their semester remotely and, lastly, our students who were understanding of the unusual circumstances and generous of spirit to assist their fellow students who needed help. This crisis has only heightened what we know to be the action necessary to support those around us – what we found as students and friends to be the core of the Anna Maria experience.

 

So many have reached out to offer assistance through ideas, philanthropic support and counsel to me and others who are navigating in waters never before experienced. Your show of support is not surprising given the nature of our alumni, but never more appreciated. Thank you for caring so much for the students who had their semester turned upside down, especially the seniors who will not be able to experience that last semester of deepened friendships and memories.

 

The speed in which our faculty converted their teaching modes to online vehicles was remarkable and our current students are engaged in completing their semester curriculum without compromising their path to degree completion. Those who typically spent their days advising, tutoring, counseling and sharing events with our students have developed programs that answer these needs and Zoom has now become our best mode of outreach for face to face contact!

 

We have supported our local community with supplies to facilities who needed them and have offered the campus to MEMA for any future use to house front line responders or victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. Outreach from nursing, social work, music, emergency responders and education departments to assist in serving others has been ongoing and will continue as we work through this national crisis.

 

Our students have been resilient by sharing their remote experiences with each other through social media and were exemplary in their response to leaving campus and adapting to a new teaching style. Needless to say, the seniors were very happy to hear that we will conduct Commencement on campus this year on August 22nd. You are invited to attend this special day for it will be one that I am sure will live in their memories even more than the original one planned for May. 

 

In short, your alma mater is truly amazing and you should be proud of the positive response, energy and kindness that has been exhibited at this difficult time. I am proud to serve as president of such an institution and thank you for your continued support of this wonderful College. You can stand tall knowing how well Anna Maria is serving and succeeding.

 

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Retelle
President of Anna Maria College

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Celebrating Holy Week from a Distance

HolyWeek

 

Dear Anna Maria Community,

In the midst of all that has been going on the last few weeks, we may not have even realized that Palm Sunday and Holy Week are mere days away. The holiest time in the Church could easily get brushed aside amidst the uncertainty and ever-changing news cycle. Yet, this time in history is calling us more than ever to embrace Holy Week and all the lessons and graces we can receive from it. Lent became something much more profound than many of us ever would have expected. We were not only asked to fast from meat on Fridays but to fast from the most life-giving aspect of our faith, the Mass and Eucharist. While it has no doubt been a challenge and a source of suffering, this is the time to remember- there is no Easter Sunday without a Good Friday. We are an Easter people, but only by the acceptance of our sufferings first.

While we remain in a state of social distancing throughout next week, there are still many ways we can embrace the holiness of it within our own homes and families. I encourage you to choose at least one act of solidarity each day as we journey through this upcoming week. The Campus Ministry Department has compiled a list of resources and ideas for you. Please see below as well as the attached PDF file for an in-depth guide.

We are also excited to announce the launch of our VIRTUAL PRAYER WALL! This is a place where anyone can submit a prayer request, share testimony of an answered prayer, see all the other prayer requests and take them to prayer in their own unique way, and subscribe to the Prayer Chain Email List to be notified every time a new intention is added as a way to have a more consistent connection. All intentions will be offered by our Chaplain, Fr. David Cotter, at his Sunday Masses. Let us use this as a place to pray for all those suffering during this time, especially our first responders.

If you are still looking for livestream Mass options, Fr. Cotter will also be livestreaming the Holy Week Masses from his parish, St. Columba’s in Paxton, via their website and YouTube channel. We invite you to join! Plus, if you live in the area, he will also be distributing blessed palms from 11 AM – 12 PM this Sunday at the church’s side door.

In hope, faith, and love let us endure these current sufferings with a firm knowledge of the joy in the Easter Sunday that is right around the corner!

Have a blessed Holy Week! We are praying for you all,

Melissa LaNeve & the Campus Ministry Department

 

Ideas for a Meaningful Holy Week

Palm Sunday:

-Reflect on the word PREPARE

-Take palms if you’re able to get them, or any green plant, and set it in the center of your table, on your front door, or on your porch to symbolize Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem and your home.

-Fr. Cotter’s livestreamed Mass at 10 AM

-Fr. Cotter’s Palm Sunday reflection

 

Holy Thursday:

-Reflect on the word TOGETHER

-Read John 13:1-15

-Enjoy a meal together with those you are living with. After your meal have everyone take turns washing each other’s feet or hands. Leave a bowl, pitcher and towel in the center of your eating table. Leave them there until 12 p.m. on Good Friday.

-Fr. Cotter’s livestreamed Mass at 7 PM

 

Good Friday:

-Reflect on the word SACRIFICE

-Place a Crucifix in a prominent location

-Keep a period of silence (or quieter than normal) from 12 PM – 3 PM

-Read John 18:1-19:42

-Pray the Stations of the Cross

-Fr. Cotter’s livestreamed celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 7 PM

 

Holy Saturday:

-Reflect on the word SILENCE

-In the evening set a lit candle in the middle of your table. This is to remind us that Christ is the light of the world and we are called to bring that light wherever we go.

-Fr. Cotter’s livestreamed Vigil Mass at 7:30 PM

 

Easter Sunday:

-Reflect on the word JOY

-Call/FaceTime your loved ones to check in with them and share in the joy of the day together

-Write messages of hope and joy in chalk on your driveway and sidewalk

-Fr. Cotter’s livestreamed Mass at 10 AM

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COVID-19: A Q&A with Emergency Management Expert Dr. Gregory Ciottone

 Ciottone QnA 3apr20

 

Dr. Gregory Ciottone, Medical Director of Anna Maria College’s Health Emergency Management Program, discusses Coronavirus and the emergency response currently underway. Dr. Gregory Ciottone is a nationally recognized leader in the health emergency management field. He is author of the leading textbook in the field, Ciottone’s Disaster Medicine. He also holds an appointment as Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

 

  • Q: Dr. Ciottone, what do we know about COVID-19 that we didn’t know a month ago?

A: We still don’t know everything but we are learning more every day. COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus, that is, it’s new. There are still some unknowns, but with more people being tested, we are able to see more data on attack rates, hospitalization and ICU rates, death rates, etc. that can help inform next steps. The medical community is monitoring this data very closely. For example, one factor of great interest is immunity. Typically, there is some immunity with other coronaviruses and infectious diseases in general. In the case of COVID-19, we are paying close attention to those who tested positive and have since recovered, to understand the extent and duration of any immunity that is conveyed. 

 

  • Q: Is there any consensus among emergency management experts on where we are in terms of the pandemic’s timeline?3 HEM

A: There’s a lot of modeling taking place but also many variables so nothing is 100 percent right now. The community-level mitigation underway will help blunt the curve, but by how much and when we don’t know. There is consensus around mitigation. It’s critical that we continue to promote public education about health and repeat messages like washing your hands, use of sanitizing solutions, social distancing, and staying at home. These are the ways we can help mitigate the spread of this virus.

  • Q: NYC appears to be very hard hit. Are there elements of NYC’s response effort that other cities should emulate (or prepare for)?

A: While we cannot predict the next hotspots, cities should take every opportunity to prepare. They should assume the virus will come as a surge. I already mentioned mitigation strategies. Cities should also use this time to review their plans, look at emergency staffing levels, look at inventories of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), COVID-19 test kits, ventilators and other critical care equipment. They can make plans for alternate testing sites to help make sure emergency rooms are used only for emergencies. And, with emergency rooms, those locations can use this time to plan for separately located screening areas to help separate traditional ER visits from COVID-19 cases. Communities need to do their best planning now to prepare for having a surge on their hospitals.

  • Q: It’s clearly too early to talk about recovery, but what are the determinants you look for to indicate that a recovery is underway?

A: The most obvious determinant will be a decline in the number of new cases. Also, we look for a decline in community spread. I mentioned immunity earlier and that is another factor. While we don’t know yet how much immunity there will be or how long it will last, generally speaking immunity decreases the number of people who can transmit the disease which means less spread. These are all factors, among others, that will help make decisions on when and how to de-escalate the current home isolation measures.

  • Q: Are there any lessons learned at this point?

A: Yes. As a population, we better understand disease transmission. People are more conscientious about handwashing, social distancing and other sanitary practices. This is a good thing in general and we need to incorporate these practices into our daily routines going forward. They will help us enormously in the future with other viruses.

 

In the wake of the growing number of natural and man-made disasters and disease outbreaks, the demand for trained professionals to anticipate and manage response efforts for these kinds of events has been steadily increasing. To meet this need, Anna Maria College is collaborating with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Fellowship in Disaster Medicine to provide a one-of-a-kind Master of Science in Health Emergency Management program for medical graduate students and trained health professionals, including physicians, nurses, physician assistants, paramedics and EMTs. Additionally, Anna Maria offers a Certificate in Health Emergency Management for students with an advanced degree interested in pursuing the specific knowledge in the field of emergency and or disaster management.  To learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management visit https://www.annamaria.edu/em-school/emergency-management.

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From Classroom to Kitchen Table

Learning from home

 

From Classroom to Kitchen Table

 

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing all of us to grapple with profound changes in the way we live. The closing of public schools across Massachusetts and the nation has created a host of challenges that a number of us are currently facing. In an effort to help, particularly for people with younger school aged children, the Faculty of Anna Maria College’s Education programs have compiled some valuable information available online that might prove useful for anyone who finds themselves in the unexpected position of homeschooling their children. The PBS Learning Media link has the advantage of offering materials that are aligned to the Massachusetts Department of Education Standards, which will hopefully allow for an easy transition and provide some welcome continuity.

https://mass.pbslearningmedia.org/

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/coronavirus-closed-schools-here-are-online-education-classes-for-every-age-and-grade/

This link includes a list and description of many virtual learning opportunities for K-12 students.

https://www.weareteachers.com/free-online-learning-resources/?fbclid=IwAR3_qrRwr84EYJu1AhuldQ4RqFq6Vr3EUfK2e26MA5YCAvX79Ni5xiDHP8g

 

About Anna Maria College

Located just outside of Worcester in Paxton, MA, Anna Maria College is a private, co-educational institution inspired by the ideals of the Sisters of Saint Anne. We prepare students to become ethical leaders by combining a values-based, service-focused education with strong functional knowledge and the skills necessary to address the rapidly changing needs of their world. Anna Maria delivers undergraduate and graduate degrees along with certificate programs on campus and online. For more information, visit www.annamaria.edu. To learn how Anna Maria is protecting the community against the spread of coronavirus, visit the COVID-19 update page.

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Coping with Pandemics in the Middle Ages

Coping with Pandemics in the Middle Ages 

Written by Ken Mondschein, a history professor at Anna Maria College.
The following is an excerpt from Ken’s article posted on Medievalist.net.

 

By far, one of the most stressful things about the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t fear of falling ill, but the psychological toll—not just in terms of isolation from “social distancing,” but simply feeling a lack of control over the situation.

Medieval people differed from us in their ways of coping with a pandemic, but they felt similar helplessness. Of course, they did not have the advantage of Pasteur’s germ theory, so they did not practice social distancing—though they did know that disease spread from person-to-person contact and practiced quarantines. In fact, the word “quarantine” comes from the early fifteenth-century Venetian law that required ships from plague-affected cities to wait off the coast of Venice for forty days (quaranta giorni) before discharging passengers and cargo. In this, the Venetians were following the example of their former colony of Ragusa (modern Dubrovnik in Croatia), which was a major power in the eastern Mediterranean.

Such quarantines tended to be communal in nature—for instance, shutting off a city from outsiders (though Milan escaped much of the devastation of the Black Death when the Visconti dukes walled victims up into their homes—a sort of internal exile). So, too, did methods of psychological coping tend to be communal. Foremost amongst these were liturgical rituals such as processions and prayer—particularly to saints who were said to have power over disease. Of course, today, we have our own personal Coronavirus rituals, such as hand-washing, checking in on friends and family, and incessantly posting on Facebook. These, however, are highly individualistic responses, and differ from the medieval tendency towards collective action.

Processions are a great example of this medieval communal tendency. Pope Gregory the Great (c. 540–605) famously held a “seven pronged procession,” or letania septiformis, during the plague of 590, sometimes called the First Plague Pandemic or Justinian’s Plague. Seven groups of Romans, organized by clerical or lay status, marital status, and gender, met at different churches to come together in one statement of community solidarity at Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. The contemporary chronicler Gregory of Tours relates that eighty people died during the march; supposedly, the Archangel Michael appeared on top of Hadrian’s tomb and sheathed his sword, signalling the end of the plague. The building has since been known as Castel Sant’Angelo...

To read the entire article, please visit Medievalist.net.

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From the President - March 23rd Update

March 21, 2020 - Update on COVID-19

Colleagues - 

As the senior management team continues to work together, and with the announcement today from Gov. Baker regarding the closing of physical workplaces beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24th at noon, through Tuesday, April 7th at noon, for organizations that do not provide COVID-19 Essential Services, President Retelle and AICUM offer the following message regarding exempt status from the Governors message:  Educators and staff supporting public and private emergency childcare programs, residential schools for students with disabilities, K-12 schools, colleges and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning, provision of school meals, or performing other essential student support functions, if operating under rules for social distancing.  

 

The preparation for Anna Maria College to continue supporting its students remotely has been tremendous and each and every employee is to be applauded for the hard work accomplished.

 

I continue to strongly encourage all faculty and staff to work from home. Please consult with your supervisor on plans for working remotely and assuring that realistic expectations are met to complete the work necessary to serve our students as best we can under the circumstances. If you need to report to campus, you are welcome to do so by contacting Security at 508-494-9010 (office) for office access when needed.

 

You have received information from Human Resources earlier this morning regarding employee benefits ensuring that you understand we support you one-hundred percent! I want to assure you that the College will do everything to make sure that you are not worried about your status or compensation in the weeks ahead. 

 

Thank you for all you are doing to help during this difficult time. I am always available to you for any questions or concerns, so please call me at any time.

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Retelle
President of Anna Maria College

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From the President - March 21th Update

March 21, 2020 - Update on COVID-19

Dear Anna Maria Students and Parents,

On behalf of the faculty and staff at the College, I am writing to make sure you are updated on the latest news from campus and to check in on how you are doing during these difficult days. Little did we all know when we left for spring break that so many changes would happen, not just here at Anna Maria, but around the world. You are being asked to change your learning environment and, for some of you, your living situation since many of you had to move off campus. All of the activities that you were looking forward to for the rest of the semester cannot be held. And for all of this, I am truly sorry.

 

I have been on many calls with our Board of Trustees, other college presidents and government officials to make sure that we are making the best decisions on your behalf as a student at Anna Maria College. Every college is different and there is a lot of competing information out there.  Please be advised that many of our decisions are being informed by the federal and state officials as efforts are being taken to control COVID-19. In the meantime, the College will continue to provide timely updates on matters that affect you and your family. 

 

A few things I want you to know before you begin your classes on Monday:
While the delivery of your classes is not what you’re used to, the faculty have been working very hard to make sure that the quality of your courses is as strong remotely as in person. The same educational outcomes will be expected so that there will be no question of your earned credits and your continued path to completing your degree. During this transition to online learning, the IT department has been working non-stop to ensure you have access to your coursework, your faculty, and the resources necessary for your success. If you have technical difficulties, please email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Your faculty will also be available to help you with any course difficulties and will still have office hours posted for any discussions outside of the class – you will just have to see them remotely! 

 

The Student Life staff is also working hard in planning online activities that will help you stay in touch with each other. I realize it isn’t Spring Weekend, a baseball softball or lacrosse game, a terrific fashion show, a drama production, or your art or music presentation, but I hope that you will participate and enjoy since we are all limited in what we can do and where we can go.

 

The refunds for room and board are being calculated and we are just waiting for some additional information from the government, both state and federal, to make sure we are being accurate in our determinations. In the meantime, you will be receiving a message from the business office at Anna Maria to sign up for E-Refund which will allow for direct deposit to your preferred bank account.Please pay attention to this notice and follow the instructions. You should expect this message sometime next week.

 

And last, but not least:
For those graduating this year – the Anna Maria College 2020 Commencement will be held on August 22, 2020 on our beautiful campus. We hope that by then that COVID-19 will not disrupt our plans. A Mass of Celebration will begin the day followed by the commencement ceremony with all of the pomp and circumstance that you deserve and expect. The Board of Trustees will host a Congratulatory Social after for your family and friends to celebrate the day together. This is an exciting day for you and we will make sure it is a day you will remember.

 

As you begin your classes on Monday, stay focused, connected and healthy. I know this is not easy, but we are here for you and miss you very much. Please feel free to reach out to me atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Retelle
President of Anna Maria College

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From the President - March 17th Update

March 17, 2020 - Update on COVID-19

Dear Members of the Anna Maria Community,

 

I would like to begin by expressing my sincere thanks for your patience during this unprecedented time. Senior management at Anna Maria has been working closely with the Department of Public Health, medical experts, guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and adhering to instructions from government on both the state and federal levels. Based on the best available information from the public health community, we are at a pivotal moment with respect to both the spread of the COVID-19 virus and our ability as a college to take proactive, rather than reactive, steps.

 

In this letter, I will update you on the following topics:
· Online learning for the remainder of the academic year
· Cancellation of all campus events through the end of the semester
· Financial considerations for reimbursements
· Guidelines for working remotely for faculty and staff

I had hoped that we could complete the semester in our regular classes and in-person community, but for reasons that are increasingly apparent, I am very sorry to say that this course of action is no longer possible. This is why I have made the difficult decision to finish out the spring semester with remote instruction.

 

Beginning Monday, March 23rd, all classroom instruction will be moved online. The faculty have been hard at work to ensure that the transition from classroom to online learning is as seamless as possible. I ask the students to please check your email regularly for updates from your professors as there will be many updates relative to technology support, advising and registration. All offices within Student Life will be available remotely throughout the semester, including the Student Success Center, the Counseling Center, and the Career Center. Also, the Student Life Office will be sending out messages encouraging students to stay connected with all of these services and to participate in online activities.

 

To the students, I fully understand your deep disappointment at having your academic and social experience here on the Anna Maria campus end so abruptly. The guest lectures, drama productions, concerts, athletic games, and student-led events that are a highlight of the spring will be missed by many; however, there was no choice but to cancel all campus events through the end of the semester. The College will evaluate the situation as it relates to all Commencement activities as decisions associated with COVID-19 are made. Safeguarding the health and safety of the entire Anna Maria community is top priority.

 

With regard to reimbursement to students for room and/or board, the College is developing a process to address refunds. I ask that you allow time to finalize the work involved and if you have any questions, please reach out to the Student Account Office at 508.849.3394 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

To faculty and staff, while the students will be attending classes online, it is important to note that Anna Maria College remains open as there is much work to do. We find ourselves in a situation that is, quite literally, beyond our control. I understand that the solutions we are offering place extra demands on all members of our community. However, I am confident that we will resolve the issues we face together.

 

There are many circumstances that have or will continue to present themselves for the employees and that will inform personal decisions for minimizing risk of exposure. Please consult your supervisor if you wish to explore flexible work options.

 

In closing, I want to recognize and thank the members of this wonderful community for their seriousness of purpose, generosity of spirit, and commitment to addressing this time of great challenge. I appreciate your hard work and solidarity as we address the current complexities.

 

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Retelle
President of Anna Maria College

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Coronavirus - March 13th Update

March 13, 2020 - Update on COVID-19

Anna Maria College continues to take protective measure to ensure the safety and well-being of its students, faculty and staff in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

 

Today, Anna Maria College is announcing that all spring athletics are cancelled. The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) also today cancelled the spring regular season conference schedule and championships. Athletic Director Joseph Brady’s message is included below.

 

Anna Maria College is also cancelling all campus events involving more than 50 people through March 31, 2020. Today Governor Baker announced a statewide ban on all gatherings of more than 250 people.

 

Anna Maria College takes these steps out of an abundance of caution. There are currently no recorded COVID-19 virus cases on our campus. We ask that you please continue checking the COVID-19 information on www.annamaria.edu for further guidance and stay alert to ongoing updates from the College.

 

Announcement from Director of Athletics Joseph Brady
In response to the evolving situation related to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19, Director of Athletics Joseph Brady ’96 has announced the difficult and challenging decision to suspend the remainder of the spring sport seasons including club and non-traditional fall sports, effective Monday, March 16.

 

The health, safety, and well-being of our community is the top priority and the decision was made in order to help mitigate the spread and minimize the exposure and risk of the Coronavirus. There are no suspected or confirmed cases on the Anna Maria College campus.

 

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Presidents Council unanimously voted today to cancel the spring regular season conference schedule and championships. The NCAA announced yesterday that all winter and spring national championships have been cancelled.

 

“The entire athletics community is disappointed and extremely saddened about this unprecedented situation. We feel this is the best decision for the safety and well-being of our students, coaches and community,” said Brady. “I cannot begin to express how I feel for all of our student-athletes and coaches and even more for our senior athletes who have worked so hard for Anna Maria College. I thank them for everything they have done and their commitment to AMCAT athletics.”

 

Click here to read the release from the GNAC.

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From the President - March 12th Update

March 12, 2020 - Update on COVID-19

Anna Maria College continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 public health crisis. Although there are currently no recorded COVID-19 virus cases on our campus, the safety of our campus community is our top priority. Accordingly, the College will extend the spring break currently underway through Sunday, March 22, 2020. The extension of the break through March 22 will also allow the College to prepare for remote instruction, should that become necessary. No campus events will take place and students should not return to campus during this time with the exception of resident students needing to pick up necessary items for an additional week away; those students must contact Residence Life to schedule a time to pick up their belongings.

 

The campus will otherwise remain open and all faculty and staff should continue their regular work schedules the week of March 16-20.

 

Athletic Director Joe Brady is in touch with his coaches, fellow athletic directors, and the Conference to determine next steps for our athletic teams. We will update you when we know more from his discussions.

 

To be clear, this public health crisis is a very fluid situation. On Tuesday, March 10, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth and advised businesses, institutions and residents to follow the guidance of the CDC and the Department of Public Health and take mitigation steps where possible to help slow the spread of the disease, including avoiding large group gatherings. The College already had provided guidance about avoiding travel to high risk areas, accessing campus health services, and maintaining proper hygiene. However, the emergency declaration confirms the seriousness of the situation.

 

These are not easy decisions and I recognize this is very disruptive to the college experience. However, our top priority is the safety of everyone on our campus. We are committed to working to ensure that coursework will progress unimpeded.

 

I want to acknowledge the hard work and care shown by our faculty, staff, administrators and Trustees in making this difficult decision. Because this is an evolving situation, please continue checking the COVID-19 information on www.annamaria.edu for further guidance and stay alert to ongoing updates from the College.

 

Signed,

 

President Mary Lou Retelle

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