September 25, 2017

September 25, 2017

Center for Campus Ministry E-News September 25, 2017

Lots of activity in Campus Ministry this week.

Center for Ministry
Students read prayers for peace attached to the Peace Pole at Wednesday's Prayer for Peace on Monahan Plaza

Center for Campus Ministry E-News September 25, 2017

What's News in the Center for Campus Ministry

Associate Chaplain Blog: Reflections

Prayer for Peace

Tommie Disciple: First Meeting of the Year

Celebrating Faith; Unity in the Ummah

It's a New Year for VIA!

Check Out VISION's Priority Application Dates

"Say Hey Day!" is Coming

Wednesday Meditation Opportunities

Spirtitual Direction Opportunity

From Conflict to Communion


Muslim in America and a Tall Purple Tree


By Sheikha Tamara Gray

Summer months in Damascus are so hot the air stands still and dares you to breathe.  The sun feels like it is two inches above your head, and light breezes feel more like open oven doors. The jacaranda tree lives on the streets of Damascus and in the midst of the unrelenting heat of June, it would burst into purple blooms not unlike lilacs. During my twenty summers in Syria - they began in April and lasted until October - I would take inspiration from my friend the Jacaranda tree.  

I am the Muslim Associate Chaplain at St. Thomas this year, and my years in Syria mean I speak Arabic, and eat hummus. I love Turkish (known as Arabic in Syria) coffee, and crunchy sweet pastries filled with cream. I am originally from Minnesota, so I also speak 'Minnesotan' (you betcha!) and love strong black diner coffee and cinnamon sugar snickerdoodles

I come to this position with an academic background in Islamic law and theology, education, and leadership and a love for the cool and cold weather of Minnesota. I grew up in the Twin Cities, and returned here in 2012 because of the war in Syria. My full-time job is running my nonprofit organization, Rabata, and its many projects.  I often speak around topics of faith, community, social justice, and women. I am also a graduate student in leadership here at the University of St. Thomas, and hope to complete my doctorate within the next couple of years.

As I look at what it means to be a Muslim in America today, I think of that tall purple tree. I am proud of St. Thomas for taking this step into the space of social justice, and upholding the common good. I look forward to working with my associate chaplains to build programming that brings our faith groups together in uplifting and nourishing ways. I hope to give the Muslim students on campus a person to go to for spiritual or religious concerns, support, or just camaraderie in this world where being a Muslim has suddenly become a little more difficult. And as the only woman chaplain, I offer sisterhood to the entire St. Thomas community of women, and hope to get to know you throughout the upcoming year. See you around campus!  

Prayer for Peace

On Wednesday, September 20, staff and students took time together on John Monahan Plaza, to offers prayers for peace as part of the Spiritual and Interfaith Week and also for the International Day for Peace. Uniting in prayer with our brothers and sisters who, due to lack of peace, are forced to leave their homes in search of a better life: migrants and refugees. Here are some photos from the event: Prayer for Peace.

Tommie Disciple: Gathered Under One Name

The Tommie Disciple kick-off is Tuesday, September 26!  Led by a committee of students and the Office for Spirituality, Tommie Disciple is a place for all students to come together to glorify Jesus Christ.   Gathered under one name, you are invited to join us for an evening of prayer,  worship, and community building.

Celebrating Faith:  Unity in the Ummah

 Saturday September 30, 2017

9:30 am - 4:30 pm

at St. Catherine University

Designed for students who are Muslim or are interested in learning more about Islam, this one-day retreat is grounded in the traditions of Islam.  The day long retreat experience offers time for personal reflection, community building, dialogue and fellowship away from the commotion of college life.

Lunch will be served.

Sponsored by Office for Spirituality and St Kate's Campus Ministry

It's a New Year for VIA!

Another year is upon us, which means another year of volunteer opportunities with Volunteers in Action! VIA is an organization with five sites that all have a variety of great volunteer opportunities! The sites include Adopt-a-Grandparent, Harmony Crew, The Jeremiah Program, St. Marks, and MEDS. All five sites are a fun way to get involved in the community and meet other students on campus. Visit us at the activities fair for more information!

Also, check out our website (  or contact Megan Huggett ( or Camille Mulcahy (  for information on how to apply!


Global Community Building Program

J-Term and Spring break trips


 About VISION:
VISION provides global community building opportunities for St. Thomas students to encounter and work alongside diverse communities that are dedicated to creating a more just world. As we witness the strengths and beauty of our site's members, we come to a deeper, more humble understanding of our own place in the world. Teams are challenged to carry their learning and the six components of VISION into their future studies, careers and communities.

Where are we headed this J-Term?

  • Puerto Rico

  • Ghana

  • Bolivia

  • Texas/Mexico border

  • Bolivia

  • California

 Priority Application deadline: Friday, October 6th

For more information and to apply visit

"Say Hey Day!" is Coming

The Center for the Common Good and the Tommies Together Volunteer Programming Board invite students to "Say Hey Day!" on Saturday, September 30th UST's 1st Fall Semester Day of Service!  

Besides contributing to a great "all-for-the-common good" volunteer initiative within the broader Twin Cities community, you'll also have the opportunity to meet and have fun with fellow Tommies and community partners. 

 Volunteer opportunities include: 

  • Serving meals with People Serving People 
  • Packing meals with Feed My Starving Children  
  • Working with Second Harvest food shelf  
  • Painting with St Paul Parks and Recreation  
  • Cleaning the river with UST's Sustainability Club 

Meet in ASC Woulfe at 10:30 a.m. - the first 200 students will receive a free long sleeve shirt. All supplies and transportation will be provided. 

Come say "Hey!"  SIGN UP TODAY 

Questions contact

Break Up Your Week with Meditation

Take a break from your workday and experience what meditation and silence can bring to you.



Where is God in my life? What am I supposed to be doing next in life? What is the meaning of this darkness I encounter in prayer? Where can I go to wonder out loud about God?

Sounds familiar? Spiritual direction may be of help to you in answering some of these questions on your faith journey.

Meet Sister Maria Elizabeth Nakku, an international Doctoral student in the College of Education and Counseling Psychology at the University of St. Thomas. Sister Elizabeth is doing her practicum in spiritual direction as a requirement to complete her graduate degree in Christian Spirituality and Spiritual Direction at Creighton University, Omaha Nebraska.

She is pleased to offer spiritual direction sessions at no cost.

She is able to take on very limited number of people at "First come, first serve" basis.

For more information, contact her via email:

From Conflict to Communion
Commemorating the Reformation with New Eyes

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