Message from the Head of School
Sr. Jane Meyer, O.P.
It is always exciting to begin a new school year, and this year is no exception! Our theme for the year is “Voices of Veritas” as we continue to celebrate our 800th anniversary of the Dominican Order. Being Voices of Veritas, truth, means to be fearless and daring—to speak up and speak out for what is right. Voices of Veritas means saying that we are sisters each, inspiring all. It means demanding the best from yourself and bringing out the best in others. It means seeking your own truth and finding wisdom beyond yourself. It means proving the power of a single voice, yet proclaiming the power of our shared Dominican values. Whenever I am with alums and hear their stories, I am inspired because they embody the Dominican Spirit. They are true Voices of Veritas.
At St. Agnes, we work intentionally. We gather information, collaborate as a community, plan for the future, and commit to address the justice issues of the day. Two years ago, St. Agnes published our strategic plan, Voicing our Vision, a roadmap that will take us to 2020. Together, a group of board members, foundation trustees, administrators, and other stakeholders formed our overarching goals and the tactics that would help us achieve them. One of our four goals (see the full strategic plan online) is to provide enriching environments for our students—classrooms that will address the needs of our students and also continue our commitment to conservation, energy efficiency, and “green” campus initiatives.
Little did we know that we were on the same page as Pope Francis when, a year later, he published his Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’. Pope Francis speaks of an integral ecology where we begin to understand the interconnectedness of our world and our role in it. “We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach. It must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, #49).
As we continue to grow our campus, while being conscious of our carbon footprint, we are Voices of Veritas. During both our physical and educational development, we are committed to the common good. We know that this responsibility lies with everyone in our community—from our students to our board of directors. When we built the Clay Center for the Sciences and Student Services, we installed double pane windows and LED lighting to create an energy efficient building for our students. We set up filtered water stations to encourage our students to bring a refillable water bottle and help eliminate plastic bottles on campus. Our students founded a green club which holds electronics recycling semi-annually, helps manage recycling on campus, and maintains a garden in the front of the school. We are currently completing an audit of our recycling program to see how we can recycle better. With the addition of the East Campus Athletics Complex, our students, parents, faculty, and friends came together with Trees for Houston to plant numerous new trees at our new facility.
In keeping with our Dominican pillar of study, our administrative team is reading and studying Laudato Si’ together this year, chapter by chapter to not only be informed but to be voices to move the encyclical forward. Our sophomore theology classes already reflect on the creation story and how Pope Francis calls us to reexamine our relationship to creation. Students develop a project addressing a humanitarian or ecological crisis and how society denigrates or heals creation. Our relationship with our world, and our commitment to justice for the poor is important to each one of us. As we look forward to the future, we work in tandem with the Dominican Sisters of Houston, who have committed themselves to focus their efforts, energy, and resources for the next six years on Integral Ecology.
Thanks, my friends, for your support in so many ways. St. Catherine of Siena says, “Speak as though you have 1,000 voices, it is the silence that kills.” Your voice can make a difference and together our many voices can change the world.
Sr. Jane Meyer, O.P.
Head of School