Wellness Fair | PHOTO GALLERY

Hilbert students, faculty, and staff attended the annual Wellness Fair on campus. Local organizations, groups, and vendors shared information about living a healthy lifestyle. Popular stops included the mini-farmer’s market and a visit from a therapy dog at the Paws for Love table.

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Dr. Brophy’s Franciscan Pilgrimage: The Sistine Chapel

This was not my first visit to the Sistine Chapel. On previous visits, however, I had hurried through the Chapel due to the crush of tourists. This time I committed to taking whatever time I needed to better appreciate the Chapel’s artwork, perhaps the most famous in humanity.

I rented an audio tour guide and made my way though many galleries before arriving at the Chapel, once again crowded. I followed the directions on the guide and settled into my own personal space for an hour. This was not easy as many tourists moved quickly in and out of the Chapel, many doing what I had done before. A quick look up to the ceiling to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece. God creating humankind in his image and then off to the next Rome destination.

I was about a third of the way through my audio tour when there was a loud “Silenzio” and then a “Shhhhhhhh” ringing throughout the Chapel. A security staff member’s amplified message quickly quieted down the international sounds and admonishments coming from the assembled.

It was quiet for a minute before chattering sounds came back like birdsong at sunrise. Many visitors were talking. Others were texting or playing with their phones. Some were quickly taking contraband photos. And, of course, many were finding creative ways to eat and drink forbidden food. I went back to my audio tour for the rest of the appreciation, standing with neck straining up to see all the detail of the frescoed ceiling.

Near the end of the audio tour, there was another round of “Silenzio’s,” but this time they were said by a priest who then blessed all of us. When he finished the blessing, he offered to hear confessions from any of those gathered.

This was interesting. In a very chaotic and public setting, the Church was offering the sacrament of reconciliation. The priest stood waiting by the side of the altar. Since no privacy was offered, I couldn’t imagine anyone taking him up on his offer and want back to my tour.

When I was finished the tour and looked down from the ceiling, I was surprised to see that a gentleman had come forward and was offering his confession the priest. There, just below The Final Judgment mural, was one of the faithful offering his vulnerability and most personal reflections to the Church.

It was a reminder to me about the work we do in a faith-based educational setting. We work hard to establish environments for learning that are filled with artifacts of humanity’s most significant achievements. Settings and faculty are carefully put together in such a way as to inspire our students, but the hustle and bustle of modern living can be so distracting.

When we compete for our students’ attention, with all that the modern world presents to them during their waking hours, what do we do to make a deep and personal connection with them? How do we make sure that they know they can let down their defenses and reflect on their learning and character development in our educational setting?

One would think being in the presence of greatness of thought should be enough, but when Michelangelo competes against an iPhone for our students’ attention we are reminded of the need of going the extra step to assure them that they can come forward to give expression to their innermost thoughts and reflections. This is noble work, for sure.

Dr. Brophy’s Franciscan Pilgrimage

Hilbert President Dr. Brophy is currently traveling abroad on a Franciscan pilgrimage sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph. Join us as he chronicles his journey!

I write from Rome where my first Franciscan pilgrimage begins. Sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph, I am looking forward to better understanding their charism and the work our campus community needs to focus on as we commence the implementation of our Strategic Plan, Hilbert 2025.

Our first day here in Rome happened to be Saint John Paul II’s feast day. We celebrated Mass in what is known as the Polish chapel at the Vatican, and the entire complex was busy celebrating his legacy. A great energy to begin the pilgrimage.

I will write along the way in hopes that my personal journey over the next two weeks resonates with others who are working to sustain the Franciscan way.



Fall Open House | PHOTO GALLERY

Hilbert held their second Open House on October 19. Students were able to take a tour of the campus, learn about programs, and meet faculty. Then students and their families were welcomed to Fran Hall to have lunch and talk to current students, clubs, and athletics.

Another Hilbert Reads is in the Books (Pun Intended) | PHOTO GALLERY

Swan Auditorium seats were filled last night, Tuesday, October 22, for Hilbert’s seventh annual Hilbert Reads. All were invited to hear author Kate Fagan talk about her New York Times best-selling book on the sports list in 2017. Her book What Made Maddy Run shares the story of Madison Holleran, who struggles with the transition to college, especially with balancing school and sports, and makes the heartbreaking decision to commit suicide. Fagan discussed her book and its connection to important issues including anxiety, depression, and suicide in the perfectionist, social-media driven society we live in today. After speaking, students were invited to ask questions they had or share their own stories of struggle. Fagan then signed books and took photos with students and a reception followed in the West Herr Atrium. Thank you to all who attended and to Kate Fagan for visiting and sparking a conversation.

Inside The Hilbert Difference: First Year Experience

One key component of The Hilbert Difference lies in The Hilbert Blueprint, a four-year college experience that bolsters student involvement and leadership potential.

The Hilbert Blueprint kicks off with our First Year Experience and Foundations Seminar, designed to get all students acquainted with the college experience. The First Year Experience includes participation in a minimum of two ‘passport’ activities on campus. To further familiarize freshmen with college expectations, all first year students will also participate in the Hilbert College Reads program.

Hilbert College Reads is a common reading experience that engages students and creates a sense of community through cross-disciplinary conversations. Each student will receive a complimentary copy of the year’s selected text and potentially have an opportunity to meet the author.

This year’s selected text is “What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen” by Kate Fagan. What Made Maddy Run is the heartbreaking story of college athlete Madison Holleran, whose life and death by suicide reveal the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today.  What Made Maddy Run spent one month as the #1 New York Times best-seller on the Sports list in 2017. The book addresses the important issues of anxiety, depression, and suicide in a perfectionist, social-media driven society.

Author Kate Fagan is scheduled to speak on October 22, 2019 in the Swan Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.


Click here to hear from author Kate Fagan, and stay tuned for more information on her campus visit!