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By: Jessica Sabato
Throughout her whole life Sara Marks was told she would make a fabulous nun. Being young, Sara always felt that this was never an option for her.
During college, the campus minister told her that it came to him in prayer that she should take a religious path. Even though family and friends had been telling her this for years, the way her campus minister approached her about it, with a genuine and serious manner, it meant something more. Marks knew she had to start thinking about what was brought to her attention.
Marks discerned, which is a prayerful decision making, for years. After meeting with the Sisters of St. Francis at the Newman Center at West Chester University, she went on their “Come and See” retreats. At one retreat in the beginning, Marks was asked why she was there, and she responded, “to prove to everyone that this is not the life for me.” After a full day with the sisters, her perspective of what life as a nun was like totally changed, and she made sure she let them know.
The religious path never seemed appealing to Marks because she does like doing her hair and makeup and she loves to wear jewelry; which she thought was not an option if she was to become a nun. After her first retreat with the sisters, this myth was broken, which made the decision even easier for her to make.
After spending several years getting to know the sisters in an open environment with no deadline on her decision making, was the best thing she could have ever done for herself and her future.
In January of 2010, Marks decided it was time to jump in and try this new way of life for her. Going into this journey for her was, “Like buying a house without walking inside and just having everyone tell you what it looks like and buying it off of other peoples’ opinions.” If Marks never went to retreats and spent time with religious figures in the area, she would have never known what her new life would be like, or what she would be missing out on. In September of 2010 she entered into Candidacy, which for her, was like walking through the house. She found nothing but happiness, loves every minute of it, and happy she did it.
“I will be giving up things but not in the same sense that I originally thought, so I wouldn’t say I am not giving anything up, but that the things that really matter to me are things I will not have to let go of and that makes it easier to make the decision. Life will be different and there will be things I have to separate myself from, but in the end, the things that really matter to me fit into this lifestyle.”
Sara says of her new journey, “For the past ten years I have been on my own, and I could get whatever I wanted when I wanted it, and now I can’t.”
However, this is something she wants in life so she is willing to take on the challenge to live off a given budget.
“People have a stereotypical thing that this is all praying and boring, but some nights we will play cards and watch movies. That is what building community is all about, doing things together?”
Sara Marks will miss the Neumann atmosphere, but will always be a part of the school since she is going to be a Sister of St. Francis.
By: Nicholas Simonetti
Arthurian legend tells us that a great British king, whom we know as Arthur, formed an alliance of noble men—men of respect, honor, truth and valor. During a time where complacency, indifference and a lack of chivalry have taken hold on a growing body of adolescents, Neumann University brings you the Knights of the Roundtable. Formed in the fall of 2010, this fraternal body is encompassed of a diverse group of men from the Neumann family, incorporating students and faculty, all of which foster an appreciation for the complex times we live in and are willing to bring their moral fibers to the table.
Women are often empowered more so to express their views on character, faith, morality and what a man’s role is. As a result, males have lost much of their footing in this crucial vicinity of self-expression.Acknowledging that no one is perfect, this group comes together typically every other week under the coordination of Dr. Ed Hastings to address the numerous conundrums facing all men, primarily in our society. Across the country, there dwells an advancing crisis where men’s opportunities for expressing their spirituality are greatly diminishing.
In addition to this enigma, we are seeing an escalating decrease in the male presence among universities. The precise cause of this dilemma cannot be pinpointed; however one could cite a few possible reasons. There is the lack of motivation to persist in an education, or perhaps the belief in oneself that he is not meant in this society to attain a college education and that some other means of living is more feasible or appropriate. Regardless of whatever choice men make concerning college and their future, it is vital to remember that the decision is theirs, and should not be influenced by societal trends which infringe on their genuine intuition and desired pursuits.
Furthermore, in the interest of keeping meetings more stimulating, the Roundtable tends not to place constraints on discourse. Though we sometimes have a specific topic we wish to address, such as competition among men or relationships for instance, we thrive on spontaneous growth in our dialogue. The Knights of the Roundtable is an environment where men can come together with open minds and through a philosophical and theological framework, examine the issues facing them— what it means to be a man, the appropriate male-initiation, unwaveringly doing the right thing, overcoming being ostracized for thinking critically, accepting who we are, being true to our character and seeking harmony with the world we live in. Michael Martin Jr., a fellow member of the Roundtable, firmly believes this.
“The Roundtable has proven to be a powerful place for me, a place where I can voice my opinions in an atmosphere that is safe and unique,” said Martin. “The energy of these meetings is unlike anything I’ve experienced on campus.”
The Roundtable provides a means to which male students, and even the wiser and experienced teachers, can learn and make each other into better men and, more significantly, into better people in the overall scheme of a society in which humans live peacefully and ethically.
What is your position at Neumann University?
Assistant Professor of Pastoral and Theological Studies
How long have you worked for Neumann?
I have been at Neumann since September 2001.
How do you relax after a long day of work?
Actually, I relax before the day begins by having a cup of coffee and spending some time in prayer, then working out at Planet Fitness. If its nice weather and I have the time in the evening, I like to walk or ride my bike; otherwise I watch some TV, talk with friends or read.
What was your major in college?
I was an English major at Our Lady of Angels.
What was your first car?
The first car I drove was a Chevy, but I don’t know the model. I do know that it was brown and tan.
Have you ever been a girl scout?
I was a girl scout for three years, but I quit because I did not like camping!
Have you ever been outside of the United States?
Yes, I lived in Canada for four years when I studied there. I have been to Italy, England, and Ireland and have visited several countries in Africa.
If you were stranded on an island, what three things would you want to have with you?
I would like to have a blackberry with solar charge, a Kindle, and the email addresses of students who might be willing to come and rescue me!
What/Who is your favorite… Time of the year?
Grade school teacher?
She just passed away at the end of February, Sister Alma Francis, OSF.
I have two. Ray Lewis, because he made some significant changes in his life and he exudes enthusiasm, and Michael Oher who is quiet but steady.
What was the first job you ever had?
I was a secretary for a life insurance company.
What was the worst job you ever had?
As a young sister, I was assigned to housecleaning at a large nursing home from morning till evening.
What is your dream vacation?
I would like to go to Europe for four weeks and tour the continent and then visit Russia and China.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
That all people would recognize their similarities, rather than emphasize their differences.