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Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. For the greater glory of God…
Magis. The more…
Ruined for life…
Men and women for and with others…
Educating the whole person…
The number of times I heard these phrases during my four years of Jesuit education is virtually uncountable. Homilies during the 10PM student Mass left me searching for the “more.”  Retreat talks from peers and speeches from invited speakers begged me to follow the path “for the greater glory of God.”  Through class lectures and even my own papers I realized the memories Xavier gave me that left me “ruined for life.” In all, on graduation day, the realization hit me that the $120,000 piece of paper with the “B.S.” next to my name, now in my hands, did not speak to the most important lessons I learned at Xavier.
Today I can only hear one of those familiar phrases rattling around in my head. Tonight, reflecting on the JVC orientation sessions on advocacy, privilege, and social justice all I can see is my alma mater’s seal. “Vidit Mirabilia Magna.” … He has seen great wonders. I have seen great wonders.  My university, my professors, my advisers, my peers… my Xavier family gave me something so precious and so invaluable.  This family guided me toward the opportunities that would show me GREAT WONDERS.
Three simple Latin words hold the beauty of my Xavier experience as I reflect back, now, an alumnus.  No, I did not see the seven wonders of the ancient world, or the natural world, or any of those 1000 places I am apparently supposed to see before I die.  After growing with me through four trying but wonderful years, my closest friends would say that I did see great wonders though.  What are these great wonders that I saw then? Maybe the better question is who are these great wonders that I witnessed? Whose lives, whose faces, whose stories did I learn? My photographs and memories hold the true lessons I learned at Xavier, what that piece of paper handed to me at graduation should have listed… faces of hope, of struggle, of courage of marginalization, of life. 
 

In the faces of the beautiful people hidden by a society that values profit before those hearts, I saw great wonders. These faces and these pieces of life journeys honestly shared are the most beautiful wonders a human being can witness in their lives.  I remember writing once in a paper on my philosophy on social justice I wrote,At a rally only a few weeks ago I heard a woman speak, ‘I’m ruined for life! Are you? When you witness injustice, it changes you, you can’t function in the world the way you did before bearing witness.’ Hearing her words was a strange feeling as it felt like they would have come out of my own mouth.  Seeing the children living in the small horseshoe-shaped home is a pain that forever changed me. My eyes see differently, my mouth tastes differently, my mind thinks differently, and my heart functions differently. Indeed, I have witnessed great wonders.  Now, in the gratitude I have for the faces that left their prints on my heart and for the stories that ruined me for life, I must take my next steps forward into the world Xavier introduced me to.  In reality, this is all I can do.  With the greatest gifts comes also great responsibility, no? Every wonderful person above that shared their lives with me gave me love and in return I give my voice to them.  To advocate for change is to bear witness to the hope, the struggle, the courage, the marginalization, the abundant life.  May their voices never be quieted while my voice can be heard by those around me.  I suppose this is the greatest and most invaluable lesson I could have learned in four years of Jesuit education.  Instead of “Bachelor of Science,” maybe my diploma should have said, “Katie. She has seen great wonders.” 

To read this blog in its entirety and to follow Katie’s journeys from rural Guatemala to her year as a Jesuit Volunteer to go http://katie-in-guatemala.blogspot.com/ to read more.
 
katiesKatie Scheidler is a recent graduate of the class of 2013.  While at Xavier, Katie spent most of her time studying biology, hanging out in the CFJ, and doing anything related to Guatemala. After graduation she quickly ripped the band-aid off and left the Cincinnati area (even though she misses it greatly) to work for the Appalachia Service Project in West Virginia.  After a summer attaining a pretty wicked farmer’s tan and hanging out on porches, Katie began her year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Austin, Texas.  This year Katie will be working at a shelter with immigrant women and their children experiencing homelessness.  If Katie can find her way out of this enormous state you might find her eventually wandering back toward her alma mater.