As is its tradition, and in solidarity with Jesuit schools worldwide, Bellarmine College Preparatory began the school year August 21 with the Mass of the Holy Spirit. Presided by Father Dick Cobb, S.J., of the Bellarmine Jesuit Community, the very personal Gospel reflection was delivered by the school’s principal, Kristina Luscher.
In her remarks, which included a welcome to members of the Class of 2022 as well as to all returning and transfer students, Mrs. Luscher addressed the school’s theme of gender for its annual Summit on Human Dignity, and shared how she has felt inadequate at various times in her life, including during her discernment leading to her becoming the first female principal of Bellarmine.
“For 160+ years, the principal at Bellarmine had always been a man, and so I couldn’t imagine myself in the role,” Mrs. Luscher told the students. “When I realized I was limiting my options simply because I was a woman, I wondered what other opportunities or experiences I had passed on because I felt inadequate.” She then challenged the students by asking, “what limitations have you placed on yourself”?
During the Mass of the Holy Spirit, the song “You Will Be Found,” from the musical Dear Evan Hansen, was performed during meditation by soloist, senior David DeRuiter, accompanied by the Bells Choir. Mrs. Luscher said that, “the song fills me with hope that when we find ourselves in those moments of doubt, regardless of our gender, those around us will help us to know our whole truth: that we are created by a God who carefully and thoughtfully created us and finds us worthy.”
The goals of the justice theme, coordinated by Bellarmine alumnus and faculty member Ben Sigrist, include: to describe how social institutions and power structures create gender expectations; identify subtle or invisible ways in which gender bias and sexism prevent respect for human dignity; engage in compassionate conversation around gender with peers who have different experiences and views; and to reflect on God’s call for justice and act accordingly to promote gender equity and inclusion.
Previous justice themes at Bellarmine have included poverty, human trafficking, sustainability, immigration, hunger, and race.