Students Reflect on the Education of the Heart

Author: Jeremy Dela Cruz

Regina enjoys spending time with the women of her hall

During his seminary days, Bl. Basile Moreau, C.S.C., dreamed of serving as a missionary in distant lands. He struggled to balance his youthful zeal with the discernment of his vocation. Fr. Moreau was fortunate to have been guided under the spiritual direction of Rev. Gabriel-Étienne Mollevaut, P.S.S., who advised him to remain in his pursuit of the diocesan priesthood. After decades of reflecting upon God’s will and the needs of the Church, Fr. Moreau would establish a religious community of priests, brothers, and sisters dedicated to spreading the hope of the Cross. These men and women are today known as educators in the faith, consecrated to the holistic formation of students. 
“To educate the heart, as compliment and necessary accompaniment to educating the mind, means to make sure that students learn what knowledge is for; or, even better, to discover whom is it for,” Rev. Jarrod Waugh ‘08, C.S.C., said. “We hope that the information and skills you learn in the classroom are put into practice by a heart attuned to the needs of others.” Within the Holy Cross Vocations Office, Fr. Waugh helps young men with their discernment to religious life. He believes that Notre Dame seeks to address both the spiritual and intellectual needs of students. “That should make a Holy Cross education more than just learning, but rather a formation for a more integrated and generous life.”
Fr. Moreau advised his Congregation’s teachers that they would “always place education side by side with instruction; the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart.” Notre Dame continues the Holy Cross Founder’s vision of facilitating character growth in its student body in addition to academic success. In light of their personal interpretation of the phrase, several students shared how they have experienced the “education of the heart” during their time under the Golden Dome. 
“I feel like educating the heart comes from feeling passionate and engaged in an issue and truly letting that flourish as you are teaching,” Chizoma Ekechukwu, a junior Neuroscience and Behavior major, said. “On the receiving end, education of the heart comes from being vulnerable and open to engaging in the deepest form of learning.” 
As a member of Shades of Ebony, Chizo volunteers to be a mentor for girls in South Bend. She likes to engage them in reflective discussions about their hardships and successes in order to develop a more intimate understanding of who they are as individuals. “They are open with us and we allow ourselves to truly be vulnerable and also guide them.”
Chizo has been selected to be the President-elect of the Diversity Council, an organization that provides a cultural platform for ethnic clubs to coordinate events. She intends to facilitate profound dialogue regarding issues of inclusion on campus in order to construct a more welcoming environment.
Junior Science Business major Regina Engel finds the education of the heart  in the close-knit residence hall communities. She helps Howard Hall as the Social Media Commissioner and incoming Athletic Commissioner. As the goalie for the women's hockey team, she has also enjoyed participating in the group atmosphere of campus athletics. 
"I have experienced the education of the heart at Notre Dame predominantly in my dorm, Howard, where I’ve grown and matured and have begun to understand who I am and what my place is in the world," Regina said. "My interactions with other Howard girls, Hall Staff, and members of the Notre Dame community visiting Howard for one reason or another have shaped my life and have given me opportunities to reflect about myself and how I relate to others."
Senior Marco Cerritelli, a Philosophy and Theology student, considers the education of the heart at Notre Dame to be a manifestation of the University’s Catholic character. “Notre Dame's theology courses teach me to know God and challenge me to love Him more,” he said. “All of academic education should have this in its aim.”
Marco plans to serve as a missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, a faith group which caters to the spiritual needs of college students. FOCUS missionaries empower individuals to undergo ongoing vocational discernment. “To educate the heart is to form ourselves for love of God and neighbor.”