Do You Feel Lucky to Be at DePaul?

No words can express my gratitude for the many benefits and favors we constantly receive…

– Saint Vincent de Paul[1]

Recently, I enjoyed gathering with a group of newly arrived DePaul international students. Over lunch at the Student Center in Lincoln Park, we chatted about various things like their impressions of American food, the changeable weather in Chicago, and the best ways to get to the Loop Campus. I asked them what they planned to study, and they asked me about my role at the university. At a certain point in the conversation, I paused and then asked each of them what I hoped was not too personal a question: how do you feel about being at DePaul University? It seemed to me they took a moment before responding, but when they did, all gave the exact same answer. They felt lucky.

I don’t know what I expected them to answer, but I did not expect that. I then asked why they felt lucky, and a range of responses came pouring out: their residence hall rooms are beautiful; the people are so nice; all of their friends from home would like to study in the United States; and, they will have so many opportunities as a result of being here. As they shared their reasons, I could not help joining in their spirit and feeling excited for them.

That conversation has stayed with me. Especially the part about feeling lucky. Since that chat, I turned the tables and asked myself the very question I asked the students. How do I feel about being at DePaul? Do I, too, feel lucky to be here? Whatever responses I come up with usually resemble something like a math equation with variables and constants, factors and expressions, positives, and negatives. Yet the result is always the same. Yes, I do. I do feel lucky to be here.

I am conscious I have privileges others do not have. I am aware DePaul’s path has not been entirely smooth and more bumps surely lie ahead. I know that neither I, nor this place, are perfect.[2] I am also mindful that work must be done to build bridges between faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders so that DePaul will have a more just and sustainable future. But, overall, when I consider my job, the people who make up our community, and the mission and purpose of DePaul, I feel grateful. And, like those students, I feel something I might even call “lucky,” or hopeful, or maybe it’s simply faith in the future.

How do you feel about being at DePaul? What are things that make you feel grateful to be here? How might you be able to share these with others?


Reflection by: Tom Judge, Assistant Director and Chaplain, Faculty and Staff Engagement, Division of Mission and Ministry

[1] Letter 1787, “To Étienne Blatiron, Superior, in Genoa,” 23 October 1654, CCD, 5:205. Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/30/.

[2] As Vincent de Paul said, “Wherever we go, we always take ourselves and our imperfections with us.”Letter 2123, “To Brother Pierre Leclerc, in Agen,” 1656, CCD, 6:69. Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/31/.

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