“May you be forever a beautiful tree of life bringing forth fruits of love.”
Summer is here! Officially. Finally. Though technically summer begins and ends at the same time every year as our planet circles the sun, the spirit of summer can sometime come earlier or later. What marks the beginning of summer for you personally? Is it when the chilly, fresh mornings of spring turn to hot, humid afternoons as you look for cool shelter under leafy trees (or in air conditioning)? Or is it when the days stretch longer and longer, and the sun lingers well past the time it would normally set, creating glowing evenings of fireflies and laughter with friends?
What does summer mean to you? Is it a time of rest and recovery, of slowed-down days in the shade, where your mind can wander, imagine, and create? Or is it a time of hustle and bustle? Do you try to fit in everything you wanted to do throughout the year but didn’t have the time for? Do you try to squeeze every last drop of fun and work from the long sunny days? Maybe a little of both?
Here at DePaul, what marks the beginning of summer for you professionally? For faculty, is it when the last final is submitted and graded? For students, is it when you leave campus, either going home, or to summer jobs, or graduating, going off into the world to chart your future? For staff, is it when all the dreaded financial bureaucracy is wrapped up in BlueSky, when annual reports are polished and published, when the programming for the year is concluded? Whatever the case, summer feels both like an ending and a beginning—a chapter (or book!) is concluded, and the next starts fresh with a new page.
As campus becomes quiet again without the constant buzz of students, the vast, open horizon of sun-soaked days stretches ahead. We’ve just finished a marathon of a year, filled with stress, grief, and exhaustion. Many of us have been looking forward to the relief that summer provides. Others seek time to assess and clean up unfinished business while looking ahead. That is the beauty of summer. It provides the space for closure and recovery, and that clearing brings an opportunity to sow seeds for the future. As we draft our ambitious lists of summer projects and begin to envision and implement plans for next fall, let’s lean into that spirit of summer. We can approach our work with hope, knowing that the seeds we plant during this time can grow, in Vincent’s words, into “beautiful tree[s] of life bringing forth fruits of love” to benefit the whole community.
Reflection by: Alex Perry, Program Manager, Division of Mission and Ministry
 Letter 27, “To Saint Louise,” [believed to be July 30, 1628], CCD, 1:46. Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/vincentian_ebooks/25/.