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A Tribute to Marylhurst University
Reflections on Spiritual Traditions & Spiritual Care
Answer YOUR CALL! Follow Your bliss!

by Sylvan Simmons

In 1999, I am completing two major life goals that help to prepare me for my work in the world. This is my 50th year on the planet; I'll be 51 on September 18. Some religious traditions call this my Jubilee Year. Others might call me an elder, a wise woman, a crone, or an old woman. I feel as if I'm just getting started. I've spent the last 50 years preparing for the 21st century.

The skills, resources, spiritual guides and companions, and education I have received while completing the course work in The Masters of Interdisciplinary Studies (M.A.I.S.) with emphasis in Spiritual Traditions and Ethics gives me an academic framework for my spiritual journey. The experiential processes of the 3-year program in Pastoral and Spiritual Care have rocked my world and impacted my soul. I have a deeper understanding of how to effectively apply what I have learned through applied theological practices.

These are unique and inspiring programs. Students are encouraged to develop vision and covenant statements and to carry out the intention of what they set forth. The projects that evolve from these classes are dynamic and are changing lives. I am honored to be a companion of these inspiring, hard-working men and women. I came into these programs knowing that my dream did not fit into the mold of some of the more rigid programs in other universities. Internships, practicum, grant writing classes, research projects, and class discussions allowed me to develop the expertise I need to be considered as a professional in my field. Instructors and students encouraged me to follow my bliss. Classes and exercises helped me to develop my skills and talents and to create a reality that fulfills my dreams.

Today, doors are open to me that I never dreamed were possible. It appears that Spirit's plan for me is much bigger than the one I planned for myself. I am in awe and feel deeply blessed as I consider the directions, connections, and possibilities that my chosen vocation/avocation is offering. My Marylhurst experience has given me the credentials to be financially supported while I continue my work in the world. My academic knowledge gives me the confidence to go forward–one step at a time.

I was fearful that I was overly enamored with Marylhurst so I interviewed some of my spiritual companions.

I have not been dreaming. The experiences have been real and intense. I will carry memories and insights from these programs for the rest of my life. This program is ideal for anyone who is being called to work and play with Spirit. If Spirit is calling your name, listen up. Spiritual Tradition and Spiritual Care Courses offer tools for identifying core beliefs and values that are invaluable. I don't know of any other program that encourages this depth of reflection and self knowledge.

Marylhurst classes start in September. It's not too late to register. Students can still apply for financial aid. Creative financing can be arranged until grants or loans are received. It's possible to save money by completing these programs as a cooperative experience with a community college–the best of both worlds. Most older students can receive college credits for prior learning experiences and have credits even before attending classes. The process is much easier than one might think. If you are even slightly intriqued, give Cecilia Ranger, Chair of Religion and Philosophy, a call at 503-699-6305, or call me at 925-1141. Don't miss the opportunity to be the person Spirit imagined at the moment of your conception. Are you ready to answer your call?