Santa Clara Mag Blog

Santa Clara Magazine's blog, updated whenever the writing goblin visits the editorial staff of the magazine.

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  •  Celebrating La Virgen

    Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011


    Santa Clara and the Sacred Heart Parish commemorate the vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a 15-year tradition—and a four-year scholarship.


    Photo by Charles Barry

    The sounding of the caracol (conch) echoed through Mission Santa Clara de Asís on December 4. Then came drums, singing, and ancient Aztec step dancing. The joyous occasion: La Virgen Del Tepeyac, celebrating the miraculous apparitions of La Virgen de Guadalupe to Juan Diego, a Christian Indian, on the Tepeyac hill in Mexico City in 1531.

    This year marks the 15th annual presentation of La Virgen in the Mission Church. The event is a collaboration of the University and Sacred Heart Parish. Performed in the Flor y Canto (Flower and Song) Nahuatl tradition, the celebration featured the Aztec dance group Danza Yoloxochitl with narration, colorful cultural costumes, and music: drums and guitars, violins and flute.

    Building bridges

    Ana Maria Pineda, RSM, an associate professor of religious studies at SCU, helps organize the public presentation each year. She arrived at Santa Clara University in 1997 to teach Hispanic Spirituality: Guadalupe—the country’s only course dedicated to studying La Virgen and her significance in history, popular religion, and current events—including immigration issues—as well as the daily lives of those who seek her comfort. La Virgen Del Tepeyac offers a two-way bridge to the underserved communities beyond SCU, venerating an icon central to many Latinos lives and identities, offering dignity, unity, strength, and hope.

    While a student, María Del Socorro Castañeda-Liles ’98 was a member of Sacred Heart Parish. Her devotion to la Virgen inspired her to create a partnership between SCU and Sacred Heart. At the parish, she participated in El Teatro Corazón, made up of parish members. The parish had already been performing the Juan Diego account for nearly two decades. Castañeda-Liles helped persuade SCU’s Campus Ministry that the reenactment is a form of popular religious prayer, not simply theatre, and that it would be fitting to host the celebration in the Mission. Parish members joined with Pineda’s students with the help of Pia Moriarty, then director of Eastside Project (known today as Arrupe Partnerships for Community-based Learning), for the first celebration of La Virgen in the Mission Church in 1997. Since then, Castañeda-Liles has continued her involvement with SCU in another important way: She is an assistant professor of religious studies.

    Santa Clara alumni are also strong supporters of the event. José A. Cabrales ’00, who serves as president of the Chicano/Latino Alumni Chapter, underscores that the celebration has become an important SCU tradition, binding the community and generations.

    In addition to the many who come to the celebration each year, Pineda has had more than 500 students in her Hispanic Spirituality course. The reenactment helps non-Latino students and those of other faiths come to a greater appreciation of culture and religious traditions beyond their own, she says. And it is an important part of reflecting on their own religious beliefs and how education has brought them opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise. As La Virgen’s apparitions to Juan Diego symbolize her embrace of all, so does the presentation symbolize SCU’s connection with the community beyond its campus.

    Students, scholars, and alumni

    Preceding the celebration on Dec. 4 was another tradition: the awarding of the San Juan Diego Scholarship. It recognizes Sacred Heart students who are committed to the parish, youth leadership, and the Latino community. This year the scholarship was presented to Araceli Guiterrez, who plans to enter SCU in 2012 as a freshman. Thirteen students have received the scholarship over the years, including some who were the first in their families to attend college.

    It was the celebration itself that inspired the scholarship: Touched by the first performance in the Mission Church in 1997, Stephen Privett, S.J., then provost and vice president for academic affairs at SCU and now president of the University of San Francisco, awarded two scholarships to Sacred Heart students. The scholarship was later formally established by President Paul Locatelli, S.J. ’60.

    —Monique Marie DeJong ’06


  •  On Campus: Poetry triple-header Nov. 2

    Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011

    The Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., Reading Series serves up a winsome threesome for the fall poetry reading: Santa Clara's own Kirk Glaser, Claudia Monpere McIsaac, and Chancellor William Rewak, S.J.


    WHERE: Fess Parker Studio Theatre

    WHEN: Wed., Nov. 2 — 4 p.m.

    WHO: Well, there's...


    Kirk Glaser. He's taught writing and literature at Santa Clara for over 15 years and serves as faculty advisor to The Santa Clara Review. His work has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and he has received an American Academy of Poets prize, C. H. Jones National Poetry Prize, and University of California Poet Laureate Award. His poetry can be found in The Threepenny Review, Cerise Press, Alsop Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, as well as the The Cortland Review.



    Claudia Monpere McIsaac. She's taught at Santa Clara for 25 years, and her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Prairia Schooner, Ecotone, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere.


    William Rewak, S.J. Known as Santa Clara's poet-president, Fr. Rewak led the University 1976–88 and returned to Santa Clara as Chancellor this summer, after having served as President of Spring Hill College, director of the Jesuit Retreat House in Los Altos, and professor of poetry at Loyola Marymount University. Read more about Fr. Rewak in the Fall issue of the Santa Clara Magazine. And read his poems Abundance and Modern Warfare in America magazine.


    Also know: We here at the mag like good writing. And it just so happens that Fr. Rewak founded Santa Clara Magazine 30 years ago, in autumn 1981.


    Share the news: A PDF flyer about the poetry reading is available here for downloading, printing out, pasting up, handing forth.


    Who's responsible? The reading is sponsored by the SCU Department of English and the Creative Writing Program.

    —Jon Teel



  •  On Campus: The Economics of Good and Evil -- Oct. 19

    Monday, Oct. 17, 2011

    Economist Tomas Sedlacek has shaken the study of economics as few have. How? By arguing a simple, almost heretical proposition: Economics is woven of history, myth, religion, and ethics—and ultimately it's about good and evil. In making his argument, Sedlacek ranges from the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Old Testament to Adam Smith, Fight Club, and The Matrix.

    Sedlacek served as an economic advisor to Czech President Vaclav Havel, is a member of the Czech National Economic Council, and lectures at Charles University in Prague. He's been invited to speak to the World Bank and the House of Commons on taking economics out of a purely mathematical realm and putting it back into a human one. His book, Economics of Good and Evil, has been a best seller in the Czech Republic, was adapted for the stage—and now is out in an English language edition from Oxford University Press. This will be his only lecture in Silicon Valley.

    The lecture is sponsored by the Civil Society Institute of Santa Clara University. It's free and open to the public. A PDF flyer is available here.

    Wed., Oct. 19
    7-8:30 p.m.
    Daly Science 207

    The talk is sure to be wide-ranging, energetic, and engaging. Don't speak Czech? No worries, the talk will be in English. And you can check out Sedlacek (in English) on YouTube here.


    Steven Boyd Saum

  •  On Campus: 192 movements and a musical journey across the world

    Friday, Oct. 29, 2010

    When a piece of music has 192 movements and takes three years to record, it's premiere is going to take a special form, too. And here it is: SCU Associate Professor of Music and pianist Teresa McCollough premiered composer Steve Heitzeg’s World Piece Music. Recorded at SCU over the course of three years, this composition comprises 192 movements, each with its own set of musical chords and artisitic representations. You can find the premiere on YouTube.

    Each of the 192 movements represents a nation, telling of the ecological and political issues of that country.

    McCollough's goal is to send a moving musical cry for world peace.

    Unlike other live premieres, this one takes place online for the user to journey at their own pace. The movements range from a few, short chords, like the Solomon Islands (156), to a more lengthy string of notes, such as Bangladesh (14).

    You can find more information on this project on the World Piece for Solo Piano page.


    Teresa McCollough showcases 192 movements dedicated to world peace

    Teresa McCollough, professor of music at SCU and pianist


    Lindsey Nguyen '13, editorial intern, SCU Stories

  •  On campus: National security and ... motorcycles in Kenna Hall?

    Monday, Oct. 11, 2010
    It was a full house at the Mayer Theatre on Friday evening when Leon Panetta ’60, J.D ’63, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, kicked off the fifth annual President’s Speaker Series as part of the Grand Reunion celebrations on the Mission campus.
    “It's hard to believe that I am celebrating my 50th graduation anniversary,” said the CIA chief. “I made some special friends at Santa Clara and we did some crazy things.” Those included motorcycles on the first floor of Kenna Hall and “infamous” dances in San Francisco. (How infamous? He wondered if his classmates were still barred from the Palace Hotel.) “It was a special time.”
    In his reminiscences, Panetta also fondly remembered a very special friend in Paul Locatelli, S.J., ’60, former University president and chancellor who passed away in July.
    “He made Santa Clara what it is today,” said Panetta of his classmate. “He truly embodied the Jesuit ideals of academic excellence and public service. We have lost a friend but gained a saint.”
    As he addressed his fellow classmates, SCU faculty, students, and staff, Panetta took everyone down memory lane. “Few of us could have imagined the events that would engulf us as we graduated from this university,” he said.
    Among the highlights: the election and assassination of John F. Kennedy, Dr. King’s marches, the Vietnam war, the tragic death of another Kennedy, Dr. King’s murder, the various movements – civil rights, women’s rights, environmental rights, Watergate, 9/11, Katrina, the gulf oil spill, two wars, and a recession.
    “From Beatles to Bono, from typewriters to computers, from the telephone to the iPhone, from facts to Facebook … we have seen a lot of change,” he said. “ Yet, America has survived.”
    As he expounded on the various ways the world has changed, Panetta shared the four key areas that inform the Central Intelligence Agency’s operations: counter terrorism, counter proliferation, cyber security, and global responsibility.
    “We know that terrorists will come at us any way they can,” he said. “Good intelligence is more vital than ever. We have to know many different languages and we have to have diversity in our agency. Our technology has to be on the cutting edge, we have to be ahead of our adversaries, and we have to be agile.”
    But, he stressed, given all of these challenges in a fast-changing, cyber-aware world one must not compromise on the values that this nation stands for.
    “We have to protect our people, gather intelligence, and conduct all operations in a way that upholds our laws,” he said.
    It’s no easy task leading the charge of the country’s premier intelligence agency … for Panetta, the beliefs and principles he formed as a student at Santa Clara have been a guiding force.
    “I am grateful for the education I received here,” he said. “The Jesuits not only gave me knowledge, they gave me an understanding of life. I learned that you have to question … and you have to have a willingness to fight for what you believe in.”
    There’s lots more; watch the full video of Panetta’s talk on campus.
    Mansi Bhatia
    University Writer/Editor