A Cultivation of the Heart

Author: Rosemary Kopec

“We shall always place education side by side with instruction; the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart.” – Blessed Basil Moreau

As I prepare to retire at the end of June, I have been thinking a great deal about my time at Notre Dame. While Father Moreau’s words, “the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart,” are certainly meant to speak to our mission and the education our students receive, I have found them to be equally true of the education I have received from the many students and colleagues who have shaped my journey as a Student Affairs professional.

I can truly say I have been changed by the many experiences I have received and the people I have met. I am often reminded of Paul Reynolds who served for 26 years as a career counselor at Notre Dame. Paul taught me the power of listening: whether you were a student, colleague, friend, or stranger, he seemed to always put that person before himself and truly listen. He used to say, “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” His ability to listen impacted so many students who worked with him, but it also changed the way I approached my work.

My heart has also been changed by the many students I have supported and taught over the years.  There is Colleen, who even in the midst of her post-graduation years of service would make time in her schedule to call me and send cards of encouragement while I was undergoing treatment for cancer. There is John, who even after enduring an unimaginable family tragedy found a way to share his faith and love with others. His spirit, huge heart, and relentless positivity and joy have changed me, perhaps in more ways than I ever changed him.

My journey in Student Affairs has truly been a “cultivation of the heart.” My colleagues and I have accompanied each other through death and childbirth, illness and retirement. Some of us have even traveled together to LeMans, France, where the Congregation of Holy Cross was founded and Basil Moreau was laid to rest. All of these experiences, and countless others, have changed me and shaped my heart. My time in Student Affairs and working alongside Holy Cross has given me great opportunities to share the gifts of my mind and formed my heart in ways that I will be forever grateful.

- Rosemary Kopec, Assistant Director, Undergraduate Career Services, Center for Career Development