Sister Linda Straub Receives Newman Award

Sister Linda Straub

 

Sister Linda Straub was awarded the Newman Award by the Catholic Student Center at Washington University at the CSC’s annual gala on Nov. 1. The Newman Award was created by the Catholic Student Center in 1999 as a way of recognizing those whose lives reflect the values of the CSC mission: to form moral and spiritual leaders in the Church and society who are active in parish life.

 

S. Linda came to the CSC in 2000 and served as a campus minister until she resigned last May to serve in province leadership. Among her responsibilities as a campus minister was her monthly gathering, “Spirituality and the Social Worker,” providing students in the School of Social Work the opportunity to discover a connection between their faith and their service profession.

 

Perhaps most significant was her annual journey with candidates through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). Every Tuesday evening, from fall to Easter, S. Linda and a team of committed community members shared the beliefs of Roman Catholicism with those desiring to join the Catholic community. Each year the journey came to its glorious celebration at the Easter Vigil, the highlight of the liturgical year, and of S. Linda’s year, too. As she has said, “To witness faith growing alive in each person, to experience a group of individual seekers, from teenagers to older adults, become a loving and vibrant community is, as the commercial says, ‘priceless.’ Such joy, such love, such celebration is beyond price.”

 

Time with S. Linda was “priceless” to those who sought her company at the CSC. Often they came for spiritual direction; or for counsel negotiating the challenges of young adulthood and living a life of faith; or for solace when facing the loss of a loved one; or for encouragement in facing the frequent academic challenges. Always, she met them with a smile and entered into conversation with a compassionate heart that knew no bounds. “I heard in my first week on the job, the CSC is a home away from home for our students,” S. Linda recounted. “That became true for me, too.”

 

The CSC’s mission to not only welcome, but to love every student who enters its doors, “Was what got me up in the morning,” S. Linda said, “and more importantly, got me out of the house on Sunday nights for 9 p.m. Mass, when I would rather be home getting ready for bed. I was never disappointed that I had made the choice to come, even on those dark winter nights.” She said the mission worked both ways: Besides loving the students, “I am loved unconditionally by students and community members and staff. And from the minute I entered the doorway, I felt happy to be here. Somehow, I got re-energized.”

 

S. Linda found a direct connection between her work at the CSC and the spirit and mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph: furthering a loving unity through the love of God and the dear neighbor without distinction. She said she saw it as an everyday occurrence at the CSC and felt stretched by her work to more faithfully live the essence of her religious community’s call.

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