Sower’s Seed Lecture Series
In 2005, over ten years ago, the Sower’s Seed Lecture was established by Kelly Snider Dunn ’64 and her family to showcase the work of Trinity Washington University alumni who have contributed to the greater good of the world.
These speakers in their own unique ways have confronted issues of injustice and drawn on the values of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to guide and inspire them to plant these seeds of social change. All have shared their stories with students sitting in the classrooms where they themselves once sat. The seeds are sown one more time.
In the year of Pope Francis’ historical visit to the United States, we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Sower’s Seed program. Sr. Kathryn Webster, SNDdeN, ’74, spoke at the Sower’s Seed lecture in the Social Hall on October 22, 2015.
The first Sower’s Seed speaker, Marie Dennis ’64, shared her story in 2005. She talked about her work with the Maryknoll organization, and her years of advocacy for impoverished people. Hear her words to Trinity Washington University students:
- Open your heart; say yes; take some risks; cross borders; keep growing;
- Try to look at reality through the eyes of those who are poor, living on the margins of life, excluded.
How contemporary her words seemed, in 2015, in the wake of Pope Francis’ visit to our nation!
This lecture was made possible by The Sower’s Seed, a fund that was established by Kelly Snider Dunn, class of 1964, to support the vision that was instilled in her as a student at Trinity: a sense of commitment to serving God by responding to the problems and needs of the world.
What is the Sower’s Seed program?
In the tenth year of its growth, let us consider the significance of the program’s name, Sower’s Seed.
The phrase sower’s seed is biblically based, from Jesus’ Parable of the Sower:
“Listen! A sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no dept of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let any with ears listen!” Matthew 13: 3-9
Here are some questions to ponder:
What are the seeds that God has planted in my heart?
My gifts, my faith, my desire to serve, the special group I want to serve, and my passion—be it a love for philosophy, the sciences, the natural world, music, or art.
What are the seeds that God has given me to plant in the world around me?
The often-quoted words of Frederick Buechner, American writer and theologian, come to mind:
“Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”
During Sower’s Seed Week, in its tenth anniversary, we heard many people’s stories about the seeds they have sown. We heard Sr. Katy Webster’s story of her work for human rights and environmental justice in the Amazon Basin. We heard the stories of social justice advocates in our own community: Sr. Eucharia Madeuke, the Cunneen Fellows, and students volunteering in Washington, D.C. We heard the prophetic voices of Drs. Camilla Burns and Mary Johnson, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, who connected the words of Pope Francis’ book Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home to our own classrooms and daily lives.
As the Teller of parables says: “Listen! . . . Let any with ears listen!”
And may the many stories told this week continue to take root in the fertile minds of listeners and bear abundant fruit!
|October 2015: Sr. Kathryn Webster, SNDdeN, ’74. Sister Kathryn Webster ’74 entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1976 and has spent many years in Brazil working with a pastoral team visiting the communities, holding meetings, walking with the people in their struggle for land, security on the land, and preservation of the forests from the loggers, ranchers and mining companies.|
|March 2014: Larry Savoy, M.S.A. ’07, Principal of Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park, Maryland, is completing his twentieth year as a Catholic Educator spending the last seventeen years with the Archdiocese of Washington.|
|March 2013: Dr. Nicole V. Lang, M.D. ’89, board certified physician; a tireless advocate for literacy, children and the disabled; Assistant Professor of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, GWU School of Medicine; and Vice Chair, Trinity Board of Trustees.|
|February 2012: Philonda Johnson ’05, founding principal of the KIPP: DC (Knowledge is Power Program) Charter School organization’s first preschool and kindergarten, located in Southeast Washington, D.C.|
|April 2011: Veronica Nolan ’99, executive director of the Urban Alliance in D.C.|
|February 2009: Gloria Guard ’67, President of the People’s Emergency Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.|
|October 2008: Dr. Susan Widmayer ’68, Executive Director of Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.|
|September 2007: Amy Costello ’92, correspondent.|
|Sharon Charde ’64.|
|2005: Marie Dennis ’64, worked with the Maryknoll organization as advocate for impoverished people.|