St. Augustine viewed friendship and community as very close links. Both express the value of relationships and the ‘other’ as a place of encounter with God. Both demand a movement away from self and an honouring of the other. The role of friendship in his life shines through every phase of that life and he expresses eloquently his esteem for friendship with a deep fascination for that theme. “In all situations, in every place and time, one should have friends and seek them out” (De Ordine II, 8, 25). In fact, the aspects of friendship for St. Augustine are values needed in community, as well: agreement and accord, benevolence and mutual love.
Again, the friendship which draws human beings together in a tender bond is sweet to us because out of many minds it forges a unity (Conf. II, 5,10).
Last Saturday someone ran the line for our footy teams. Someone served drinks in the canteen and made sure there was sugar for the coffee. Someone stocked up the fridge not long after sunrise, and someone made sure there was gas for the barbecues. Someone cooked, cut up and served steak burgers. Last Saturday someone filled the team’s water bottles, and someone took care of the scoreboard and clock.
Someone brought the oranges, and someone washed the jerseys. Someone ensured there were referees, and someone refereed. Someone made visiting staff welcome. Someone brought green and gold balloons, and someone made a banner to run through. Someone soothed painful arms and iced suspect swellings. Someone mowed and marked ovals and put out welcome signs. Long after most had gone home, someone was there picking up strapping tape and taking down marquees.
Someone. Every home, every business, every institution and every event have its share of someones, and the sense of community and friendship in that place depends on those humble, silent hard-working someones. Someone puts up their hand. Someone gets involved. Someone does their little bit. Once I asked my boarders at a previous school to sit a ‘School Knowledge Test’ in order to graduate. The last question surprised them all: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the dorm?” A joke? One student reflected that he had seen the cleaning woman several times – she was tall, light-coloured hair and in her 50s. As to her name…? Just before the test concluded, a student asked if the last question would count towards the result. “Absolutely,” I stated. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. All deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” The cleaner’s name was Margaret.
Do you know the names of your someones? Do you thank them? Do you appreciate them? Last week demonstrated what the Villanova community is about. There were many events and people behind the scenes to make our community shine. We are blessed to have these people with us…so from all of us, ‘thank you!’
All members of the College community are welcome to attend the Mass for Deceased Villanovans on Sunday 8 September in Goold Hall. Mass will commence at 10am and conclude with light refreshments.
Mr Steven Bremner, Principal (Acting)