Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Concepcion Medina was invited to speak on behalf of the undergraduates at the Green Bay Bellin College Graduation on Saturday, May 14, 2022. She herself graduated from the Bellin Nursing Program. Her speech follows below.
My name is Sister Concepción and I feel so privileged to be here with you today and to be able to give this speech.
James Allen said, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” I would like to extend a warm thank you to all of the family, friends, faculty, staff and all that are present here today. Throughout this College journey, you have been our rocks that have help to establish a firm foundation on which we can stand, and often pulled us back to reality from the rabbit hole of studying. You have been our shoulders to cry on, and we did cry, and when we cried a little too much, with all the love in the world and in a variety of ways you told us to get up, stop crying, and keep moving forward. And today you are here to celebrate and rejoice with us. We could not be who we are today without you. Thank you.
To my fellow graduates, thank you for choosing to care. We live in a world that says caring for or about someone else is unnecessary and a huge inconvenience, but in reality, caring is our greatest strength. Hellen Keller said, “Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” We were not meant to exist on our own, alone and separate from each other. We are all part of a greater whole. Every person is necessary and important just like every puzzle piece is needed to complete an image. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others all brought forth change in the world because they cared so deeply. Mother Theresa said, “The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.” Finding joy in the profession of serving others and accompanying them through whatever it is they may be going through is a true gift. It is a gift that is not only received but given as well. Finding joy in what we do makes all the difference in the world. Whether we are nurses, sonographers, or radiographers we all have the power to help someone along the way. We can all comfort someone, listen to them, and let them know we care. Each one of us plays an integral role in the healing process. I know that this graduating class will put the ‘care’ back into healthcare and that you will change the world even if it is one person at a time.
The day that we have been waiting for, probably since the day that we began our college journey, has finally come to fruition. Some of us have had countdowns leading up to this day, and if any of you are like me, this is the day that you have avoiding thinking about because though it is a day of celebration, it is also a day of good-byes. Something that I just haven’t been quite ready for. During these years, we have created strong and meaningful bonds that will last a lifetime. There is something about having a shared experience of suffering that truly connects you to another (If no laughter say: If you didn’t laugh at that last part, it was meant to be humorous… I suppose that is why my mom told me to never quit my day job.)
We are all here because we have put and immense amount of work in to these last several years, and that work will show itself as we begin working as graduates of the Bellin College Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program, the Radiologic Science Program, or the Nursing Program. As we go forth, we not only represent ourselves but also everyone in this room and more. This may feel like quite the feat at this moment but you are not alone in this task. We are all in this together. Mother Theresa also said, “not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” and a good friend of mine, Frances of Assisi says, “start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and soon you will be doing the impossible.” My fellow graduates, if you hold true to the values of excellence, caring, integrity, and community that Bellin College has bestowed upon us, the world of what is possible is limitless. I am so excited for you and for all of the good that you will do in the world, and I am honored to be among you. Congratulations graduating class of 2022, you did it!