President's Press: Planting Seeds
Before they begin to sprout, bamboo seeds require four long years of watering. In spite of the daily time and energy devoted to their care, no results are visible above ground. Below ground, however, and hidden from the gardener, is the deep root system that slowly takes shape. Once the bamboo shoots finally surface, this plant grows nearly two feet per day, up to 90 feet tall. Bamboo grows fast because its root system has had years to solidify, and it can then devote all of its energy to supporting growth above ground.
This story is a reminder of the importance of consistency and perseverance. Even if we don’t see the results we want right away, by staying consistent and persevering, our hard work will pay off one day. This story is reminiscent of our Capital Campaign. We started a feasibility study in 2018 to determine whether our community could support the effort. Armed with a solid “yes,” we began the campaign's silent phase in 2019, sharing our vision for an improved St. Pius X. Then, in March of 2020, COVID-19 hit, and we decided to suspend the campaign. In 2021, the campaign restarted, went public, and successfully reached the goal of 12 million dollars. Throughout all of the challenges, we stayed consistent and persevered. Fast forward to today, and we are faced with skyrocketing inflation and construction costs, resulting in a significant increase in funds needed to finish the campaign. I have watched my colleagues and our community work hard on this project, and I see their disappointment when costs continue to rise. However, my message to them is simple: we must continue to water the bamboo, and the results will follow. We are going to persevere.
“Planting seeds” is also at the forefront of our Catholic mission. We develop the whole child and strive to help each one into both college and heaven. As educators, we often don’t see the results of our work right away. But, if we consistently pour time and energy into our students and believe in them, we eventually will see them begin to sprout. Evidence of growth might come from seeing a freshman who struggles but then walks across the stage four years later as a proud St. Pius X graduate. It might come in the form of an email from a former student, thanking us for the impact of our class or his St. Pius education. Or, as I experienced last month, it might be witnessing that growth firsthand when seeing and talking with former students after Sunday Mass.
Perhaps Blessed Basil Moreau, a 19th century Priest and Theology Professor, described the concept of “planting seeds” best when he said, “The mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart. While we prepare useful citizens for society, we shall likewise do our utmost to prepare citizens for heaven.”