More than just assignments, exams and career preparedness; university is also a time of personal growth and self-reflection. “At some point in their educational lifespan, many students find themselves searching for a higher purpose, existential meaning and a sense of belonging,” said Adele Huculak, Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Chair and Roman Catholic representative.
The Chaplaincy offers a spiritual and religious support system for TRU’s diverse community. Whatever spiritual needs require tending, representatives from Alliance, Ahmmadiya Islam, Baptist, Centre for Spiritual Living, Lutheran Christian, Unitarian Universalist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Roman Catholic are available throughout the year.
In times of concern, conflict or crisis, the Chaplaincy provides encouragement, guidance and resources through the power of companionship, prayer, study and service. The Chaplaincy also collaborates with the Counselling Department, Wellness Centre and other Student Service providers. They provide a valuable connection with local and regional faith communities and events hosted off campus, and offer opportunities to celebrate holy days and commemorative occasions.
“People want to be valued, validated—but not evaluated. They need to be recognized individually. I want staff and students to know that they are seen,” Adele said. “I often start my day by standing in the hallway, saying hello and smiling at passersby—that’s my way of saying ‘I see you, I acknowledge you.’”
In regards to the media-based anxiety and day-to-day stresses, it is possible to be swept away by negativity. Without grounding friendships or spiritual guidance connections, there is potential to feel lost on a much deeper level. “Surface connections are happening, but we often lack a deep and honest connection with others,” Adele remarked.
Instead of seeing the world as a dangerous and lonely place, “We need to focus on the ‘can’—what we can change, and the change needs to happen here,” Adele said, pointing to her heart.
“Students can experience challenges in a number of ways. If they require a spiritual connectedness, we can help with that. Coming together as a community, finding your place within that collective, helps you find your way back to spiritual wholeness,” Adele said.
For those wanting to connect with the religious community, Adele stated that the Chaplaincy helps students feel better connected, more present and allows them to feel that they are “being of service to others.”
Students can often lose their sense of spiritual connectedness if they are separated from their family ties, have moved away from their local church, or have become overwhelmed by their academic responsibilities. On the other hand, students might want to explore a new faction of spirituality once in their new academic environment. Guidance, support and a religious community are within reach, nestled in the heart of Old Main.