The Gift of a Dream

 

Juliet Govern, CSB 2004 

I saw Ireland because of Sister Kristin Malloy's gift.

Before enrolling at St. Ben's, I knew what I wanted out of my four year college career: to study abroad in Ireland and to double major in English and psychology. Those reasonable ambitions seemed unreasonable when my father, who had his own ambitions to see the emerald isle, passed away. Going into my sophomore year, I found that the financial and emotional obstacles of my college journey were like red flags saying GIVE UP, DO NOT CROSS, and TURN BACK. The roadblocks outnumbered any signs I saw that encouraged me to persevere.

Then, a nun I had never met and some other people I did not know thought for some reason I should be the one chosen to receive the Sister Kristin Malloy scholarship. I took the awarded gift as a sign that my ambitions were worth pursuing. To GIVE UP on a dream my father never had the opportunity to fulfill no longer seemed an option. Instead of DO NOT CROSS, I worked hard and crossed the ocean to study abroad in Ireland. I did not TURN BACK, but marched forward, treading the grassy slopes near Sligo where Yeats once ambled - loving every moment! I visited our Irish cousins Kathleen, Michael, Alice and Tommy. But this was no mere opportunity to study abroad and visit the land of my ancestors. It was as if my father, though gone, was brought back to life when I heard some of the same stories he had told me in my childhood. I saw the picturesque glen where my great-grandmother's family had lived in pre-British days and the bog they now farm in post-British times. This twenty-something's eyes sparkled with a six year old's mystical delight during the evenings when my cousin Michael told of the isle's enchanting fairies and queens.

I have always known that the Sister Kristin Malloy scholarship was a gift that contributed to the possibility of my reaching Ireland. More than that, it offered me a chance to share one last experience with my dad. But above all, the gift was an inspiration that restored my faith in myself. It was as if someone held up a sign saying BELIEVE and PROCEED, and for that I will be forever thankful.