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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

Never underestimate the power of a smile

By Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski, D.Min, MHSH

As UD students return to classes this week, and I witness faculty, staff and friends help with “move in," I am reminded how much we need acts of kindness in our daily lives.

Showing kindness seems more important now, more than ever. Our words and actions give a level of joy to each person we encounter.

Friendliness and hospitality are genuine expressions of who we are as a Catholic, Marianist university. Each and every person; whether student, staff, faculty or administrator is called to radiate this charism.

A tell-tale sign of the health of an individual, a community or a nation is how they treat the very old and very young, the most vulnerable in any society. 

The psalmist tells us our God is kind and merciful. Made in the image and likeness of that God, we too are called to show mercy to others and to do acts of kindness for them whether through almsgiving, words of encouragement, heartfelt gestures of caring or deep listening. We say to others they are important and that they are treasured.

When a flower is hit with a cold snap, everything shuts down. By contrast, with warm, gracious weather, flowers open up and share their beauty with others.

Such is the power and the glory of kindness.

Mark Twain has said, “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

We must never underestimate the power of a smile, a gentle word, an invitation to belong.  

Kindness is an essential characteristic for forming our Marianist family spirit within our academic community.

Sister Angela Ann is the Director of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives and the VLCFF online, which offers three ($40) and five ($50) week classes year-round. Go to to create a profile and register.

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