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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

Aging With Grace: Reflections Online

By John LeComte

University of Dayton alumni are part of a cohort sharing their experiences and challenges about growing in faith in a newly created online course available through the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF).

The new three week e-class, titled, Let this be the Time: Spiritual Essentials for Life’s Second Act, begins Oct. 10. 

The e-class is based on the book written by Sister Janet Schaeffler, O.P., an Adrian Dominican Sister.

Schaeffler has been facilitating online courses through the university’s VLCFF for more than a decade,  and draws on her own experiences of aging, as well as insights of many elders.

“The second half of life offers hundreds of opportunities for new meaning,” Schaeffler said. “I’m glad to provide help for people to think about spirituality and aging in a wholistic, healthy way.”

UD alumni were called to assist with the content of the online class. Creating videos using Zoom, alums spoke on various topics included in the book, sharing their own experiences and stories on the second phase of life. Video testimonials accompany each week of the course, providing more personal, reflective moments. 

  • Week 1: The Need to Live a Life of Meaning and to Navigate Change and Loss
  • Week 2: Our Need to be Grateful, to Forgive and to Give
  • Week 3: Our Need for Spiritual Integration and to Let Go

“The concept of letting go and moving forward in your life has really been a liberating aspect of this chapter of my life. The important stuff of the past becomes trinkets in our lives and our ambitions and pride falls short of the reality of what is important, and what is important at the moment.”

Cheryl C. Reichel, Ph.D., ’80,’86,’99 

“I have the gift of time for contemplation and reflection, and the frequency of formal and informal prayer has been dramatically increased as the responsibilities of employment no longer occupy my day. Time to read and reflect upon scripture in books concerning vocation, spirituality and the purposefulness of life. I have learned that God forgives me and I need to forgive myself for past decision and mistakes I continue to make.”  

Susan Ferguson, ’76, ’82

“I would describe my spirituality as a senior in three words: mature, personal, and hopeful.  From a hopeful perspective, I continue to pray that I've done enough to serve God and my fellow man, and that hopefully, will merit eternal life.   I am truly a Golden Flyer! 

Bill Clarke, MBA ‘59,’75

After my husband died, grief caught up with me and I realized that I had lost my life as I'd always known it.  For me, my life was over, I was finished.  The grief that I'd so carefully avoided actually followed me and had its way with me and grief tends to do that.  Much to my own surprise, I remarried and now appreciate the newness of life all over again.”

Toni Moore, Ph.D., ’68,’87,’99

Forgiveness in my later years is more about letting go of the failures that I've had or sometimes the falls that I've made, knowing that failure and suffering are actually a necessary part of our maturing process in life and growing closer to God.   Forgiveness for me is about setting myself and others free.  It’s so important as we age, to find peace in our life.  I know that God is a loving God and I know that God forgives us and I know that he forgives me.”

Dave Riley, MSEd, ’09

Participants taking the online course will hear more alumni excerpts as well as other video testimonials from various friends of the university. 

Participants will reflect on the realities of aging within a supportive community of learners.

To register, create a profile, then click on register next to the course, Let this be the Time. The cost is $40 for alumni and partnering dioceses, and HR pays for the course for UD faculty/staff. Deadline to register is Oct. 6.

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