“It's surreal, ” said Meredith Robinson ’23, of spending this semester at Chaminade University of Honolulu. “There are moments when the other UD students and I will stop and say, ‘Wow, we live here right now.’”
Sunny skies, the view of Diamond Head and a beach nearby may have something to do with that. But Robinson, who is majoring in human rights studies and sustainability, has found more than that. She has found Marianist hospitality.
“Father Marty even invited the exchange students to lunch with President [Lynn] Babington.” Father Marty is Martin Solma, S.M. ’71, former provincial of the U.S. Marianists and now at Chaminade as chaplain and special assistant to the president.
Marianists came to Hawaii in 1883, from that time on, Solma said, running “inclusive and forward-looking Catholic and Marianist schools, accepting students from all
ethnic backgrounds and bringing the Marianist style of wholistic, quality, faith-based
community-oriented and student-respecting education to the Hawaiian Islands.”
Solma guided Robinson, who has worked as student photographer for University of Dayton Magazine, as she photographed sites and objects at Chaminade related to Mary. Pictured here is “Our Lady of Chaminade.” An icon based on a Russian prototype, it portrays Mary dressed in cloth with images related to Hawaiian culture and spirituality. The leaves are those of the kukui nut tree, whose nuts were burned to provide light; Christ is the Light of the World. Another image is taro root, which can be made into bread; Christ is the Bread of the World.
“Picturing our Blessed Mother,” Solma said, “within a Hawaiian cultural setting reflects deeply Catholic instinct: the mystery of the Incarnation is a gift to everyone. ... Of particular importance here in Hawaii is Mary’s ‘warmth and welcome to God and to others.’”
The words Solma quoted are from the Society of Mary’s Rule of Life.