A Newsletter for the Viterbo University Community
Vol. 15, No. 18 February 11, 2002

Noted Merton Scholar to Speak at Viterbo
Thomas Merton’s writings about faith and his personal journey of discovery continue to inspire individuals more than 30 years after his death.

Just what is it about the teachings of this American writer and Trappist monk that still resonate with people today? Find out when Merton scholar and author Jonathan Montaldo discusses “The Spirituality of Thomas Merton” at 7:30 p.m. in the San Damiano Chapel at Viterbo University on Friday, Feb. 22. Through Merton’s journals, Montaldo will explore Merton’s personal sense of diminishment and spiritual poverty that turned into universal compassion.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, Montaldo will also lead a Merton Retreat for area Catholic workers. The retreat, held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Viterbo’s San Damiano Chapel, will provide a spiritual context for contemplative social action. Through presentations, prayer, and discussion, the retreat will focus on “His Neighbor’s Voice: Merton Listening to God and the Church” in the morning, while the afternoon will concentrate on “Awakening to Kindness in Sorrow’s Face.” A light lunch will be served and Earl Madary, a religious studies professor at Viterbo, will provide musical interludes throughout the day. In addition, Madary, along with Berendes and fellow religious studies professor Tom Thibodeau, will present “Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day: The Marriage of Contemplation and Action, A Call to Radical Hospitality." This talk will also be presented by the three at the fourth general meeting of the Thomas Merton Society in England this April.

After leaving a promising literary career in New York to become a monk with Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Trappist, Ky., Merton (1915?1968) dedicated his life to sharing his poetry, letters, journals, and his thoughts on peace, social justice, and ecumenism. The author of more than 70 books, Merton penned New Seeds of Contemplation, No Man is an Island, Courage for Truth, Dancing in the Water of Life, and The Seven Storey Mountain, which remains in print after more than 50 years.
Montaldo received his undergraduate degree in English from Louisiana State University and his master’s in theology and literature from the Institute of the Liberal Arts at Emory University. He is the editor of Entering the Silence (volume 2 of the Merton Journals) and co-editor of The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals , which is being  translated into Spanish, Portugese, German, French, Italian, Korean, Polish, Chinese, and Swedish.  He recently published Dialogues with Silence: Thomas Merton’s Prayers & Drawings.

From 1998?2001, he served as the director of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, the official repository of Merton’s legacy, and was resident secretary for the International Thomas Merton Society. He was elected the Society’s president for 2001?03. A national speaker, he delivered an address on Merton at the Parliament of World Religions in Cape Town, South Africa. His 2000?01 retreat schedule took him to British Columbia, California, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Illinois.

“The Spirituality of Thomas Merton” is part of the St. Rose Lecture Series at Viterbo University. It is free and open to the public but a goodwill offering will be accepted at the event. For more information on the lecture, contact Tom Thibodeau at ext. 3705 or email tathibodeau.

The Merton Retreat is also free and is open to those desiring to work for social change based on Catholic social teachings. A goodwill offering will be accepted at the event. For more information on the Merton Retreat, contact Richard Berendes at 791-9447, or Earl Madary at ext. 3407 or ejmadary.

The Giver Author to Appear Here April 12
Two-time Newbery Medal award-winning author Lois Lowry will be on campus to discuss The Giver, her best-selling science fiction/fantasy novel—a favorite among young adult readers.

Her presentation is set for 7 p.m. in the FAC Main Theatre. Free tickets can be obtained from the MC switchboard beginning Feb. 19.

Lowry also won the Newbery (given annually for the most distinguished contribution to literature for children)  for her novel Number the Stars (1990).  Author of 27 books, Lowry has received many other honors: The Golden Kite Award (1987), The Regina Medal (1994), the Belgiam and French Le Tam-Tam Award (1995) and the National Jewish Book Award (1990).
The Giver, written in 1994, is often an assigned reading in schools because of its well-crafted story line and underlying messages which prompt considerable discussion. In a future utopian society, the Giver is the only person who holds all the stories and images of the past. In this so-called perfect world, everything is done for its citizens and imperfection is unacceptable. Babies who are damaged at birth are destroyed; the elderly and infirmed face a similar fate. Other powerful themes provoke discussion.

Lowry’s appearance at Viterbo is courtesy of the Wisconsin Humanities Council with additional support from the Viterbo bookstore, the La Crosse Library, and the Midwest Wisconsin Reading Council.

A book signing will follow her talk.

Nominate Your Colleagues
Recognize the good work and dedication of faculty, staff, and administration by nominating them for an award. It only takes a few minutes of your time but the rewards are great.

The possibilities include:
• Teacher of the Year (recognizing individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students).
• Alec Chiu (to recognize, foster, and stimulate faculty members’ efforts to engage students in scholarly activities).
• Outstanding Academic Advisor (to recognize, foster, and stimulate teaching excellence at Viterbo).
• Finucan Exemplar of Mission (students, faculty, staff, administrators, board members, or someone who has been closely associated with Viterbo University as an employee, benefactor, or friend).
• Sr. Helen Elsbernd Distinguished Service Award (faculty, staff, and administrators).
• Pax et Bonum (to a team, group, office, department, committee, or organization in recognition of demonstrating the Franciscan values to their colleagues and students at Viterbo).
• Servant Leader (for faculty, staff, and administrators in recognition of demonstrable servant-leader qualities and characteristics in interpersonal relationships, performance, and achievement).
Nominations are due by Friday, March 8. To find out more information or to nominate someone:
• Go to and click on “Academics,” and click “Awards” under the miscellaneous category.
• Follow this link:
• Pick up forms for the Sr. Elsbernd, Fr. Finucan, Pax et Bonum, and Servant Leader awards from the Office of the President.
• Pick up Teacher of the Year, Alec Chiu, and Outstanding Advisor forms from the Academic Vice President.

Think Spring & Make a Difference!
Did you know that more than two million people in the U.S. will find out this year that they have cancer?  The daffodil is the American Cancer Society’s symbol of hope that cancer will be beaten.

Join the American Cancer Society in fighting cancer by supporting Daffodil Days. A bunch is just $6 or for a donation of $15, you can purchase the “Gift of Hope”—a bouquet of daffodils in a vase that will be delivered anonymously to a cancer patient. So get rid of those winter blahs, get ready for spring, and spread a little cheer by ordering your daffodils today! Call Beth Erickson at ext. 3042 or email bmerickson for details.  Order deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 20. Together we can all make a difference fighting cancer.

Support the Girl Choir
By Heidi Blanke, Business

Do you like Coca-Cola products? The La Crosse Girl Choir is offering 20-ounce bottles at 75 cents each when you buy a case of 24. The sale includes Coke Classic, Diet Coke, caffeine-free Diet Coke, Diet Coke with lemon, Sprite, Diet Sprite, Cherry Coke, Mellow Yellow, Lemonade, Dasani water, Barq’s root beer, Minute Maid orange, Fresca, Grape, and Nestea. Pick up is March 2, 9 a.m.?noon in the FAC parking lot. Seven dollars from each sale benefits the choir. Call Heidi Blanke at 796-0771 or email hgblanke.

Get Your Cookie Bouquet—Today!
Show your loved ones and friends how much you care this Valentine’s Day with a cookie bouquet from the Student Dietetics Association.

Each bouquet contains six homemade, extra-large cookies, each with red, white, or pink frosting. The bouquets will be wrapped in plastic, just like real flowers, tied with a bow, and topped off with a card. The cost is $7 each. To order, send your name and the quanitity of bouquets needed to Orders must be in today (Feb. 11) by 3 p.m. They can be picked up on Thursday, Feb. 14 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in BNC 106.

For Sale: New, Panasonic 1,000-watt microwave oven. Used two months only. $100 new. Will sell for $75. Call ext. 3060.

Dr. Scholl is Feb. 22
Viterbo University is holding the 19th annual Dr. Scholl Scholarship Competition on Friday, Feb. 22, from 8:30 a.m.?5 p.m. Please extend a warm Viterbo welcome to the students and parents attending this event.

Open to high school seniors interested in a career in the health sciences, the Dr. Scholl Scholarship is given to one student who excels in testing and personal interviews. The winning student receives a four-year scholarship to Viterbo.

The 25 qualifying students and their parents will also learn about Viterbo and La Crosse through tours and presentations. The day’s events will take place in the FAC Lobby and Robers Conference Room. The awards ceremony will be in the FAC Recital Hall at 5 p.m. The annual competition highlights Viterbo University’s biology, chemistry, nursing, and dietetics departments.

Award-winning Local Novelist to Discuss 9-11 Narratives
Winona novelist Emilio DeGrazia will be on the Viterbo University Campus on Wednesday, Feb. 27, to talk about his craft and to discuss internal and artistic narratives in the wake of Sept. 11.

While on campus, De Grazia’s presentations include:
• “The Art and Craft of Fiction,” at 2:10 p.m. in BNC 122. During this talk, he will also read excerpts from his book of short stories, Seventeen Grams of Soul.
• “9?11:  Terror and Pity,” at     7:30 p.m. in the FAC Recital Hall. A reception and book signing follows.
Emilio DeGrazia is the author of two novels: Canticle for Bread and Stones and Billy Brazil, and the short story collections Enemy Country and Seventeen Grams of Soul.  His work has earned him the Minnesota Voices Award and the Minnesota Book Award.

DeGrazia lives with his wife and children in Winona, Minn., where he is a professor of English at Winona State University.

This event is sponsored by Touchstone, and the Viterbo Student Government Association.  For more information contact Bill Stobb at ext. 3486 or westobb.

campus ministry
By Fr. Tom O’Neill

ASHES TO EASTER, Lent 2002, Feb. 13-Ash Wednesday:
Fast from food.  Repent from your sins.  That is what the prophet Joel tells us.

“On Ash Wednesday we stand as sinners before God.  We reflect on the misdeeds of our past and on the ill habits of our present.  Our frail spirits wrestle with sin, even as our frail bodies fight off death.  We accept ashes as a reminder of our mortality.  We fast from food as a sign of our sorrow.

Our sins weigh us down, but it could be worse.  We could have a plague of locusts darkening the sky over the place where we live.  That happened once before.  The prophet Joel addressed a people who were losing everything because they could not stop an advancing army of locusts.  They believed God was punishing them for their sin, so they fasted as a sign of their repentance.
In our lives, sin does not bring locusts.  But it brings other sorrows.  Sin brings estrangement from the people we love, guilt when we lift our eyes to heaven, loss to a world starved for charity and loving kindness.

Can you imagine yourself living your life a better way?  In the quiet of your heart, do you know what sin is clouding your sky?  Are you willing to name it, specifically? Accept ashes.  Fast from food.  Repent.”
—Written by Paul Turner, ©2001, Archdiocese of Chicago, LTP

On Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, there will be Mass and Distribution of Ashes at the 11:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. liturgies, San Damiano Chapel.  Classes end at 11:40 a.m. and resume at 12:25 p.m. that day.  It is a day of fast (eating less) and abstinence from meat.  Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence as well.

Rice Bowls are again available (San Damiano Chapel entrance) for those who wish to use them—proceeds will go to the Rice Bowl Relief Effort to feed the hungry in the world.

Praying With Lenten Scripture Day by Day—There is a link on the campus ministry Web page to scripture-based daily meditations, written by Christopher Bellitto, for each day during Lent. Please check it out.

San Damiano Chapel Plaque: To mark the College Church name change to San Damiano Chapel, an original drawing of the San Damiano Chapel, located near Assisi, Italy, hangs in the entrance to the chapel.  Below it is a text of explanation which reads:
“The St. Wenceslaus Catholic Parish (est. 1874) dedicated this church building to St. Wenceslaus (patron saint of Bohemia, d. 929) in 1914.  It was the second church structure, which served the Bohemian Catholics of La Crosse, built on this location.  St. Wenceslaus was closed by the Bishop of La Crosse in 1974 and the church building became the property of Viterbo College.  In 1979, the chapel was moved from Murphy Center to this site and was renamed the ‘College Church.’ On Sept. 4, 2000, the Feast of St. Rose of Viterbo, when the college became a university, the College Church was renamed  ‘San Damiano Chapel,’ the name of the chapel rebuilt by St. Francis of Assisi in his native Italy. St. Francis was the founding influence of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.  As such, his teachings also are an integral part of Viterbo University.”

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord: Please remember those who have died:  Kenneth Unser, the brother of Sr. Carlene Unser and the grandfather of Erin Mueller.  May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

Prep Recital is Sunday
By Marcella Steffes, FSPA, Preparatory School of Arts

Approximately 27 cello and violin students of Marcella Steffes, FSPA will perform in a Recital on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. in the FAC Recital Hall. Students range in age from four years old to college age. Many of the performers are students of the Suzuki Method. This recital is free and open to the public.

Send a Singing Valentine
The 9th Street Singers will be selling singing Valentine cards. The cards may be purchased at the following times and days:

Monday, Feb. 11, 9 a.m.?noon, FAC Lobby
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 9 a.m.?noon, FAC Lobby
Wednesday, Feb 13, 9 a.m.?noon, MC Lobby

The cost is $12 (or $10 for students with student IDs).We will drive to out-of-town locations! Cards will be delivered on Valentine’s Day. Buy one now for your sweetheart!

Please call Diane at ext. 3768 if you have any questions.

Web Design Classes
Web-page design classes will be offered the week of Feb. 18?22. The classes will teach you the basics of creating Web pages with Microsoft FrontPage. The classes are: Feb. 19, 9?11 a.m., MC 305 and Feb. 22, 1?3 p.m. MC 305. Please register in advance.
To register for classes, contact Jeff Nyseth at ext. 3285 or email at jcnyseth

Marketing Campaign Receives Award
The Admissions Marketing Report recently awarded Viterbo University the Merit Award for the Newspaper Advertising Series “Learn to Live: Who Helped Shape Your Life.”

The number of nominees for awards continues to grow every year, with more than 2,000 entries received this year—the largest number ever.  A panel of judges evaluated the entries over a four-week period. The February 2002 issue of Admissions Marketing Report will publish a complete list of all winners.  All entrants will receive a copy of the February 2002 issue and merit award winners will receive a certificate.  The winners’ list was posted on Feb. 1 at

Congratulations to Pat Kerrigan, Loretta Waughtal, the Marketing Committee, and the communications and marketing department.

UW-L Student Activities and Centers
By Gil Standridge, UW-L

The UW-L Student Activities and Centers Outdoor Connection is sponsoring Jon Waterman on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Main Hall Auditorium on the UW-L campus.

Waterman will share the incredible story of his solo passing of the Northwest Passage of the Artic using a kayak, skis, and with Inuit on dogsled. This 2,200 mile journey, from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to the Gulf of Botthia in Canada, took him 10 months, going weeks at a time without human contact. He called his journey “the final test for a lifetime’s worth of cold-weather adventuring.”

The presentation includes: a slide lecture, excerpt from his documentary film Odyssey Among the Inuit, and book signing of Arctic Crossing. Tickets are $2 for any student with a current ID (pre-college or college), and $4 for community. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Cartwright Ticket office or the night of the lecture starting at 6 p.m. in Main Hall Auditorium.

For more information contact Gil Standridge 785-5221 or Jessica Stout 785-5219.

Hospice Volunteers Needed
By Charish Badzinski, Franciscan Skemp Healthcare

For patients nearing the end of life, there is one medicine they desperately need and it requires no prescription. It’s friendship. Volunteers for the Hospice Program at Franciscan Skemp Healthcare work to fulfill that prescription. They provide companionship, emotional support, a listening ear, and kindness.

Right now Franciscan Skemp is looking for caring people to become hospice volunteers in La Crosse and surrounding areas. In addition to providing companionship and emotional support, volunteers also help with basic daily tasks like letter writing and feeding, grocery shopping and sometimes housework. They serve as a supplement to professional care providers. And volunteers carry some of the burden for family members of a terminally ill person, relieving the isolation they may feel from caretaking.

For people interested in becoming part of the program, the following training sessions will be held:

Session One (two days, lunch provided): Wednesday, March 6, 8:30 a.m.?3:30 p.m.; Wednesday, March 13, 8:30 a.m.?3:30 p.m. Please register by March 1.

Session Two (four evenings, supper provided): Tuesday, April 16, 5:30?8:30 p.m.; Thursday, April 18, 5:30?8:30 p.m.; Tuesday, April 23, 5:30?8:30 p.m.; and Thursday,  April 25, 5:30?8:30 p.m. Please register by April 12.

For more information, or to register, call 791-9790 or 1-800-362-5454, ext. 9790.

Ashes to Easter
By Marilyn Pedretti, Campus Ministry

What good can one person really do?  According to a project taken on by campus ministry this Lent, the answer would be “a lot.”

For only $1 a week during Lent, you can make a difference. If 50 Viterbo University students, faculty, and administrators would give $1 each week during Lent (6 weeks) we could raise enough to buy six dairy goats for African families, providing them with milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt. Or if 100 people would give $1 each week, we could provide fruit trees as a source of food and income for 20 families in the Dominican Republic. And, if everyone on campus gave a dollar a week, we could help build a school in Zimbabwe, complete with supplies. Just look at what we could do!

Information is available at the MC and Union desks, the entrance to the San Damiano Chapel or from any member of campus ministry. For more information, contact Fr. Tom O'Neill at ext. 3804, Earl Madary at ext. 3707, or Marilyn Pedretti at ext. 3829.

Pay $1 to Support Causes and Wear Jeans
Don’t forget to wear jeans this Friday to support the Food Pantry. The Friday, Feb. 1 collection which supports Viterbo Spirit Day totaled $40. (proceeds support the Staff Assembly Grant).

How can you support Jeans Day this week? Wear jeans and pay $1 to Marcia Brodt at the MC Reception Desk; Ginny Brochhausen, FAC 102; or Carol Strigun, BNC 118.

International Students?
By Noriko Kato, Global Education

La Crosse Friends of International Students (LFIS) was founded to promote social interaction and cultural exchange between international students and the La Crosse community.

The activities of LFIS include maintaining a Friendship Family Program and providing opportunities for international students to participate in cultural and social events. The group is now looking for host families for the next academic year (fall 2002). If you are willing to consider being a host family, please contact either Janet McLean at ext. 3792 (FAC 120B) or Noriko Kato at ext. 3170 (MC 402). We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Math Exam is Feb. 26
By Rich Maresh, Mathematics

The mathematics department has scheduled the competency exam for the spring 2002 semester on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 3?5 p.m. in MC 406. There is a sign-up sheet in the learning center and there is information about the exam and the math competency policy on the math department’s Web site. There is also a sample exam there, with solutions provided. The department tries to offer the exam early enough in the semester so students can get the results before the registration period, in case they do not pass the exam and need to take a course instead.

kudos to...
Keith Knutson, history, who discussed the situation in Afghanistan with 7th grade social studies students at Longfellow. Last month, he provided a similar program at the La Crescent 4?H.

From the Library
By Lisa Autio

“Gathering of Waters” Book Titles

The library has several books by Eddy Harris, travel writer and speaker last week during the “Gathering of Waters” symposium, and author of Mississippi Solo. An excerpt: “The trip’s dangers were legion for a black man traveling alone, paddling from ‘where there ain’t no black folks to where they still don’t like us much.’ He encounters barge wakes, wild dogs, and two shotgun-toting bigots who nearly end his life in the calm of an Arkansas dusk. Equally significant were the people who reached out to Harris and shared in his adventure...” Harris also is the author of Native Stranger: A Black American’s Journey into the Heart of Africa.

Life on the Mississippi along the river towns of the Coulee Region can be seen in Mark Neuzil’s book Views on the Mississippi: The Photographs of Henry Peter Bosse. From the introduction: “ terms of freight, neither keelboat nor steamboat was the domnant shipper...Huge cribs of white and red pine logs from Minnesota and Wisconsin floated downstream as two acres of wood steered with oars. Some cribs were a quarter mile long and a city block wide; these were the most common vessel on the river for much of the century. This timber built Omaha, Des Moines, Rock Island, and Kansas City.” Bose, a 19th century photographer, took many pictures of the bluffs and river towns like Winona, Wabasha, La Crosse, Genoa and De Soto, when flooding was common, steamboats often sank, and the river was harder to cross and navigate.

Sophocles’ Tragic Masterpiece Presented in Contemporary Format
A classic masterpiece receives new life on Viterbo’s stage when the Viterbo University theatre department presents Sophocles’ Antigone in the La Croix Black Box Theatre March 1?4, at 7:30 p.m. each night.

One of the oldest and most celebrated of all the Greek tragedies, the play presents Antigone’s classic struggle with issues such as justice, pride, truth, and honor. The daughter of Oedipus (the King of Thebes), and Queen Jocasta, Antigone was with her father in exile and returned to Thebes after his death. Centered on the flaw of human pride, the play revolves around Antigone’s conflict with Kreon the new King of Thebes, who refuses to allow her to bury the body of her brother, Polyneices, despite the pleas of his son.

Filled with music, dance, and masks, Viterbo’s performance turns this classic tragedy into a contemporary production.

Students in the production include: Seniors: Jill Tieskoetter, chorus; Rebecca Kaasa, Ismene; Ben Minnis, Haimon; and Keely Wolter, Antigone. Juniors: Sara Melchior, guard; Katie Butler, chorus; Nolan Dresden, chorus; Jennifer Spridco, chorus; Austin Bartsch, Koryphaios; Derrick Harper, Kreon; and Jenny Roberdeau, Eurydice. Sophomores: Amanda Davis, chorus; Matt Reis, chorus; Stephanie Urban, guard; David Warren, guard; Matt Goodness, guard; Adam Terry, Messenger; Jason Bielke, Tiresias; and Katie Siri, chorus. And, freshman Robert Koch, Sentry.

Tickets for Antigone are $9. Contact the Viterbo Box Office at ext. 3100.

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