President Pollack's Address at May 7's prayer service                                 <<Back
Good afternoon. Thank you all for being here. Welcome to all of you, to our many special friends and elected officials, and join me in welcoming our Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence.

Because of your many loving acts and those of others for our University, I stand here this morning with profound and humble gratitude to many. Thank you all for being here at this prayer service to give thanks to our Provident God that no one in our University family was injured in what is perhaps the greatest single tragedy to descend upon our University in her history.

We owe much to the servants of the San Antonio community --- our firefighters and police officers --- who put up a tremendous struggle to fight a stubborn fire risking their lives so that each one of us would be safe throughout this tragic event and throughout the day as they continue to make their assessments of structural issues.

We owe much to our students in whom we infuse the theory and practice of leadership and service and who brought that leadership and service to life last night in their support for one another. Our administration, our faculty, our staff, our Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence, and our students are acting with unity of purpose and teamwork to stabilize and reclaim our normal lives with a new level of hope and fervor in the home that Our Lady of the Lake University is to each of us.

Last night we watched smoke turn into flames and flames turn into an inferno until we also watched the collapse of one of our spires. Each one of us has been dealt an enormous loss, and our grief is palpable. Main Building is our oldest building and the first home of the Sisters of Divine Providence when they moved to the banks of Elmendorf Lake in 1895. It has been severely damaged, but as things go, I believe that physical assessments that continue today will also show that we have also been blessed that damage was not greater than it is.

As I sat before a computer sending an update to our Trustees, I gave in to my own grief that I felt cut into a part of my soul that often gets lost in the problems that I deal with daily. I was reminded by one of our Sisters that God takes us on a sometimes crooked journey that we expect to be a straight one. Let us remember that this is a part of the journey. We have come to a twist in the journey, but it is our journey and our Provident God is with us throughout our recovery in ways that we may not yet even be able to imagine.

We will restore Our Lady of the Lake University to its original grandeur that is visible and admired from friends around us and from downtown. I will ask for that same commitment from our friends old and friends new who wonder what we do here and must also embrace our University. The proud, historic beacon of hope we lost last night belongs not only to the University; it belongs to the entire community far and near. We need the support and help of all who enjoy the glory of the view to share in the labors of our new challenges.

This noon we stand together as a community of faith. We each have within us the heads, hands, and hearts to take what has happened on the sixth day of May 2008 to transform it into something that can change each of us individually and all of us together into the people that Providence wants us to become.

We come together today allowing our prayer to shape our hearts into greater fidelity to all that Our Lady of the Lake University stands for.

We stand united here in our faith that Providence will always provide what we need --- united in our trust that with God’s help all will be right --- united in our love for one another and for our beloved University.

Who are we? We are Faith in Providence. Trust in one another is the most precious treasure that we have. And love for OLLU is what we will take into our future. We are grieving, but we are not daunted. We have experienced a great loss, but we are not lost. God bless us and God bless Our Lady of the Lake University.


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