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Continuing faith-based activities

Sister Carol Higgins takes lead of Marylhurst campus ministry
by: CLIFF NEWELL Sister Carol Higgins takes a break in the Meditation Room at Marian Hall at Marylhurst University. As the new director of the campus ministry program, she will continue to build faith-based activity that reflects the university’s roots.

Things somehow worked out for Sister Carol Higgins to become the new leader for Marylhurst University's campus ministry program.

'It's sort of funny,' Higgins said. 'You never know what is going to happen.'

Higgins certainly didn't imagine such a role when she first came to Marylhurst to work on her master's of divinity degree. But working for three years in the program with Dr. Cecilia Ranger, who recently retired, gave her a different perspective.

'Three years ago, we restarted the campus ministry program,' Higgins said. 'We held mass, interfaith prayer services or just held times of reflection at which we shared what was important.

'I think we gained more awareness on the campus as a whole that Marylhurst has a religious foundation. Our students see this university as a place where they can get their questions answered.'

In one sense, the past three years were a difficult period for the renewed campus ministry.

'We had three deaths in our campus community,' Higgins said. 'Our office was very involved in providing support in those trying times. I'm not sure exactly who else would have done it.'

Higgins already has programs that will build on the ministry's momentum. One is the interfaith justice panels, which will examine such topics as globalization, sustainability, human trafficking, water and health care.

Coming in November will be the justice cafes, a time for the spirit to be fed as well as the body when students discuss the issues of the day. The cafes will be spreading a wide net - with the Internet.

Higgins said, 'The Internet component will let us bring in students from the West Coast, Canada and even Africa.'

Although Higgins entered the campus ministry with many questions, she found that it is just the work she wants to do.

'Being with Cecelia and Sheila, I found I really liked the work,' Higgins said. 'I liked the event planning and the crisis stuff. You never know exactly what will happen, and I enjoy that type of work. It's been a natural progression for me.

'I now have a lot of creativity to shape this program to meet the needs of this community. Plus, the people here are wonderful.'

A couple of those people will be helping Higgins make her plans come true, including Dr. Sheila O'Connell Roussell, religion professor, and Rick Ganz, SJ, Marylhurst's vice president for community relations. While Higgins has plenty of her own ideas for the campus ministry, her ultimate goal is for students to put their own ideas into action.

'My pet idea is to empower our own students to create faith-based groups,' Higgins said.

For more about Marylhurst University's ministry program or the justice panels, contact Sister Carol Higgins at 503-867-4259 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .