Forever A Student

Utilizing Catholic social teaching as a basis for social, political and spiritual exploration

By Nicole Davidow, Fairfield University ‘15

Secrets can often become characteristic of a severe mental affliction. You aren’t supposed to bring “said” topic up, but at the same time it is the only thing you can think about and quite possibly the only thing you want to talk about.

When I think back to some of the most transformative moments as an undergraduate student at Fairfield University, I recall being in class when [what some have referred to as] Catholicism’s “best kept secret” was revealed to me: Catholic Social Teaching (CST).

It was in the classroom where I first realized that learning about champions of Jesuit ideology inspired me at my core.

Yes, it sounds cliché, but having passionate discussions in class about spirituality, social systems, political systems, injustice and privilege uprooted all of my preconceived beliefs and thought processes, and I loved that!

Much of what I learned in the classroom was complimented by the actions and leadership of the people I surrounded myself with on campus. Professors, mentors and peers collectively became who I colloquially would refer to as my companions, and they have become essential to the way in which I have grown and learned these past four years.

As a student, I became an active member of the Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN) and Students for Social Justice, attended the Ignatian Family Teach In, and became a Catholic Relief Services Student Ambassador. I realized that what was being done at Fairfield (on a small scale) was replicated by other Jesuit institutions throughout the country and across the world. I saw the vast network of resources and support and knew that I was a part of something much greater — a living component of the Catholic Church and an integral part of CST.

Before I came to know CST, that is, before I started my education at a Jesuit institution, it was easier to “just not think about the hard stuff” in order to avoid discomfort and uneasiness. You know, the stuff you might not “see” every day such as economic inequality, institutional racism, the global food crisis, water scarcity, war, poverty, environmental degradation…the list goes on.

After being Jesuit educated, however, I have found that working to combat such injustices — visible and invisible — has become my vocation. It has been a process of coming to realize the struggles of others and feeling a human connection, resulting in what I find to be an inspired sense of solidarity.

My hope is that I will utilize my education, rooted in Jesuit pedagogy and complimented by CST, as a foundation for lifelong learning and as a tool to promote human dignity in communities worldwide.

Spoiler alert: I was never that great at keeping secrets anyway.

Nicole Davidow graduated from Fairfield University with a B.A. in International / Global Studies in 2015.