Twenty years of kindess
On his second day at Saint Rose, Sean Butler was lonely. It was a Sunday, and quiet. He walked around campus and, eventually, he heard singing coming from a small brick building along Madison Avenue.
“A Mass choir was rehearsing. I poked my head in and they invited me to sing,” said Butler, a freshman studying music. “I said ‘Wow.’ I hadn’t sung in so long. That moment was when I got involved in the community, the Sanctuary community.”
Students who visit the Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary often have stories like this. It is singular space that seems to draw them whether they are looking or not. They find a quiet place in which to study, socialize, plink on the Steinway, take in a lecture, gather after a sad event or share a meal – as well as to worship as Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Jew.
The Sanctuary turns 20 this year. That means 20 years of coming for solace or prayer, to plan a service trip or attend a lecture. Over the years it has evolved into a regional center for interreligious dialogue, a place that area religious and elected leaders seek out when they want to hold discussions or vigils among the Capital Region’s interfaith community.
Foremost, though, it represents the softer side of college.
“When I walked in I saw that it didn’t matter what you believe. You could believe in love, or Jesus, or Buddha or music,” noted Butler. “You could believe in something and be welcome.”