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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Go forward and live life well

Father Patrick Woods, former provincial of the Baltimore Province, recently was invited to be the commencement speaker at Mercyhurst-North East. The campus once served as the Redemptorists’ St. Mary’s High School, and Father Woods was both a graduate and a faculty member of the school.

Click here to read his entire address.

So, as you graduate today from Mercyhurst-North East today, I would tell you some simple truths. God has a way of surprising us in life. Things may not always go as you plan and hope, but every day is a precious gift and to be lived well. You also have some wonderful men and women who have gone before you here at Mercyhurst-North East. You cannot only brag about them, but all of us can be inspired by them in living our own lives.

Matty Ryan teaches us about giving back to our communities. We may never be asked to walk into a burning building as did he on 9/11, but each one of us will be challenged in the days to come to be generous and loving to those around us, to share our gifts and talents with those in need.

Bishop Tom Reilly, C.Ss.R., loved the poor. In truth, we sometimes wish the poor would disappear. They make us feel guilty or we seek to blame them for their problems. My brothers and sisters, if we ignore the cry of the poor, our world and ourselves will be a sad and empty reality. Do not turn away from them.

Mary Beth Matthews loved life. She was a happy person. Life could not defeat her. Choose to be happy. Live your lives with joy. Focus less on what is wrong and what you do not have, and more on the blessings of your life and all that you do have. Have grateful hearts.

Theresa Mahoney loved her family and invited others to be part of her life. Appreciate your families. They have their faults, but there is no one who loves you more than they. They are your greatest supporters. You would not be here today without them.

All four of these men and women, who walked the corridors of what is now Mercyhurst-North East loved God and sought his daily guidance in living their lives. They are cheering you in heaven.

Graduates of the class of 2011 — go forward and live life well. You have great models to follow. Join the great line of men and women who have loved this campus and learned how to live and love at this very special place.