Living With Purpose


November 12, 2021
Mary Stover (COML ’13)

My Jesuit education changed my life in the best and most challenging ways. Growing up in a faith-filled home, we were taught about cultivating the heart of a servant from an early age. For most of my life, I’d sing “make me a servant, humble and meek, Lord may I lift up those who are weak…” - it wasn’t until I started in the M.A. in Communication & Leadership (COML) program that I truly understood servant leadership and specifically, that being a servant didn’t mean you put yourself last or that your dreams and goals didn’t go away because you were serving others. 

The Ignatian values of magis, cura personalis, and men and women for and with others weren’t new concepts to me, but making them the forefront of my mind and the focus of my life was something that happened at Gonzaga. In my nonprofit work in suicide prevention education (alifeYOUnited), I work daily on cura personalis - caring for the whole person. Every person has physical, mental, and spiritual needs, and it’s my job to care for them as individuals and remind them that they matter and that help is available. Mister Rogers taught me about my emotional needs when I was young, so I work to ensure that children’s mental health needs are acknowledged and cared for in every school I visit. In every action and with every decision, every vote - I consider magis and ask “what is the most good I can do with this choice?” Sometimes I have to step away from what I want for myself and make the decision that is best for the greater good or for the nonprofit’s vital work - and that’s ok.  

Living with purpose, living and leading from a place of service are the greatest gifts I received as a student of a Jesuit university. My professors at Gonzaga spoke life into me, helped guide and shape my future, and helped me believe I could continue to do wonderful things in service of others. I hope to do the same for my students and those I work with through my nonprofit.