Message to graduates: Gratitude is regenerative

On May 15, nearly 480 graduates from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont heard from our own Dan Misleh in an inspiring 2022 commencement address.  

“Having graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati 40 years ago to the day, I reminisced about what has happened with my own life and career over that time: telling the graduates of both triumph and trial,” Misleh said. “They, too, will face twists and turns, but I urged them to find purpose and meaning by cultivating a daily practice of gratitude. Gratitude helps orient us when the ground shifts beneath our feet. In gratitude, we see that even in despair, there is goodness, hope, and life.”

In an article about the commencement, Vermont Biz wrote: “A spirit of deep gratitude and joy should animate each person joining the overwhelming but urgent work of tackling climate change,” a leading Catholic environmentalist told graduates on a rainy Sunday morning for the College’s outdoor 115th Commencement on May 15. 

“We must all do our part to save the earth from our own selfishness and our own foolishness,” said Dan Misleh, founder of Catholic Climate Covenant and longtime activist to address global warming. 

Despite the challenge of comity change we face, a deep sense of joy and deep thanks for the life we have can be regenerative in our daily lives and our work ahead, which is not easy but critical for the future of our common home, Misleh said: “I contend that the secret to a full and meaningful life is not this degree, the career path you choose nor even the close friends or a committed soul mate (if you are as lucky as I have been). I believe that the secret to a truly meaningful and full life begins with gratitude.

“I’m often asked how I became the founder of a Catholic organization dedicated to moving the Catholic community to action on climate change. I often wonder that myself. All I know is that God is good. Like you, I can only attribute this day, this moment, to grace and gratitude.

Misleh continued: “Every daily decision we make about what we buy, how we move, how we keep ourselves cool or warm, and even how we make a living impacts the future of our planet and its people. We must fully embrace the fact, the scientific reality, that we are a part of creation, not apart from it. We must hold the notion that all is connected

“The daily practice of gratitude is generative: the more you appreciate your life, your friends, your family, and your earth, the easier it is to be grateful for even the smallest of things: a flower, the gentle rain, a child’s laughter.”

“Developing habits of gratitude for life’s good things can orient us towards the positive when hard and unwanted lessons come, when our future is tested, or when the ground shifts beneath our feet.”

To view a video recording of the commencement speech go here. 

To read the full commencement address go here.

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