It Takes a Village and an English Prof


Dr. Carol Tyx and guest, as seen by the world on Facebook.

Dr. Carol Tyx and guest, as seen by the world on Facebook.

Happy Mercy Day.

I’m looking forward to an interesting keynote speech tonight for Mercy Week at MMU, the week the campus celebrates its history as a university founded by the Sisters of Mercy and carrying on their work.

What does that mean? Well, a photo is going viral today—I think I was about the 800th person to share it on Facebook. No doubt a student snapped it with her cell phone. It shows Dr. Carol Tyx, professor of English, lecturing with one arm as the other cradles a baby.

The baby, more a tot, really, is neither hers nor a grandchild—she’s helping a student by calming her child while also teaching. That may not be the optimal teaching environment, and I’m sure the English class as daycare center is probably a temporary situation—but the Sisters often talk of “going where mercy is needed,” and maybe sometimes mercy means lending a hand, or an arm, and just moving forward.

The Sisters of Mercy were known as the “walking nuns” for going out into Dublin, Ireland to aid those in need in the 19th century. I suppose toting a tot is, in some ways, a form of both being a walking teacher and giving mercy where it’s needed at the moment.

Early this morning, about 7:20 a.m. The bird is looking the other way, which is poor planning for this photo shoot--hawk on Warde Hall copula.

Early this morning, about 7:20 a.m. The bird is looking the other way, which is poor planning for this photo shoot–hawk on Warde Hall copula.

Anyway, today is the day—Mercy Day, the anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of Mercy. So: Happy Mercy Day.

The day began for me early, I had an 8 a.m. class. It will end late, after the speech. I’ll be peddling home in the evening dark, and can only hope to get there before 10 p.m. Luckily, not all my days are so long, and granted, the extension of this day is largely voluntary on my part—but the speaker tonight (7:30 in the Chapel of Mercy, Sister Cora Marie Billings will speak on her lifelong work combating racism and inequality) sounds really interesting.

Statue of Catherine McAuley watches over students heading to class on Rohde Family Plaza at MMU today.

Statue of Catherine McAuley watches over students heading to class on Rohde Family Plaza at MMU today.

And, if I know the nuns, there may be scones. MMU scones. Yum. If there are, it will indeed be a Happy Mercy Day!

Anyway, it must feel slightly odd, Dr. Carol, to suddenly find yourself the topic of the internet tribe whose passing fancies are impossible to predict. Still, kudos for showing, at least in a way, what the spirit of mercy still means at MMU today. And I hope your arm is OK.

It's been summertime here in late September, but Mercy Day falls as fall is official started, and the edge of a maple near Warde Hall reflects the change, even if most of the campus is still Irish green.

It’s been summertime here in late September, but Mercy Day falls as fall is official started, and the edge of a maple near Warde Hall reflects the change, even if most of the campus is still Irish green.

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