Christine M. Licata-Culhane
Christine M. Licata-Culhane ’67, ‘71
Magis wasn’t just a term I heard in the late ‘60’s at Canisius College. The lessons I learned and the culture I experienced inside and outside the Canisius lecture halls were all—in one way or another—magis-driven and inspired.
Whether through a reading for Philosophy class, a homily in Christ the King Chapel, a retreat reflection (yes, we were expected to go on a yearly retreat!), community service activities (this was before service-learning was invented) or the rich, daily interactions with faculty and staff, the underlying message was ‘be all that you can be’ and ‘understand that you are not the center of the universe.’
For me, translating those messages meant that I had an obligation as a member of the Jesuit student community to strive for excellence. This led eventually to the important realization that while seeking to achieve personal, professional and spiritual excellence, I also had a responsibility to make every condition better. And collectively we have an important duty to serve others and seek God’s help in making choices that benefit others.
Perhaps Michael J. Fox, whom I had the privilege of meeting about five years ago, captures the meaning of magis best when he said, “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for. Perfection is God’s business.”
I am still reaching for that excellence today and using servant-leadership as my guiding principle. Without exposure by example from my days at Canisius, I don’t think that magis would have become such an integral part of my being.