College President Gives Talk on Personal Faith Journey



Agape Latte made its return on Oct. 7 for the start of the new school year. Students from all over campus gathered in Jasper Hall to eat donuts, enjoy coffee and listen to live music provided by their peers. However, the large turnout can be attributed to the guest speaker: Manhattan College’s president, Brennan O’Donnell.

The word “agape” means a love that seeks nothing in return in the terms of faith, which is usually what the speakers of Agape Latte touch on. Speakers range from teachers, alumni and other faculty to give students an inside look into their journey through faith to give inspiration.

The entirety of O’Donnell’s speech focused on finding his way.

He admitted that growing up, his family never spent much time talking about religion and faith. As he grew older, however, he has formed the idea that a Christian life is a pilgrimage that cannot be planned out, filled with twists and turns.

“If I did it my way,” he said, “I wouldn’t be in a good spot. Now I know, our lives are made to feel incomplete and we’re on a journey for our entire lives. Once we reach our goals, we make new ones and we keep going.”

With the recent excitement of Pope Francis’s visitation, O’Donnell was able to hear some important words of wisdom when he attended the pope’s Vespers service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

“I couldn’t get [the idea of gratitude and hard work] out of my mind. Pope Francis said if you’re a person who lives a life of gratitude fundamentally believing your life is a gift, gratefulness will come in return and you’ll feel impelled to work on the behalf of others,” he said.

But Pope Francis hasn’t been the only person to influence O’Donnell. He called his parents his two biggest blessings when he touched on the saying, “count your blessings and name your graces.”

“My parents showed me the fundamentals of what unconditional love is like. My father also always told me to do what you love to do,” he said.

O’Donnell continued his speech with funny anecdotes speaking about the people in his life who got him where he is today and how grateful he is. His theme of “finding your way” was not foreign to a crowd of college students, who were able to hear about the faith journey of a college leader.

The next Agape Latte will be held in November. More information on the group, future speakers and upcoming dates can be found on their Twitter @mc_agapelatte.