AboutUSF History Living History Project Digital Archives USF Home
Previous Page Button  

Transcript of Video (dated June, 2005):

Sr. Sandi Salois and Sr. Joanne Marusa

J.M.— Well, I’m Sr. Joanne Marusa. I’ve been with the Joliet Franciscans; it’ll be 50 years next year. What about you Sandi?

S.S. – I’m Sr. Sandi Salois. I’ll be with Joliet Franciscans in 2009 it will be 40 years. Amazing. So we’re just here to talk a little bit about St. Francis, how it has gone from the College of St. Francis to the University of St. Francis and what has led us here and our dealings with this place.

J.M. – Well, Sandi I want to tell you that you’ve been my inspiration.

S.S. -- Oh my!

J.M. – When you started this program, I had never heard of a program in Recreation Administration, particularly Therapeutic Recreation. When you came through it with flying colors, I always kept it in the back of my mind. When the opportunity presented itself 3 ½, 4 years ago, I just jumped at the chance to do the same thing. It is something I will never regret.

S.S. – Well, thank you. It’s been really good. What happened is that I think Joanne and myself both have been here at the beginning, you know when we first came to convent, right?

J.M. – That’s right.

S.S. – This is where we got our College education at the beginning. Now Joanne was a few years ahead of me, but both of us have gone through here. And I remember some of the teachers we had as nuns. Sr. Chrysantha and oh my gosh, Sr. Rita in the Art Department. My major at that time was Art.

J.M. – Oh!

S.S. – And then I minored in Education and became a teacher.

Broadband video

Dial-up video

Video is 17 minutes 33 seconds.
The Flash Player is required to view video. If needed, download the free Flash Player.

J.M. – Well, when you mention Art, it used to take us so long to get through our classes because we could only do them during the summertime.

S.S. – Yes.

J.M. – And I was an English major and I needed something to kind of relieve all of the readings, so that’s where I started taking my Art classes.

S.S. – See.

J.M. – I usually took 2 Art classes and 1 English class every summer.

S.S. – And who would have known that both of us, we both like Art, and we were both in what’s called Recreation Therapy; and that’s a long explanation of what that is. But it’s a wonderful field, something I didn’t know about until I found out later. How many years were you teaching?

J.M. – Oh, I think it was like 31, something like that, 31 and then I worked at Guardian Angel Home. I worked in a migrant health office in Detroit for 7 years. Then was part of the Congregation Administration General’s secretary and then after that, I’m like what next? And it was, what I enjoyed most coming back to the University is seeing all of the old places of memory.

S.S. – Yes.

J.M. – Places that we cleaned when we were young sisters.

S.S. – Yes, we did.

J.M. – And we’re back there and just to kind of feel the history or the spirit of it. With all these new people, I always used to take the opportunity to tell them, you know a little bit about the story of the early days of the College of St. Francis. And it’s a very refreshing experience to be with the young people.

S.S. – It sure is, yes. When I came back, I was teaching for 23 years and taught in 4 or 5 different places, including Alabama for 11 years. I really loved it down there, I really did and that’s why I was down there so long. However, I just really kind of didn’t think that God really wanted me to be teaching. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just I think He always wanted me to be someplace else. It took me a long time to realize that. And then, so I was trying to find out what to go in next, what to do? I wanted a change but I didn’t know what to. So then, one of our people, one of our sisters, was talking to me and she says, well how about Leisure Education? Which is what Recreation Administration was called then. And I started to laugh. And I said, because I said, you mean go to College to learn how to relax? That’s what I thought it was. I didn’t know nothing about it. But then I learned and it was just so, so many good things about it. And helping people in a different was, that you can learn how to help people to relax, but also it deals with the whole person: spiritual, emotional, psychological, physical, all these other 5 or 6 different ways that Recreation Therapy can help somebody else.

J.M. – And it also has a very Franciscan thrust in that conservation, protecting our planet, being respectful of the universe and that includes people; that aspect is also a part of Recreation.

S.S. – Right, and going in with that same thing, I think of it you know like simplicity and something that which is. Right now I’ve worked in different places. I’ve worked at St. Joe’s Medical Center for 2 ½ years as a Recreation Therapist. And then at 2 different nursing homes as the Activity Director. But now, I’m working in Chicago at a daycare program for people with Alzheimer’s, and I love it.
It’s very challenging but it’s also very good. And accepting people as they are and helping them to do whatever they want to do and if they don’t want to do something, then maybe they want to do something different, or they may just want to watch or they might want to take a nap. It all depends on what they want to do, it’s not me thrusting what I want on them. Of course that’s called person centered care. It’s like what’s good for that person and talking about the quality of life.
And St. Francis himself was all about the quality of life, how do you live your life. And here at St. Francis, the University now, which is I still find a little hard to say instead of College, but still it’s the same place although it’s grown and will continue to grow. That’s good. But still it’s the quality of life and being able to get a good education where you can, to you know make a difference in the world in whatever the field is. Recreation Therapy is ours now.

J.M. – And working with seniors and people who have lived to be an elder.

S.S. – Yes, yes, yes.

J.M. – People that lived to be an elder, it’s a wonderful way to affirm their life. Because so often they arrive at 80, 89, 90; we have people 96 years old.

S.S. – Sure.

J.M. – One lady was saying, what have I done, you know I mean here I am, it’s like I’ve done nothing. And so ways that we can help affirm their life experience and bring out a smile or a remembrance.

S.S. – Yes, yes.

J.M. – Remembering is very much a part of it, what we’re doing now.

S.S. – Yes.

J.M. – It used to be frowned on and like reminiscing or talking about old times. But now it’s really a part of a healthy thing to do.

S.S. – Yeah, and it’s interesting because we deal a lot in different ways in psychology. We’re not psychologists but we have taken psychological courses, of course. And other courses like Anatomy & Physiology.

J.M. – That’s right.

S.S. – Remember that? But that was so much fun. It was just fun, I liked it. But and other kinds of things. But it’s a whole broadening of general education of course, but a broadening of different kinds of fields, learning CPR, learning how to do…

J.M. – Everything.

S.S. Yeah, all these things that are so good. And you know, it’s like when I came here at first, when I first came, when I first started, you know when we first started being in the convent. I came here as a freshman like everybody else and so on. Well, first of all I was very shy, you’d never know it, but I was. But I just didn’t know too much how to study. Besides learning how to be a sister at the same time. But then when I came back the second time, you know I had been a teacher. So of course I knew how to study because I taught my children how to do that. And so I appreciated so much more the second time around. Then we were also able to talk to our classmates.

J.M. – That’s right.

S.S. – At first, when we first started out…

J.M. – That’s right, I forgot that.

S.S. – As sisters, we couldn’t talk to our classmates. Cuz, that’s just what our rule was then. But the second time around we could. And so it was just a lot of fun.

J.M. – And also going back to school in your older age, you bring a lot of life experience.

S.S. – Yes.

J.M. – You have really a lot to offer to a class, in class discussion.

S.S. – Yeah.

J.M. – And a lot to learn and being myself, you know I just take every opportunity to learn anything, everything.

S.S. – Yes.

J.M. – Including music, you know I’m learning how to play guitar.

S.S. – You are? Okay.

J.M. – That was like in a side class at the University of St. Francis, they have a wonderful music department.

S.S. – Oh good, yes they do.

J.M. – So I managed to get in my Art classes and in addition my guitar classes, which were those are a little sacred times.

S.S. – Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s right.

J.M. – I really enjoyed it.

S.S. – You’re speaking about Art classes. The second time around I was also, I had time I could take electives and so I took Ceramics. Which was my second time doing that. But I just love getting my hands in that clay. It’s just, oh my goodness. And so I had 2 projects I was working on. I had one that everybody could see. Then I had one I did after class and that was under wraps. It was like a little, it was like a little race car. I had to look out the window every so often to think, now where are the wheels on this thing?

J.M. -- Oh, you had to look out at the cars.

S.S. – Yeah, I saw the cars on the road there. You know, where’s the wheels, where the back end, oh yeah the tail pipe, and all the rest of it. And that was so much fun.

J.M. – And that was always nice to have, classes up on the highest floor.

S.S. – Yeah, you could see down and everything. And such a beautiful campus.

J.M. – It is.

S.S. – Oh my goodness. So many good memories, you know. And I know they’re going to make some different changes and everything, but they’ll be good too. You know a little different, but good. I just hope that anybody else who comes here finds it warm and receptive like it has been for all of us and for so many other people here. You know people learn in all different fields and like I say our field just happens to be now Recreational Therapy.

J.M. – And I think that other fields do this too, but they try to bring in a lot of education about the community that you live in.

S.S. – Yes.

J.M. – And so we went on a lot of trips, including down to Springfield. Did you go to Springfield?

S.S. – Yes, yes.

J.M. – And so it’s always a reminder every place you go, you know you’re representing the University of St. Francis. It’s just kind of special. Or when somebody recognizes you, oh you’re students from the University of St. Francis. It makes you really very proud to have gone here and our community very appreciative of the sisters that have gone before us.

S.S. – Oh yes, very much.

J.M. –Who had the vision, they may not have had a complete vision, they’d probably be very surprised; but they at least knew that education was a key to a lot.

S.S. -- Yes, yes.

J.M. – And when we’re talking a lot about Art and Music, that was what the first classes were, plus Languages.

S.S. – Yes

J.M. – And…

S.S. – It started over at the Motherhouse, they had a section for it.

J.M. – Right

S.S. – All the College children, the College students, yes. It’s before this building was even built at all. Yeah, that’s where it started.

J.M. – So I’m anxious to see what they’re going to do when they remodel Marian Hall.

S.S. – Yes

J.M. – Because we were there when that first opened. That was our where we stayed in the summertime. You know at Marian Hall, with the billiard tables. Another word for it is pool.

S.S. – Yeah the pool, the poll tables, that’s right.

J.M. – Not many of us were well acquainted with it. But we knew the students that took Math, their teacher was positive that this was increasing their Math skills when they did those special shots.

S.S. – Sure

J.M. – I never forgot that. I thought someday I might go back to trying that. It was a lot of fun.

S.S. – Yes. Joanne was talking about Springfield, you were talking about Springfield. It reminds me, this last April, I belong to the Illinois Therapeutic Recreation Association. I’m in charge of the membership there. So if you want to be a member, just let me know.

J.M. – All right.

S.S. – Anyway, so one of the things that we talk about, a lot of the times is person centered care. Especially where I work at the Alzheimer’s Family Care Center in Chicago. That’s a lot of what we do, that’s the basic thing, person centered care. So anyway, I gave a talk on person centered care at the Midwest Symposium on Therapeutic Recreation Adapted Physical Activity and that was in Springfield this last spring.

J.M. – April, wasn’t it?

S.S. – In April, it was like 12 states got together. I think I had like 30 in my group that came to me because there were different things going on at the same time. But I was just so glad that I had the opportunity to give that talk and thought of it and all like that. But then as I was preparing it, I thought even then I was working on the computer and I remember back when I went back here to the University again the second time. And I had a computer class for the first time and I thought, oh yeah she wants us to know what to do before we got to class, because I didn’t know anything. But she wanted us to know like all of these programs before we took it. I thought okay. So then, I taught a lot of that stuff to myself afterwards. I went on and taught myself some of the things on the computer. But I was remembering when I was getting that talk prepared, I thought, it’s a good thing I was taught how to do outlines and how to present things and get up in front of people and give presentations. And that was very helpful. And I have given others, but I was especially remembering that time.

J.M. – And we had to do that in our classes didn’t we?

S.S. – Yes, exactly, especially speech. Speech class and other classes. But that was good preparation for this. You know, so you can feel comfortable when you’re talking about a subject that you know and you’re fine. You just talk about what you know, there you go. So, I’m really glad that we got to be here. Aren’t you?

J.M. – I am too. I am too.

S.S. –And all those sisters that went before us, oh my gosh, so many of them. Brings back memories. Sr. Rosaire in Music. She’s just one of many. So, well, this has been really good and do you have anything else?

J.M. – I think that we just have covered about everything in our life story.

S.S. – I think we have. This has just been so great. So we thank you for this opportunity.