Meet Kathy Doering, tri-campus Spiritual Care Facilitator, and learn how she supports students' spiritual health during their time at SLC.
Q: What brought you to St. Lawrence College?
A: I grew up running the halls here at SLC as my dad taught in the business program back in the day! My background is education and counselling, and my partner and I have been pastoring churches in Portsmouth for about 24 years. I started running faith-based huddle groups here through a campus ministry in 2018, and then took over as SLC volunteer Chaplain in 2019. I found that many students from diverse backgrounds were looking for safe, healthy community and asking big life questions. In January of 2020, I approached the administration and shared my vision for a role that was broader than traditional chaplaincy. Much to my surprise, the college saw the need and created a brand new position in spring of 2021. I applied and got the job! Fun fact: there is no other college in Canada with a position like ours.
Q: How does your role fit into the overall Student Wellness and Accessibility team?
A: Student Wellness and Accessibility is about helping every student flourish during their time with us. Counselling helps with big road bumps, Accessibility with school supports, and Spiritual Care focuses on identity, community and how each of us fit into the world around us. Your spirituality is much bigger than religion -- it’s a journey that impacts the core of who you are, as well as how you do life.
Q: How does your role support students at SLC?
A: Spiritual Care at SLC is about walking alongside students on the path towards self-discovery and spiritual growth in a couple different ways:
- One-on-one meetings (encouragement, mentoring, personal support)
- Huddle groups (small, safe groups to ask questions and do life with, faith-based or not)
- Community-building large group events
- Providing links to spiritual homes in the school or communities in which our students live
Q: How does the work of the Spiritual Care Facilitator align with SLC’s values?
A: It was really the value of Belonging that drove the creation of the SCF position. The passion and purpose behind this role is to help every single student feel seen and valued, and to help them find peace and their place, both within our school and outside of it! This journey looks different for each one of us, but the goal is for every one of our students to thrive. Students are people first. Student needs drove the creation of this role and student needs drive everything we do.
Q: What is something you wish the SLC community knew about your role?
A: I wish students knew that they don’t need to be religious to access our services, and we aren’t a recruitment agency! I also wish students knew how wonderful huddle groups can be, especially for those with social anxiety or who are struggling in this season to make friends. Our team work super hard to make every student feel welcome and at home in huddles. One student said, "Huddle gave me a family in SLC. It is a safe space where I can be vulnerable and share different things about my life - both the good and the bad - without fear of judgment because I know that the people I am with understand how tough life can be." We also laugh a lot too!
Q: What holidays are taking place this month?
A: SLC has students from over 60 different countries of the world studying together, and there are lots of traditions and festivals celebrated by many different faith and cultural groups in our school communities at this time of year. Some of us will be celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, New Year, and likely several other lesser-known festivals! Ask your students or classmates about their seasonal traditions.
Q: How should students or employees connect with you?
You can find more information about Spiritual Care at SLC and the Academic Accommodations for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances Policy at stlawrencecollege.ca/SpiritualCare