This past Friday our own Dr. Sodergren was recognized by his alma mater as the Divine Mercy University’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni. The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented on an annual basis to a graduate who has made significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments, affiliations, and career have honored the legacy of the excellence of the university.
Dr. Sodergren took a moment to address this year’s graduating class and shared an insight into the struggle to authentic love we all face.
“Victor Frankl said, ‘man can endure almost any how if he has a why.’ Sometimes we lose sight of our why and that leads to frustration, despair, and burnout. And sometimes as we grow, our understanding of why grows too.
My why is inseparable from the faces of the people that come to me.
On a few occasions, patients have asked me about my why. In those moments I have been moved in all sincerity to look into their eyes and tell them that I did it for them. Those are moments of great meaning for me, ones that I try to cherish and savor…They make all the years of struggle worth it because they give your why a face and a name.”
The favorite quote of the late Great Pope St. John Paul II is, “Man…cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself” (Gaudium et Spes, 24). This simple sentence is repeated in his various writings, encyclicals, and addresses.
What does this mean? How does it apply to one’s life on a daily basis? Is it possible to instill this mystery into the minds and hearts of our children?
Yes, the call to human love is at first blush an impossible endeavor. It is antithetical to our modern ethos. Many times our efforts to love result in heartbreak, confusion, and despair as we are rejected, rebuffed, and kept a safe distance away from the inner core of our neighbors.
As C.S. Lewis famously states, “to love is to be vulnerable.”
It is in light of this struggle that we are blessed to have a witness as great as Dr. Andrew Sodergren working tirelessly for the downtrodden at Ruah Woods.
Dr. Sodergren is our resident clinical psychologist. His duties include assessing the emotional and psychological wellbeing of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s applicants to the seminary, counseling married couples with aching hearts, mending the insecurities of the young, and aiding the confused in their search for identity. He steadfastly and patiently encourages every patient to embrace a vocation to love. We are blessed to have him working with us hand and hand as we develop an authentically human curriculum for our Kindergarten through 12 Grade students based on John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body.”
Learn more about Dr. Sodergren and his practice at Ruah Woods Psychological Services.
Congratulations Dr. Sodergren on receiving this honor, and thank you for exhibiting the words oft-quoted by St. John Paul II on a consistent, daily basis.
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