President’s Blog

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Why do we celebrate days like St. Valentine’s Day? 

Certainly, this particular day has a religious tradition as its named after the 3rd-century Roman priest who performed many kind, indeed what could be called ‘loving’ acts to people in his community.

Living in a community in the 3rd-century is not the same as living in a community in the 21st-century though! But, we still celebrate a day where we acknowledge that love and ‘loving’ acts are important in spite of the tendency to commercialize it.

The word ‘community’ itself was lived very differently in the 3rd-century from how it is lived today. Communication, central to shaping a community is often piecemeal. Since the rise of social media, in spite of its many attractions, communication has become more like coded speech. The depth of thought in sharing points of view or the ability and openness to challenge and debate are less and less evident. And that lack of true communication affects the stability and nature of community. Coming together as a community doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t disagree. It means we all share a common goal.

The root of the word relates also to the idea of ‘the commons’. The original meaning comes from medieval Europe where communities managed land that was held ‘in common’ (for all) but also shared in its stewardship by developing a set of rules about how it was to be used and protected. Today, it also includes the cultural and natural resources in a community accessible to all. Importantly, natural elements like air, water, and a habitable Earth are also seen as part of it. These resources are held in common even though parts may be owned privately or publicly.

In the 21st century, where many still celebrate centuries old holidays, like St. Valentine’s Day,  that might just be a thread that brings people together in their communities that not only celebrates kind and loving acts to each other but also to ‘the commons.’ 

Best Regards,



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