Katie Doolittle – Staff Writer
Gustavus Adolphus College will celebrate the long-standing Swedish festival of St. Lucia on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 10:00 a.m. in Christ Chapel. The 81st celebration of this tradition will then be followed by a luncheon in Alumni Hall, which will begin at 11:00 a.m.
The festival begins with the community of Gustavus choosing six sophomore women to be a part of the Court of St. Lucia. The court members are selected based on their embodiment of courageous leadership, service to others, strength of character, and compassion. After the six are voted in by the sophomore class, the greater campus selects one woman to represent St. Lucia.
St. Lucia, or otherwise referred to as Festival of Lights, derives from a 4th-century tale about an act of martyrdom from an Italian saint. According to Swedish legend, Lucia came to Sweden during a great famine and distributed resources to the poor. For Sweden, Lucia represents light returning to the world after long winter nights.
For the festival, Sara Ruble, the Associate Provost, Dean of Academic Programs and Accreditation in Provost’s Office, and a Professor in Religion, will feature her presentation about the realities of truth.
“My talk focuses on two related questions: why should we tell hard truths about the past– particularly when those truths challenge communities, ideals, or institutions we love, and what gives us the courage to tell such truths,” said Ruble.
Even though her talk requires plenty of preparation, Ruble is still looking forward to enjoying this tradition. “I enjoy opportunities to celebrate Gustavus students as well as the values we remember on St. Lucia Day. I’m looking forward to being part of that celebration,” said Ruble.
The festival wouldn’t be possible without the work of Ruble and the current court of sophomore women. The 2022 Saint Lucia court includes Abby McCready, Grace McFarlane, Lily Goloh, Cristina Sirbu, Morgan Kelly, and Linnea Hanson.
McCready is a Biology major with a Music and Statistics double minor from St. Charles, Minnesota. McCready is involved in Gustie Greeters, Gustavus Choir, Pre-PT/OT club, the Tri-Beta Biology Honor Society, and works in the Admissions office as a tour guide.
“Being named to Lucia Court is a huge honor and it means so much to me that the campus community trusts me to represent them in this way,” said McCready.
McFarlane is a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major from Sillwater, Minnesota. McFarlane is a member of the Lucia choir and is the Secretary of the Diversity Leadership Council. In the future, McFarlane wants to research pharmaceutical or medicinal chemistry.
“This experience has been really exciting and hopeful for me. This time of the semester is always overwhelming and full of uncertainty, and it is nice to have something to look forward to,” said McFarlane.
Sirbu is a Philosophy and Russian Eastern European Studies double major with an intended double minor in Music and Theatre from Moldova, Chisinau. Sirbu is involved with the CIE (Center for Inclusive Excellence), GAIN (Gusties Attaining Interpersonal Networks), the Phonothan, the Lucia Choir, the Philharmonic Orchestra, the International Cultures Club, the Eastern European Club, and CASA.
“I am looking forward to the connections I will make with other people and the positive attitude that will revolve around campus,” said Sirbu.
Kelly is a Communications and Spanish double major and Political Science minor from St. Peter, Minnesota. Kelly is a part of the women’s basketball team, Gustavus Women in Leadership, Student Senate, Hall Council, and Alpha Sigma Tau sorority.
“Knowing the history of St Lucia and the kind of women who are involved in celebrating that history really made me want to be a part of that community. These women are kind and strong leaders who look to make a difference in the world with a strong sense of character and to be considered as one of those women is a huge honor,” said Kelly.
Hanson is a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major from Hastings, Minnesota. Hanson is a part of the Pre-Health club and the Lucia choir.
“Being in the St. Lucia court is very exciting for me as I come from a very Swedish family and I have grown up celebrating the St. Lucia tradition,” said Hanson.