Abby Fafinski ’21
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Abby Fafinski ’21 is a double major in Psychology and Communication and a minor in Religious Studies and a 2020-21 Hackworth Fellow at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Views are her own.
I think it goes without saying that the cultivation of hope has seemed like a cruel pipe dream over the past year and a half. Between the events and aftermath of COVID-19, violence and terror being inflicted on communities of color, police brutality, isolation from loved ones, political unrest, and an overall instability about the future, I would go so far as to say people do not even know what hope means at this point! I have seen this confusion regarding hope and fascination with hopelessness to be especially prevalent amongst college students. It is for this reason that the central focus of my Hackworth Fellowship project over this past year has been a reflection into the ethics of hope. I have examined various theological, psychological, and philosophical understandings of hope in order to help foster hope amongst college students, individuals living with a mental illness, and anyone who is feeling an overwhelming amount of despair due to the obstacles they are facing.
To make my exploration of hope come to life, I will be submitting a research and reflection paper to the Jesuit Journal of Higher Education. For this paper, I have relied heavily on the work of Jesuit theologian, educator and writer, William F. Lynch, S.J. Reverend Lynch wrote a revolutionary book on hope, titled Images of Hope: Imagination as Healer of the Hopeless, in which he elaborates on the idea of hope as a theological virtue by articulating lesser known dimensions of hope such as realism, creativity, mutuality, patience, help, and imagination. He gives particular attention to how hope can be encouraged amongst marginalized communities in his time, such as people living with a mental illness. In this paper, I have summarized Lynch’s intricate points as to what hope is and is not and I have elaborated on his conceptualizations of hope that I believe are especially pertinent for college students to know. Being that I will be submitting my article to a Jesuit journal, I will also be incorporating the third Jesuit apostolic preference to “accompany youth in the creation of a hope-filled future” into my analysis.
About Abby Fafinski
"I am a senior with a double major in Psychology and Communication and a minor in Religious Studies. Though I love going to school in northern California, I am a proud Minnesotan at heart. Given my passion for ministry and mental health, after college I hope to do mission work and attend graduate school for psychology or social work. When I am not conducting research in Catholic ethics, I enjoy reading, painting and being outdoors with friends and family."