Welcome to Gio’s “Idols of Inspiration” where I interview various members of staff, students, and professors from all over the University of St. Francis (USF) campus. After having the pleasure of interviewing Ruth Nelson, my next guest is someone we know that is always gives wise pieces of advice and inspiration. No matter what time of day, this person enjoys having company and conversation of anyone here at USF. This person is also very much involved with their faith and spiritually immersed in her studies as a former Theology major. Hint: She enjoys participating at the annual trivia night competitions at USF every year.
Any Guesses as to who this might be?
If you guessed Sister Gayle Lynn Rusbasan, then you’re correct. Sister Gayle is a Franciscan Sister OSF and the Assistant Director of Campus Ministry here at USF. She professed her perpetual vows as a Franciscan Sister of the Sacred Heart on August 2, 2008. She is actually originally from Merrillville, Indiana and was a member of the St. Andrew the Apostle Church. She received her BA in Theology and Philosophy from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, IN and her MA in English from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN. She ministered before as a campus minister at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, IN. Let’s learn more about her in my interview.
Giovanni Alvarado: How is your family, do you have any brothers and sisters?
Sr. Gayle Rusbasan: I have two younger brothers and between them they have 6 kids, so I have 5 nephews and a niece. My mom is still alive, but my dad passed away just a year ago. I love my family and enjoy spending time with them.
GA: What made you want to work here and be a part of the USF community?
SGR: I like working here at USF particularly because it is a Franciscan institution, and as a Franciscan Sister it works very well with my life. Also, in University Ministry I get to work with students primarily and I don’t have to assess or grade them. I just get to walk with them and watch them grow. So, in the end, it’s an overall very personal, fulfilling experience for me.
GA: How many years have you served here?
SGR: This is only my second year here at USF but I have worked in Campus Ministry for 10 years.
GA: What is the best part of working here?
SGR: It really is working with the students more than anything. I love this age group you guys are still in. There is still a little bit of kid in you but you’re also starting to become adults and yet you guys still manage to have fun. So, I love that mix with what you guys can do, it’s just amazing to me.
GA: What is your own personal mission while working here?
SGR: To show God’s love and compassion and to be God’s instrument. To show to students that God loves them, I love them and that they're valued. That there will never be “one” of them again in existence, that they are unique. So, make the best of who you are and can be at this moment in time. That’s my personal mission.
GA: What are your hobbies, interests and talents? Anything people should know more about you?
SGR: One of my goals in life is to be on Jeopardy! The online text is coming next month, whenever it pops up, I try to take it. It would be really awesome if I could make it someday. I’m also a big fan of Pinterest and re-purposing things. It’s kind of that creative side that helps feed my soul.
GA: What is your favorite film and who is your favorite musical artist or song?
SGR: One of them, it sounds cliché, but its The Sound of Music. I love that movie, I feel like I know almost everything single word and dialogue, certainly every single song. My favorite song would actually also be from The Sound of Music called “Climb Every Mountain,” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein ll. It’s about following every rainbow until you follow your dream. In my life, God was showing me the way in many instances through rainbows throughout my life. I see that as God’s little, you know, “I’m with you sign.” They came at times when I really needed to see him. So yeah, every time I see a rainbow, I love it and take it in.
GA: What is one inspirational quote or piece of advice you would like to share with the people reading this?
SGR: Trust yourself, your intuition, your feelings and your heart of what it’s telling you. People have tried to get me to go in one direction and it’s like, every fiber on my body was screaming, “This is not where I’m suppose to go!” It can be hard to say no to people or go your own direction. For example, I majored in Theology in college, but it really won’t exactly get you any money but that was passion in the end. Just trust that God will always know how to make it work. But you have to be where you suppose to in order to be truly happy. There is really no other way around it, just trust yourself.
As the interview came to its conclusion, I thanked Sister Gayle for allowing me to learn more about her and her experience serving the community. It was great having a simple conversation about life. We both learned that all of us have our own way of approaching life with its many obstacles and blessings. Most importantly, as Sister Gayle suggested, we must never forget the importance of achieving and following your dreams of what we want to become, because the sky is not our limit, it’s what we choose it to