One Day More…with Carolyn

bodyImageSo I have been blessed in these early days at Canisius with the gift of Carolyn Birner. In short, she’s a character and has been an institution at Campus Ministry for three decades. She was kind enough to delay her retirement to stay with my predecessor Lu Firestone, who served as the interim director while they searched for a permanent director (‘lil ol’ me!).

And then, as if that was not enough, Carolyn gave me the gift of a full month of being with me in the early going of this new job to make sure I got acclimated to the place. And she has indeed been gift to me. Dayenu!

Tomorrow is her last day here at Canisius and we will have a small celebration. After more than three decades of work she deserves a wonderful time of retirement with her family.

So thanks Carolyn, simply for being you. You have made my transition so much easier simply by being you. The students especially will miss you and I’m programming your phone to be on speed dial for the inevitable day that we need to know “What the heck do we do NOW?”

My new motto for the office is a simple one: WWCD. What would Carolyn do? And it will remind us to be warm, inviting and to always go the extra mile for the students here at Canisius, because that is what you have been for so many people who have passed through these doors. While it has only been one month, it has been a wonderful one filled with much love and laughter. As I did my daily examen over the course of the month, many times my moments of grace were of you.

So blessings, friend. And know that as we gather around the table here you are united with us at your table wherever you are.

For now, let’s just enjoy the moment. For tomorrow…you ride!

Join the Conversation


  1. I have known Carolyn and her family for many years. She is, indeed, a blessing to many. Glad you had the opportunity to know her Mike, even if only for a short time.


  2. Such beautiful words in regards to a beautiful lady! As her daughter, I am thrilled for her to be able to retire, but make no mistake her Canisius family means as much to her as her own family does. Each one of “her” students was indeed one of “her kids” and all of her friends are family to her. Most days she she came home with a story about one of her kids who did something she was proud to share or a request that we pray for someone who needed some extra prayers. Many times I heard” Say an extra prayer tonight.” Most times we didn’t know for who or what but as Gramsicle (as we call her) says “God knows.” She has touched so many lives in her three decades at Canisius, but also know her life and her family has been touched by knowing all of you! God bless and may you always hold her in your hearts and prayers as she will always hold you in hers.


  3. You have captured the wonderful spirit of my dear friend Carolyn in this blog. Thanks for the gentle reminder to all of us of the blessing she is and will continue to be to our world. Her deep faith, warm smile and deep wisdom will always be part of the fabric of Canisius and our community. I am certain that the Holy Spirit will be dancing around her inviting her to a new chapter to unfold before her.


  4. Carolyn, She is the sweetest, sincerest, kindness and most compassionate friend that I have ever met. Michael you have hit the nail right on the head when you talked about my dear friend Carolyn. I have needed her strong, and compassionate ways more times then I can mention with personal needs. She was always there for a helping hand or just to listen. Carolyn, enjoy your retirement with your family. Thank you for being such a true blue friend you certainly will be missed. The Campus Ministry office won’t be the same without you. God keep you in his tender loving care. 🙂


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