Q&A With Contemplatives in Action Leaders


Alex Rider '18, Features Editor

You may know them as the architects of Montrose’s successful first All-School Day of Service held on Friday, January 19. Take a minute to learn more about Olivia Hastie ‘18 and Nora Cahill ‘19 and the CIA of Montrose, in an Alex Rider Exclusive InterviewTM.

AR: “So, how and why did you create ‘Contemplatives in Action?’ What was the motivation behind it? How were you inspired to go about doing this?”

NC: “The summer before my sophomore year, I went to a Jesuit summer camp. I love Saint Ignatius and the Jesuits, and Olivia’s family is very involved with Holy Cross [The College of the Holy Cross is a college with a Jesuit mission and an emphasis on service], so she’s been exposed to the Jesuits as well….”

OH: “And one day last year, I walked up to Nora and said ‘Million Dollar Idea Alert! We’re starting a Jesuit organization here at Montrose!’ Although that has shifted to just a Catholic service organization, our inspiration does come from the Jesuits. ‘Contemplatives in Action’ is a phrase they use a lot, meaning to apply faith with service, not just doing one or the other alone. ‘Women and Men for Others’ is another common phrase among the Jesuits, but at Montrose this is obviously modified to just ‘Women for Others.’”


AR: “And the title ‘Contemplatives in Action’ really sends the message that you’re deeply considering the needs of others and putting those thoughts into action, and making them a reality. I also find that to be at the heart of the Jesuit mission, and the connection between that and your Catholic club to be interesting. So, what is the overall mission for Contemplatives in Action?…If there is a mission statement that you have in mind when you think about this organization….”

OH: “I would say revival.”

NC: “Yes. We’ve been talking about this a lot… Mrs. Elrod really helped us get this club off the ground, and Mrs. Schiller is our faculty advisor, so we were talking to both of them, and they’ve told us how wonderful they think it is that we’re having this group as the place to go for service at Montrose, and they think that it will help to revive the culture of service that we have at this school.”

OH: “And obviously this year’s big goal, or big mission, is the All-School Day of Service in January. It will be a great opportunity for Montrose to connect with the communities around us, and serve in ways that we might not ordinarily.”


AR: “Going from that: What are some smaller service projects that you have in mind for throughout the year?”

NC: “This year our theme is ‘Women Helping Women,’ so we’re going to aim for a lot of projects that focus around women’s issues, such as Prematurity Awareness Month, which focuses on the health of babies and moms, Dignity Matters, and Room to Grow, which is a nonprofit in Boston that furnishes the needs of women and babies ages 0-3 within the Boston area who live below the poverty line. We’re trying to do a service project for every grade to host and take charge of, along the lines of an awareness drive or campaign.”