New Students

A Message from the Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life, Fall 2018:

Dear Class of 2022, new students, transfers and Frances Perkins Scholars:

Welcome to Mount Holyoke!

It is my honor and privilege to send you greetings from all of us at the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL). Congratulations! You are now a part of an amazingly diverse campus community, which includes a rich religious and spiritual culture. We celebrate our religious and spiritual pluralism.

We welcome all who come through our doors - regardless of personal beliefs or practices - and provide sacred space for all MHC truth-seekers. Some of our students have practiced a particular tradition since birth while others have recently awakened to something new growing within them; and still others come to our programs simply to be with those who share an openness to engage on contemporary issues related to religious and spiritual cultures.

Our Mount Holyoke student community has a significant international student population that provides a unique opportunity to explore and experience widely life’s meanings through varied religious and spiritual lenses. Religious literacy is important to shaping our global understanding and work for social justice and peace.

As for sacred space, we are fortunate to have the Eliot House including its beautiful and unique Wa-Shin-An Teahouse and Garden, Abbey Memorial Chapel and Abbey Interfaith Sanctuary. All of our buildings are open to everyone. You are welcome to come to formal church service, meditation group,  or simply enjoy a personal contemplative moment. We value the need to unplug and to just be, and encourage you to find your special space for solitude.

One of our most popular programs is our Interfaith Lunch known as IFL. We gather weekly on Wednesdays at noon for a vegetarian lunch of soup and salad and engage in a wide range of conversations on questions of faith, spirituality, and social justice in an ever-changing world. If you enjoy good food and good conversation, don’t miss this favorite MHC community activity!

We also offer a weekly Jumma Halal Lunch and Prayer, Kabbalat Shabbat, Roman Catholic Mass, Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation, Students in Hinduism Reaching Inward (SHRI) Puja and Discussion, Interfaith Council Dinner & Dialogue, Muslima Conversation, Monthly Community Shabbat Dinner, Pagan/Wiccan Tea Time, Unitarian Universalist Gatherings, and tours and occasional tea ceremonies in the Japanese Teahouse.

If you would like to receive email notices from a particular faith group regarding their events, you can fill out the Faith Group Contact Request Form. And be sure to visit our Facebook page and “like” us at Religious and Spiritual Life at Mount Holyoke College.

Every space and offering is open to everyone, no exceptions! If you have a disability and would like to attend any event in Eliot House, please contact Annie Clattenburg at 413-538-2054 or one week in advance of the event to discuss your accommodation needs. We strive to model the inclusion that is at the heart of our many faiths and philosophical leanings.

We are here to listen, guide, walk, and learn with you as you begin this new adventure. We look forward to welcoming you to Mount Holyoke College very soon!


Annette M. McDermott
Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life

On behalf of the Eliot House Staff, College Chaplains, and Religious Advisors