LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — For more than 40 years, Romuald Chinetsky, OFM, has quietly served Siena College. The 80-year-old college guestmaster has dedicated his life to cultivating what many people on campus take for granted — Siena’s hospitable atmosphere.
“He taught us how to welcome,” said Siena president Kevin Mullen, OFM, before presenting Romuald with the school’s highest award, the St. Bernardine of Siena Medal.
The award was given at a May 20 event attended by 20 of the college’s friars, almost the entire Siena OFM staff. Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, represented Holy Name’s Provincial Office.
The award, like the college, is named for St. Bernardine of Siena, the 15th century Franciscan friar whose popular style of preaching drew crowds and earned him the title of Patron Saint of Communications Workers.
There have been 16 previous recipients of the St. Bernardine of Siena Medal since its inception in 1999. Past recipients include Hollis E. Harrington, Raymond C. Kennedy, John E. Mack III, Kenneth T. Lally, Thelma P. Lally, James Anthony Nealy Jr., J. Patrick Barrett, Thomas J. Murphy, Jack Quinn, John J. Dawson Esq., Betsey Harvey, Father Mychal Judge/911 Rescue Team, F. Thomas Roach, Robert A. McCormick, Phyllis E. Dake and Joseph L. Bruno.
While the normally reserved Romuald does not possess St. Bernardine’s flair for the dramatic, Kevin said he exemplifies Bernardine’s commitment to serving neighbors in need.
Romuald, he said, is a master chef and baker who takes pride in caring for his fellow friars.
“Romuald’s preaching is not with words, it is through his example,” said Kevin, who decided to give him the award.
Over the years, Romuald developed a deep connection with members of Siena’s facilities staff. “They are all my brothers,” he said.
Those brothers joined family and friends of Romuald in St. Mary of the Angels Chapel for the feast of St. Bernardine of Siena Mass.
Romuald said he was surprised by the honor. Still, he humbly received the medal the same way he has handled everything in his vocation. “I want to share this medal with everyone at Siena,” he said.
— Ken Jubie, an alumnus of Siena, is the college’s media relations specialist.