2018 Alumna of the Year

Rebecca Osborn ('07)

Rebecca Osborn graduated from the Templeton Honors College in 2007.  Hailing from Maryland, Rebecca currently resides in Nunavut, Canada where she is an Assistant Priest at St. Jude’s Cathedral, Diocese of the Arctic, in the Anglican Church of Canada. She is also a wife, mother of three young girls, and an entrepreneur.

Rebecca OsbornShe was in Dr. Guelzo’s last incoming cohort, and she remembers that he and other professors from the Honors College profoundly challenged her.

What stands out to her are not only the Great Books but also activities like the Freshman Debate Competition that all freshmen used to participate in.  Rebecca studied Anthropology and Missions and minored in Theology and Spanish, and she graduated having been challenged to live in community with people who are genuinely different from herself.

After graduating, Rebecca went on to get married and attend Trinity School of  Ministry in Pittsburgh, PA along with her husband, Jared. She founded her own yarn dyeing company, Osborn Fiber Studio, where she dyed yarn with natural ingredients.  Her mother has since taken over the company as Colorstorms. Rebecca continues to write about crafting and theology, and publishes the occasional knitting pattern, on her blog.  In seminary, Rebecca and her husband were inspired by the way the church serves the local community. They found a home at in Nunavut, Canada, where they serve the mostly Inuit community there in the Anglican church.  

She and her husband have been faithfully serving the Inuit people for three years, a resilient community that struggles with persistent social and economic hardships.  Rebecca and her family are bringing hope to that community, and we are proud to honor her as our Templeton Alumna of the Year.

“I’ve been engaging more deeply this fall with my job of raising small humans and caring for the physical needs of my family. It’s a complete renegotiation of self-control, self-gift, boundaries, and time. I’m looking for my equilibrium, knowing there will always be fluctuations in the equation. At the same time, there’s been a theme in my spinning. I keep finding myself spinning woolen prep worsted style.

What that means, … is that I’m taking a very disorganized jumble of fibers, and spinning it with short, controlled movements. But jumbled fibers, even when spun with controlled movements, are never going to become a smooth, shiny, dense worsted yarn. What they do become is something really wonderful. When you take the inherent zaniness of woolen prep … and carefully spin it into even, worsted singles, you get a yarn ready for conventional knitting, but with so much texture and character.

The key is to just relax and do the work. I don’t want to control this wool into perfection. That’s not the look I’m going for. I want this yarn to be more interesting, to have a little more character than a totally worsted singles. I know that because I’m using a controlled draft, it will come out as even as I need it to.

When I was first married, I had a really weird relationship with housework and order. I’d grown up in a very tidy house, but was not very tidy myself. I did my best to keep house, but without the inclination or skill set, there just wasn’t any reason to keep really clean except to be neurotic and controlling. I’ve let go of a lot of that control now. Now I’m doing something different. I’m keeping house, and working hard at it, but it’s for the sake of three tiny whirlwinds of joyful creativity, and their long-suffering daddy. I’m not cleaning to clean. I’m cleaning to give them a space for creativity and joy.

This is what I’m trying to remember: I’m not trying to control anything. I’m just doing the work. I don’t want a perfect result. I want all the texture and mess and color and vibrancy that comes from children and their creativity and inquiry. I am cleaning the table so that they can make a mess in the morning. I am making food they like so that they will have the energy to go outside and get covered in mud.

Equilibrium … is less a place you find and more of a wave you ride. I don’t really get it. I’m still falling off a lot. But the great thing about a spinning metaphor is this: no matter how much you mess up, as long as you’re doing the work at all, you’ll end up with beautiful yarn. You can always work with what you get.”

an excerpt from a recent blog post Rebecca wrote entitled "Control vs. Hard Work"