Top-10 Catholic College in America: Death is not the End

College Consensus ranks Siena number nine on its list of top Catholic colleges in America. Siena’s Franciscan and Catholic heritage represents the heartbeat of our Mission and inspires our person-centered values. We’re especially reminded of St. Francis on October 3.

Death is not the end, but rather a passage to a new form of life.

Siena observed Transitus on Tuesday evening, to mark the end of St. Francis of Assisi’s earthly life and the beginning of his life in heaven. Students from different faith traditions – Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Christian – each shared reflections on the nature of life and death from their own religions.

“While scholars and rabbis have argued many interpretations of a Jewish afterlife over many years, they all agree that death is not the end of our existence,” said Michael Schneider ’26. “Those who do good and work to keep their soul pure in this lifetime will be reunited with their creator and their loved ones in the afterlife, whatever that may look like.” 

Maryam Jaffri ’25 shared that the Quran encapsulates a profound aspect of the Islamic perspective on death and the afterlife. 

“Who, when faced with a disaster, say, 'Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we will all return,'" she read. “This powerful statement reflects the essence of the Muslim worldview when confronted with adversity, including the inevitable reality of death. It serves as a reminder of the transient nature of this world and the certainty of our return to God.”

The Hindu perspective was shared by Harini Karnati ’25, who believe that death is not the end and is simply a pathway to another life based on karma. 

“Hindus generally believe in transmigration, rebirth and the belief in karma. The whole process of rebirth, is called samsara (the cycle of life, death and reincarnation until liberation or moksha is achieved), with no clear beginning or end. The Bhagavad Gita encourages us to live life with purity, strength, discipline, honesty, kindness and integrity. In this way we can find our purpose and live it fully.” 

Followers of the Christian tradition, said Isaiah Korostil ’24 and Maria Fitian '24, believe in the resurrection of their Lord, Jesus Christ. 

“Through His Resurrection, we were saved and given new life.”

They quoted Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who said that the resurrection is comprised of three meetings: the body and spirit as two reunited friends; the meeting of nations and races of the whole of history; and our meeting with God. 

“Thus, the resurrection means transition from the world of sensation to the world of spirits.

In the resurrection we acquire spiritual senses which differ from earthly material ones.

The new senses see the spirits and spiritualities and are dazzled by them.” 

Transitus began with readings in the Chapel, followed by a candlelight procession to the Grotto. 

Led by Siena’s Franciscan friars, Transitus (Latin for “crossing”) is observed each fall with an October 3 evening liturgy and procession heralding St. Francis’ October 4 feast day.