Ariana is a Loretto Volunteer serving in the campus ministry department at Nerinx Hall High School, a Loretto-founded girls' high school in St. Louis. She is from Pasadena, CA and recently graduated from Loyola Marymount University.
What have you been doing at your placement?
As a campus minister at Nerinx Hall High School, I’ve been keeping busy doing a number of things. Most recently I was preparing for the sophomore retreat. I met with students who had a role in the retreat, made sure we had supplies, and took care of logistical matters such as making booklets for all the students, making name tags, and creating a schedule for the faculty chaperones. Aside from this, I’ve also helped with the planning of liturgies. So far we’ve had the welcome liturgy, a liturgy that was held for grandparents, and a liturgy celebrating our Loretto heritage. Next on the to do list is preparing for the Junior retreat which is in a couple of weeks as well as working on the All Saint’s Day retreat which is coming soon. I also act as a moderator for a new faith-sharing group that was just formed this year and I am a site moderator for Outreach – a service club at Nerinx. Each week, with students in the club, I volunteer at Marian Middle School and ensure that things run smoothly at the site. So, exciting stuff!
What is one thing you love about community living?
One seemingly obvious thing about community living that I love is, well, the community. There is a very apparent sense of community and togetherness, which has been achieved in our house – even though we’ve only been together for a couple of months. Living with each other, eating meals with each other, and exploring the city together on weekends ensures that there’s always something to do and always someone to talk to. We’ve created a safe environment where everyone is free to be themselves.
What has been one surprise, challenge or learning this year?
A challenge for me so far this year has been having to wake up early. After going to college where my earliest class was at noon, waking up to a single digit number has been less than appealing. But in all seriousness, this has been part of a larger challenge in becoming more mature. Not that I was immature before this, but my priorities were different. I was concerned only about myself: studying for my classes, worrying about my grades etc. Now, I’ve expanded my consciousness to others and have taken more responsibility. I think about our community stipend and getting groceries for everyone. I think about our community space and to keep it clean in order to be respectful to my roommates. And I think about getting enough sleep so I can be better prepared to be a better campus minister for the Nerinx community. Quite frankly, it’s a lesson in growing up. And sometimes, that can be a challenge.
What do you value about your relationship with the Loretto Community?
I value everything about my relationship with the Loretto Community. That is not even an exaggeration. Knowing that I have the Loretto sisters right next door is very comforting. They were so welcoming from the day that I met them. They always invite us to have mass with them on Sunday mornings. We even get to have breakfast with them afterwards! Talking to them and sharing stories is always a fantastic way to start of the week. The greater Loretto community through co-members who live in the St. Louis area are also a great addition. They too, are exceptionally friendly and welcoming. They are always ready to invite us to a potluck or ice cream social that is occurring. It’s nice knowing that there is a community who is already ready to help and support us in any way they can.
What advice do you have for someone considering doing a year of service?
I knew that I wanted to do a year of service because, quite simply enough, I wanted to do service. So, if someone is considering doing a year of service the first thing I’d ask is: are you passionate about service? Do you get excited about the prospect of offering your talents to those who need it most? If so, then I’d say you’re on the right path. So my advice? Try to find a program that matches you in values and ideals. Find a program that offers an area of service that you are interested in. Find a program that feels like a good fit. For me, that was Loretto all the way.
The Loretto Volunteer Program pairs young adults with social justice organizations for a formative year of service. Through meaningful work and communal living, volunteers live out the Loretto Community's mission to work for justice and act for peace - guided by the core values of social justice, community, simplicity and spirituality. Winner of the 2013 Call To Action Leadership Award, the Loretto Volunteer Program proudly prepares young adults to begin lives of public service.
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