By: Hannah Dorfman
Hannah Dorfman is from Columbus, OH and graduated in 2015 from Tufts University where she double majored in religious studies and American studies. This year Hannah is working at the Women’s Alliance for Theology Ethics and Ritual (WATER) in Silver Spring, MD with Mary Hunt and Diann Neu, two dear friends of Loretto.
It feels like yesterday, the first night my housemates and I sat down to dine in our new home. After what seemed like a lifetime in a crowded van, we arrived to a home-cooked meal provided by former Loretto Volunteers. We were restless from our journey, but there was an air of anticipation for what was to come--the relief of knowing we had reached our destination, the place we would soon make our own. Before we began, we took hands and each shared a simple gratitude. Mine was, and still is: community.
At orientation, we discussed what community meant to us in the abstract. We set goals, reflected on our communication styles, made grocery lists, etc. Seeing how these ideas have been put into practice has been uniquely gratifying. With intention, we have built a home of laughter, support, discernment, challenge, and understanding. We have become part of a larger Loretto Community that has accepted us with open arms. I have entered the WATER community with colleagues who mentor and nourish me every day. I want to take this time to thank them all.
I thank my community for support.
My Loretto experience did not start out the way I had imagined. After an exciting first day, I eagerly rode my bike home to tell my housemates about WATER. However, I woke up in an ambulance instead. Shocked, scared, and in tremendous pain, a difficult transition was made even more difficult by an unexpected accident. I came home to housemates who cooked me fabulous meals, a mother who dropped everything to care for me, colleagues who called daily to ask about my progress, and countless letters of healing and well wishes from Sisters of Loretto around the country. Never once did I feel alone in my recovery, and for that, I am grateful.
I thank my community for laughter
Every night our dinner table is filled with laughter. It is infectious, it energizes me. When I am with my housemates, I feel like I can be unapologetically myself. For that, I am grateful.
I thank my community for compassion
Throughout my Loretto experience thus far, I have felt the embrace of compassion. My community has taken the time to get to know me, to understand my passions, quirks, fears, and hopes. In turn, they have shared their stories with me and opened themselves to the vulnerability that compassion requires. For that, I am grateful.
I thank my community for growth
Living and working with others is not always easy. I am thankful to my housemates for the give-and-take that is required to build a comfortable space and for constantly challenging my assumptions. You have pushed me to grow in ways I did not imagine, and I know this will only continue throughout our year together. Thank you to my WATER colleagues for teaching me the value of critical thinking, collaboration, and resilience. Every day, I leave the office invigorated in the pursuit of equity and justice. I am thankful to the Loretto Community for showing me how to live boldly with love, and for that, I am grateful.
In Their Own Words
We invite you to get to know Loretto Volunteers and the program here. Volunteers introduce themselves and reflect on their experiences.