Building Community in St. Louis
by Katie Hughes
Katie is serving as the Wellness Coordinator at Family Care Health Centers in St. Louis. The St. Louis volunteer community currently consists of two women - but we are excited to welcome a third Loretto Volunteer into the community this week.
The St Louis Volunteers, Katie and Kathleen
As we sat in the Loretto Motherhouse and discussed community, one of the four pillars of our volunteer program, I wondered how I would fare in a two person “community.” I felt a little jealous that the DC house would have 5 members (plus one at the satellite campus!). I knew that myself and my roommate Kathleen in St. Louis and also our fellow member Shawna in New York City would definitely have a different experience with community in our daily lives. I knew that community meant support, and collaboration, but I was still unsure about how it would play out for me in my new surroundings.
As Kathleen and I have settled into our routine, I have come to know my own version of community. First, I have a wonderful roommate with whom I more than get along with. Kathleen and I have bonded over a shared love of cupcakes and belting songs on the way home. We are supportive of each other, and we know when to listen and when to vent. We also have the support from our local coordinator, Claudia, who is a great resource to have and is the best at showing support and love in little ways.
I have also found community from the sisters living nearby. We first met many of them at a welcoming party, and they have been supportive and hospitable ever since. I always make sure to check my mail every day, because I never know who I will run into and get to chat with. This past Friday, I stumbled upon a pizza party that some sisters put together to watch the Cardinals game. They insisted that I stay to eat, which was a great way to end the work week.
There is also community outside of Loretto. Kathleen works with two volunteers from different programs in the St. Louis area. We were invited to a potluck dinner at one of their houses, and we got to meet almost everyone in the programs. It was nice to get to know some fellow volunteers who are going through the same experiences as we are. A housewarming party at our place is in the works!
I have found that my definition of community living is not limited to the place where you reside. For me, it is a feeling of support and love from the sisters that I interact with. It is bonding and finding solidarity with my roommate and other volunteers. That being said, we are lucky to add one more to our wonderful community very soon! Jillian, we are so excited to have you join us in St. Louis and be a part of the Loretto community!
10/15/2012 10:47:43 am
Great article Katie!! Loved reading it and hearing about your take on community. Yes, you have the essence...it doesn't take numbers...it is all about love, support and bonding. Can't wait to be with the 3 of you soon! Love you....
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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.