by Ariana Sanchez
Ariana is serving as the Community Service Associate at Nerinx Hall High School in St. Louis, MO.
A few weeks ago, most of my time and energy was spent on preparing for the Senior Retreat at Nerinx Hall High School. The senior retreat is a very special time in the life of a high school student and is a memory that I personally remember fondly. Being given the opportunity to work on this retreat and plan it was therefore an exciting opportunity. This year, we decided that the theme for the retreat would be, “Dare to be Known.” The small group discussions and the various activities that were planned for the seniors all encouraged them to reflect on how to dare to be their true and authentic self.
While on the retreat, there was an opportunity for the students to have some time for solitude. As they went off, I was grateful for a little respite from the business of leading a retreat. Soon though, as I looked down at my folder with the words, “Dare to be Known” written boldly across the cover, I began to wonder – am I living up to the best of my abilities? Am I being my best self? Am I daring to be known?
Now that I have had more time to think about it, I am realizing that all of the experiences that I have had so far at Nerinx have indeed helped me to know myself better. One of the reasons I decided to do a year of service was to gain experience with working in Campus Ministry and to figure out if that was something that I wanted to pursue. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but even working here for a couple months was enough to convince me to apply to graduate school in order to study theology and ministry so that I may be better prepared to minster to others. Now that we are nearly done with the third quarter, I am happy to say that I know I made the right decision.
Every day I am blessed with something that reiterates that going into Campus Ministry is the right thing for me to do. Sometimes it is something significant, like a senior coming up to me after retreat and telling me how grateful she was for the opportunity to reconcile some things between classmates. Other times, it's something smaller, like having a student drop into Campus Ministry during her free period just because she wanted to chat – and probably to sit in our awesome rocking chairs too.
I still have not decided where I’m going to go to grad school yet - it’s between Notre Dame and Boston College, any advice? - but I am confident that wherever I end up, I am going to learn things that will allow me to be my true and authentic self. And since this will be my last reflection, I would also like to say how grateful I am to the Loretto Volunteer Program for allowing me the time and opportunities to better understand my calling. I dared to know myself and to figure out what I wanted to do with my future and I am pleased to say that I am very happy with the results.
In Their Own Words
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