By Mary Louise Pabello
We come from different walks of life, yet our paths cross here.
By: Nikki Munsayac
I just came back from the Loretto Mid-Year Retreat and had a lot of time to reflect since starting this service year six months ago (and wow time definitely flies quickly). We spent Sunday and Monday at Rockhaven Ecozoic center in House Springs, Missouri and I have to say- it’s one of my favorite places to disconnect here in the Midwest.
Here’s what I came to realize:
I have done a pretty good job balancing work and fun. Work wise- it’s been amazing! Every day is a different day, some are slower than others and it has taught me to appreciate my down time. Other days I’m jumping from meeting to meeting or sporadically being paged by a staff member. I’m definitely utilizing my degree in Health Science and all the skills I learned from my previous non-academic commitments in college as a facilitator and a mentor. As for fun, I spend my time binge watching TV shows (of course) like How To Get Away With Murder and Grey’s Anatomy, exploring local bookstores, coffee shops, museums (which are free!!), brunch diners, going to concerts, and traveling! I’ve visited/driven through about six states and in a few weeks I’ll be flying to New York for the first time!
By: Natalie Gaviria
I’m at a loss for words lately. Maybe it’s because I can’t quite sum up everything I’ve been feeling for the last few months since the election. While I could ramble on about my frustrations I think I’d rather make a gratitude list as a reminder of how much there is to be conscious of and thankful for. This is a practice I’m currently trying to deepen. If you’d like to practice or gain more insight check out happify or the global appreciation project!
I am so grateful for..
What a Sukkah Can Teach Us About the Refugee Crisis...Or Why Jews Must Welcome the Stranger, the Muslim Immigrant
By: Abby Holtzman
Abby is from West Newton, MA and graduated from Swarthmore College in PA in 2016 with a degree in psychology and English. This year Abby is working as an Associate Producer at Interfaith Voices, a public radio show about religion run by Loretto Sister Maureen Fiedler in Washington, DC. She is a member of IfNotNow, a movement grounded in the values of the Jewish tradition and dedicated to ending American Jewish support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
In 1939, Ruth Kurschner and her mother came to the United States on one of the last boats of Jewish refugees allowed into the country. She was four. Because of the United States’ quotas on immigrants from certain countries, her Polish father had to stay behind, and her mother couldn’t take care of her alone. Ruth ended up living at the Shield of David Home for Orphans, a Jewish charity, in New York City. Fifty years later, Ruth’s daughter married my uncle Jim.
A few Passover seders later, Ruth was telling her story and said she couldn’t remember - was the orphanage in Brooklyn or the Bronx? My great aunt piped up.
“It was in the Bronx,” she said.
How did she know that? Because it turns out that my great-grandmother had worked there. And my grandfather had grown up going to the birthday parties of all of the young girls. So Ruth’s daughter had ended up marrying into the family that had helped save her mother’s life.
By: Lizette Guevara
Lizette is from Merced, CA and graduated from St. Mary’s college of California in 2016 with a degree in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies. This year she is working on the legal team at Bread for the City, a large social service non-profit in Washington, DC.
After much thought and consideration, I have decided to use my reflection to write about a topic that I’m sure we’re all so tired of reading about: the election. Although I know this subject has been the center of most discourse throughout the country, I want to share my personal connection to it and how it has affected my service year in ways I could have never fathomed were possible.
When I accepted my placement earlier in the year I knew that the election was going to play a role in my service year, especially living in D.C., but to be completely honest I thought it would mean celebratory post inauguration parties with punny themes that mock white feminism and endless memes roasting Donald Trump/ his supporters.
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.
By: Abby Holtzman
Abby is from West Newton, MA and graduated from Swarthmore College in PA in 2016 with a degree in psychology and English. This year Abby is working as an Associate Producer at Interfaith Voices, a public radio show about religion run by Loretto Sister Maureen Fiedler in Washington, DC.
I love stories, and I think one of the reasons for it is that storytelling doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t think in narrative - I think in moments. A narrative is a necklace of moments, strung together in a particular way. But I’m still learning how to do that - that stringing, the gathering together of things that are different and finding a path through them so that they are still different but also contingent on each other.
By: Glen Bradley
Glen is from Kansas City, Missouri and graduated from Santa Clara University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce as a marketing major and English minor. This year, Glen is working at New Ways Ministry and writing for their online news journal.
My past few months at New Ways Ministry have prompted me to revisit the pope’s call for Catholics to learn about mercy. With the Jubilee Year of Mercy soon to end, I have looked back on reflections from the past year with new insight from my time at New Ways Ministry.
By: Nikki Munsayac
Nikki Munsayac is from Tracy, CA and graduated in 2016 from St. Mary’s College of California where she majored in Allied Health Science. This year Nikki is working as a Wellness Coordinator at Family Care Health Centers in St. Louis.
Looking back at this time last year, I was a couple months into my senior year of undergrad. Currently, I’m a couple months into my service year as a Loretto Volunteer.
Here is what I have gathered so far:
By: Merette Khalil
Merette is from Cairo, Egypt and graduated from St. Louis University in 2016 with a degree in Public Health, Business, Managment, Int'l Studies and Local/Global Social Justice Studies. This year Merette is working as a Patient Advocate at the Community of Hope Family Health and Birth Center in Washington, DC.
Where did the time go?! How is it almost October already?! I still remember my first day… it was a memorable one, to say the least, but as I boarded the metro, I read a poem, a powerful prayer, perfectly-timed, and challenging. The prayer by Joyce Rupp on New Beginnings, forced one to imagine one’s self at a gate and observe its shape, size, color, and more importantly, the detailed symbols (words or phrase) etched, greeting you as you walk in, capturing its significance and your hope. I giggled at God’s irony and sense of humor with such a perfect reflection for a first day.
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.