They actually change lives of collegians! The St. Vincent de Paul Center, provides the opportuniy to meet Christ in ways they had not expected. Sr. Pat Evanic, DC writes “January brought students from Niagara and St. John’s University, two of our Vincentian Universities, to Germantown Philadelphia Pa. to do a week of service.” (Visit the photo albums of these plunges)
The reactions from St. John’s University students speak volumes…
- Through this experience, Christina Ciavattoni ’14C, who recently transferred to St. John’s, felt she connected with the University community. “This experience has changed my life,” she said. “I am a stronger individual than I was before this plunge. I have learned about myself through those I served and through my team.”
- Jordan Bouchard ’14C, student plunge leader, and James Behan ’04CPS, ’10G, campus minister, led the group in a variety of service projects geared to expose students to service, simple community life and solidarity with the poor and disadvantaged. Activities included helping at an adult day-care facility and after-school programs; assisting with the sorting and upkeep of two thrift stores; serving lunch to homeless men at a local shelter; visiting the Vincentian fathers and brothers in residence at St. Catherine’s Infirmary—the provincial Vincentian nursing home; and volunteering at the house renovation division of Inn Dwelling, a nonprofit organization that helps low-income families in the area.
- “Throughout the week, we all worked hard to make sure each and every one of us could make it through the tasks that may have been hard for us,” said Katherine Archilla ’15C. “We worked, laughed, and made friends together.”
Niagara University sponsored BASIC (Brothers And Sisters In Christ) service immersion trips to Philadelphia January 5-12, 2013.
Students indeed met Christ in Philadelphia whether it is at St. John’s hospice, at Whosoever Gospel Mission, Mercy, or with Paul at Indwelling. The face of Christ shone through the children at Holy Name School and the variety of the people the students met through the Sandwich Ministry in Camden. Being open to the spirituality of presence to all those they encountered seem to impact them the most.
The Niagarans wanted to provide hope and be the hands and heart of Jesus as so many people they met in that week were Jesus and provided hope for them.
Not surprisingly the students are already making plans to any if not all of the following: go back to their sites, sign-up for the next BASIC trip to Greensboro, NC in March, and not to mention recruit other students for these Vincentian experiences.
The St. Vincent de Paul Center provides opportunities for youth (high school) and young adults (college and post – college):
- To serve for and with the poor and marginalized on a short term basis (a day to a week);
- To reflect upon their experience and the impact the poor and marginalized have had on their lives, how they can continue to serve as their return to their schools, communities, and families;
- To experience and form community among themselves and with the poor and marginalized;
- To learn about the Vincentian Charism, Catholic Social Justice teaching, causes of poverty, possible solutions and systemic change.