St. John’s University students have been invited and challenged to enter into the experience of Blessed Rosalie Rendu and Frederic Ozanam in the Freshman Rendu Plunge August 21-25 2015.
Almost 200 years ago a fellow student at the premier university in Paris challenged Frederic by asking where was God in the life of those suffering from poverty. Frederic realized he did not know and turned to a Daughter of Charity, Rosalie Rendu, the Mother Theresa of his day, for help in finding God in the midst of such suffering. Forty-six freshmen and 12 student leaders, on both the Queens and Staten Island Campuses, have begun this academic year immersed in Vincentian service.
To participate incoming freshmen applied and were accepted into this service immersion experience that took place at each respective campus. For 5 days, students lived in residence and served our local community throughout the tri-state area. They spent countless hours serving at soup kitchens and food pantries, Catholic Charities senior centers, Habitat for Humanity and working and cleaning at local schools to prepare the facility for the start of school year.
As Vincentian service calls for – each day was grounded in prayer, spent serving those in need and has ended in reflection about the day’s work. Students as they begin their journey at St. John’s have begun to learn the many beautiful and lasting ways service impacts our community and their lives – and how to continue to do this throughout their college career.
Jazmine Gaudet, a senior Adolescent Education Major and Alexa Shuck, a Communication Arts Major with a double Minor in International Studies and Business Administration, gave a reflection to the students and parents.
This plunge opened the door to so many opportunities. I was able to lead another plunge, in Philly, at the beginning of May because of my experience with this plunge. In a different state, different people, and different needs; however, the same principle of Vincentian service. I joined V.I.T.A.L, which enhanced my leadership skills and teaches Vincentian values. This plunge for me was my gateway into different clubs and helped me with experiences that I have had during my years at St. Johns. Thanks to the plunge I applied to study abroad, joined Vital (which you will learn about later), go to Philly on another plunge, join the Catholic Student Community, do constant service with Campus Ministry, be more open to new experiences and most recently go to Panama on a plunge.
“The Rendu service experience introduced me to the Vincentian heritage and like-minded individuals,” offered Catherine Felle ’18 Tobin College of Business, Rendu plunge participant, more so, “I think the strong love and desire St. John students have to serve others and each another is truly remarkable.”Lots of laughter and community have been also created as our downtime has been spent in fellowship and fun lead by our plunge leaders. Each night activities from hide-and-seek to a movie night were enjoyed by all.
“I never really got to take part in any sort of service experience in high school so coming into Rendu I didn’t know what to expect. In just a few days I’ve had a lot of fun and I really like getting to see the hard work we do go to good causes,” reflected John Kirk ’18 School of Education, Rendu participant.
The Rendu Service Experience began six years ago to honor and commemorate Blessed Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity. Among Rosalie’s greatest students was Fredric Ozanam, an idealistic college student seeking the tempered kindness of Rosalie’s practical charity and wisdom in serving God’s poor. It is in Rosalie’s honor that this service experience also teaches young St. John’s college students the way to serve in true Vincentian spirit.