Sr. Connie Bach, PHJC
Catholic Volunteer Network is proud to be a part of the Serve America Together coalition, which is working on a campaign to raise awareness about the effectiveness of voluntary service in addressing some of our greatest challenges as a nation. The goal is to make a year of service a normal part of growing up in America, something that every young adult is aware of and has the opportunity to do.
Today is the official launch of the campaign, and it kicks off with a call to all presidential candidates to release their plan to expand national service. Most of the other coalition members are national, secular service organizations. We believe that as faith-based service organizations, we play an important role in this national conversation and we aim to raise awareness about our service opportunities.
Despite the winter weather and rush of the holidays, four enthusiastic volunteers joined us for the December 27 – 30 for an immersion experience with the PHJC Volunteer Program. This collaborative venture with PHJC ministries, co-workers and Sisters forged new understandings of our mission and core values lived out individually and collectively.
Involved in the efforts were six ministries: Moon Tree, Lindenwood, Ancilla College, Catherine’s Cottage, the Catherine Kasper Home and Environmental Services. The volunteers and co-directors of the program were moved by the touching stories of Sisters and co-workers who have lived our core values for decades! In addition, the volunteers shared how moved they were as well that the Sisters stayed right with and worked right alongside them in these ministries, mutually sharing God’s presence in each moment.
Two testimonials shared from volunteers were:
“I liked seeing and interacting with people as we worked. The people made the job into a prayer and sacred moment with the God within them.” -Mercylynn Mbuguah, 19
“I grew personally and spiritually by seeing God in the ordinary moment. I saw myself grow throughout the days as I began to notice beautiful and sacred moments during the planned activities.” -Olivia Ely, 19
Our next immersion experience will be held June 6-11 (scroll down for the Save-the-Date card). Please consider sharing time with us and/or share the information provided in our advertisement here within!
From June 26 - July 1, three charismatic women joined Sisters Connie Bach and Marybeth Martin for an immersion experience of PHJC ministries in the Donaldson, Northwest Indiana and Chicago areas. Not just volunteering, these women were imerssed in and witnessed the PHJC core values, mercy and social justice. They learned first-hand what it means to “walk in Catherine’s shoes.”
Sisters Katie Bobber, Mary Kevin Ryan and Michelle Dermody housed the group at St. Henry Convent in Chicago. Each day the group began with morning prayer and traveled to various ministries, including Nazareth Home in East Chicago, MoonTree Studios and Catherine Kasper Home in Donaldson, Casa Catalina in Chicago, Salvation Army through HealthVisions Midwest in Hammond, and Sojourner Truth House in Gary.
Volunteers had opportunities to work directly with individuals seeking simple basic necessities, including, food, clothing, shelter, preventative healthcare, child care and presence with the elderly. Volunteers also worked with their hands organizing, moving furniture, packing food bags, mulching trees, pulling weeds and working with the earth.
Meals were shared with the Sisters in each area, and evening prayers and reflections on the day’s events were shared.
PHJC long-term volunteer, Libby Riggs, shared: “What a great week of building community with other volunteers, the people we served and those who serve in these ministries every day. I’ll be processing this week in my mind for weeks. What a great opportunity. Thanks to Sisters Connie Bach and Marybeth Martin for planning the details and for the support of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ for sponsoring it.”
The PHJC Volunteer Program continues to connect women with our ministries for volunteer opportunities to live in intentional community with our Sisters while offering their gifts and talents to those in need.
Meet Ellie Sink! She served as a short-term volunteer, sharing her compassion and energies at Sojourner Truth House for three weeks. Ellie is 21 years old and hails from Davenport, Iowa. She has been studying in Florida but offered her services while on summer break before heading to Ireland for a retreat.
Ellie was a GREAT asset to Sojourner and hopes to return for a longer stay in the future. We are grateful for her presence and enthusiasm!
Here is a poem Ellie wrote about her experience at Sojourner Truth House. Thank you, Ellie, for your spirit, your courage and your presence in our lives!