I feel so blessed to have been able to have this incredible experience this summer. I can’t believe it is almost coming to an end. I can clearly remember being so nervous to stay with a family I had never met and just popping up into my co-workers lives. But they all made my stay so wonderful! And so glad that amazing alum from Saint Mary’s College were able to come up with the funds to make this trip possible!
I’ve met so many great people here! Out of everything here in Colorado I am truly going to miss everyone that I met and the conversations we had. The Loretto Community was more than I had expected. I thought I was just going to be in front of a computer all day just doing my own thing most of the time, but it wasn’t quite like that. While learning how to use WordPress and typing tutorials I also had to personally help those who had never worked with blogs. I also worked with some of the sisters who lived at the center with random internet questions or technology problems. I never thought so many people would be seeking my help with technology! Like I’ve said before, I’m not great at it, but I know some things and I can figure out others. My summer with Loretto didn’t just revolve around technology though. I think sister Natalie intentionally wanted me to learn more about the community by giving the interviews to work on. And I really did learn a lot more than I knew before I got there this summer. I thought I would just go into Loretto to work, but while doing that I think my faith grew stronger as well. Being around some of these ladies that had done so much in their lifetime made me feel proud of being Catholic! These women dedicated their lives to making the world a better place. I hadn’t realized how big social justice was part of Catholicism until I came to Loretto. Some of the people who I have spoken to about my experience this summer have asked…so do you want to become a nun now? Ha, I had NEVER considered it before and being around sisters this summer I still don’t think I could commit to that level. I have considered however becoming a Co-Member later in life. Who knows, anything can happen! A co-member is part of the community, but their commitments are not as strict I guess you can say. You can get married and have kids, and not go through the same process as religious men and women. It’s just a different process that links you to that community.
Being at Loretto I had some struggles at first like being the youngest person in the office AND at the center. But over time I became accustomed to it and learned what was okay and what wasn’t…like looking at my phone at the table. Whenever I ate with the sisters during lunch or dinner, and I would look at my phone, to check the time or because I had gotten a text, when I looked up I had at least one sister glaring at me. I guess they didn’t grow up with cell phones and they don’t seem to like using them often. Another thing that was hard at first was the simple fact that they are religious and I wasn’t sure how to approach them…should I call her sister?…oh maybe I shouldn’t say anything….But I came to find out that they are normal people! They watch R rated movies and make funny jokes and have all kinds of opinions! This last week some of them are telling me how sorry they are for me to leave, some of whom I didn’t interact much but apparently enjoyed my presence, and others whom I spoke to every day have said the same. Although I didn’t form close relationships with all of the sisters at the center, I enjoyed hearing what they each had to say! I got to spend a lot of time with Natalie since she was my supervisor and I worked in her office, not to mention all trips we made as well! She is such an admirable person, I am glad she was my supervisor at Loretto! She just kept throwing people and things for me do this whole summer, which was good because I never got bored!
So when I wasn’t working at Loretto, I was in Denver at the Catholic Worker. The commute was always at least 45 minutes which I did not enjoy at all. Now I know that once I graduate and get a job I won’t want to live too far away from it! I didn’t mind the destination, but just having to keep an eye out so early in the morning got tiring. The Catholic Worker was so extreme for me. Sometimes I was so happy to be there and learn about people and events that my co-workers (now friends) were involved with. But other times I just couldn’t handle it. Learning about the statistics, hearing the sad stories of people in the street getting treated so unfairly, and just listening to people call telling us about their situations. It made me really sad. Like today, Marcus and I went to visit a family who previously lived here, but had to move on because there wasn’t enough room for a: mom, her daughter in her 30’s?, the daughter’s 11 year old son and the baby that she was expecting. Last week we went to pick up the daughter so she could take some stuff to storage since she didn’t want it thrown out or lost since they had been moving from motel to motel. Today we went to see them at another motel…They told us about how this motel had bedbugs and they had bitten the baby. No child should have to go through that! That baby doesn’t have a stable home and he didn’t seem to be healthy (he’s 4 months and looks like 8), yet he has a very loving and caring family. So what to do? Marcus seems to be determined to find them a place where they don’t have to worry about moving every week and will have enough money to sustain themselves and that baby. And just another thing to add to their situation, the adults both seem to have mental disabilities. They both get checks every month… I really hope that Marcus can find a good place for them, and also somewhere that could truly accommodate their needs.
I really can’t believe that time has gone by so quickly. At the beginning of my trip baby Brielle could only crawl and stand. And now she’s walking around the house, pressing buttons and saying HOLA. I got her a Dora doll (to remind her of me/so she could see more brown in her life), the doll is bilingual. Brielle heard the doll say hola and she repeated it. I got so excited that I asked her to do it again and she did! Now whenever I say hola, she says it back but rolls her tongue out really funny! I am really going to miss that baby. In just these two months I have gotten so attached, and I think she really likes me too. Whenever she first sees me in the mornings she either gives me this big smile or waves her little hands around excitedly saying hi. Man, I feel like Kristin and Steven are my long lost cousins! They have been so great to me! I know Steven has been grateful to have another meat eater in the house 😉 And Kristin has had fun with me being around…or at least I hope so! But really, it was awesome going back to the house after work and not being stressed out or trying to hide from them because they were just so darn nice. They were a great host family to me!
I am so glad I didn’t miss out on this opportunity. I’m glad that I decided to come regardless of what was going on in my family. I think this was the perfect place for me to heal. I will admit it was hard being so far from family when they needed me, but we’ve been getting through it. Everyone and everything that happened this summer has changed me in ways I can’t even begin to explain. I’ve been humbled and now see however much evil and sadness there is in the world is equaled with good and happiness. I’ve seen love everywhere.
“To love with understanding and without understanding. To love blindly, and to folly. To see only what is lovable. To think only of these things. To see the best in everyone around, their virtues rather than their faults. To see Christ in them!”
― Dorothy Day