Recently, the 2019-20 SJWs traveled to the Texas border for a service trip. Below, SJW Katie Galuska shares about her experience.
Photo: Katie in the Humanitarian Respite Center folding clothes with S. Norma Pimental, MJ (head of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and leading the response to the wave of immigrants since 2014).
“Our first evening together as the St. Joseph Worker ‘extended family’ buzzed with excitement and energy. As programming ended for the night, Sister Julie shared some wisdom with us: ‘The people you will encounter on Friday will need you as much as the people you encounter tomorrow.’ At first, I interpreted that as a gentle way of saying, ‘Get some sleep this week.’ However, this wisdom grew in meaning for me throughout the trip.
I spent my first day of work in the respite center’s warehouse folding a mountain of clothes. I returned to the hotel exhausted but excited for tomorrow’s new experience. To my slight disappointment, I found myself the next day once again folding the mountain of clothes. However, remembering Sister Julie’s wisdom, I knew that the warehouse team needed my effort just as much that day as they did the day before. Those who would receive these clothes needed my care as much as they did the day before. The families at the respite center needed my smiles and broken French as much as they did the day before. With this wisdom, I folded each shirt, spoke each French word, searched for each requested clothing item, knowing that a sacred and irreplaceable exchange was taking place.
There is no day off–or even moment off–of God’s calling to love and serve. Whether I’m in McAllen, TX or Minneapolis, MN, each day I have the opportunity to minister to those I encounter in holy and unique expressions of love.”
Allison Connelly (SJW 2015-16) is a second-year Master of Divinity student at Union Theological Seminary studying interdisciplinary approaches to disability liberation theology. She is Catholic and also identifies as part of the United Church of Christ, where she is discerning ordination. She is one of many co-authors of the book Dear Joan Chittister: Conversations with Women in the Church, in which she writes about her experience coming out as a queer woman in a Catholic context. Below, she shares about the process of co-authoring the book.
“Dear Joan Chittister gestated during the Joan Chittister Institute on Contemporary Spirituality in the summer of 2018. My experience at the Institute — a two-week gathering of Catholic, millennial, women theologians, along with Joan Chittister and the Benedictine Sisters of Erie — fueled not only the energy behind the essay I wrote in the book, but also the energy I bring to the Catholic spaces I inhabit: energy which is deeply orthodox, fiercely anti-oppressive, and queer as all hell. I have deep gratitude for the CSJs, SJW program staff, and Workers past and present, in whom I find similar energy and to whose energy I turn when mine runs low.”
February 19th, 2020