After surviving our fifteen hour van ride, we arrived at the House of Charity in New Orleans. Four religious sisters from different Sisters of Charity Congregations welcomed us to share life with them for a week. This house’s mission is to be a place for service groups like ourselves to not only stay but experience the Sisters of Charity shared Vincentian spirituality. The house quickly became home for us because of the sisters’ warm hospitality. A typical day would include eating breakfast, packing a sack lunch, morning prayer, a morning outing or tour, working at our Saint Bernard Project House, and coming home for a hot shower, a delicious meal, and an evening reflection about our day. To sisters Mary Lex, Theresa, Claire, and Monica we are grateful. Below are the following reflections from three students who went to New Orleans. (Sister Rejane)
I was thirteen years old when hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Memories from that day are from the media. I recall seeing photos of people trapped on top of their houses and people using boats to get around the city. While I was not personally impacted by the hurricane I felt a sense of hopelessness for not being able to go down and help. Ten years later, I was finally able to go visit the city of New Orleans and be a part of the rebuilding.
For the week, we volunteered with the Saint Bernard Project, a non-profit that rebuilds houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. We were assigned to one house for five days and we installed insulation and drywall. These were both new skills for me. The work proved to be a challenge, but well worth it when we saw all that we accomplished at the end of the week.
It was such a wonderful opportunity to have been part of such a rewarding trip to New Orleans. I consider the trip to rewarding because it gave myself and the rest of my group a chance to reward those less fortunate than ourselves with a helping hand. With just one week’s worth of hard work, we were able to bring a waiting family even closer to being able to come back home.
Another astounding event was to have participated in the Interfaith Prayer for Peace. It was such an incredible experience to have witnessed different churches and faiths come together to pray for peace in New Orleans where a high rate of violence and crime are a problem. I cannot recall a moment in my life where I have seen such a peaceful gathering. Overall, my time in New Orleans served to strengthen my belief in the benefit of togetherness. Together people can achieve greatness.