In the context of community, my faith life has been able to thrive. I had never been one to pray regularly, but this year it has become a daily practice. I enjoy the intention behind the prayers that each member of our community creates. I learn a little more about them as well as myself each time they lead prayer. Our daily prayer books use inclusive language, and we steer away from gendering God. Many of our prayers are steeped in social and political issues facing our world and our communities. This intentionality as a community to create a safe, open, and active space for prayer has helped me to grow spiritually this year.
For me, serving others and working towards social justice is the most important way I practice my faith. This relationship of faith and service is what made me want to become an LV in the first place. My service with the senior citizens at Serviam Gardens this year has been life giving. I have enjoyed creating relationships with them, and getting to hear their stories. Many partners in Lasallian ministries teach children and young adults. Instead, I learn from the seniors every day. Despite the great difficulties they have faced and continue to face, they always keep a positive outlook on their lives. Many of them have words of wisdom to share with us about love and life. It is rewarding to plan events for them and see them enjoy spending time with other residents. When I was leaving for Christmas break, a resident, Mr. Jones told me: “You are going home to your family in California, and then you are coming back to your family here.” I am grateful to have been so included and welcomed into the resident’s community at Serviam.
At the end of the last full day of our Midyear Camino, all the LVs sat together and shared affirmations and words of encouragement with the rest of the group. Sitting and listening, I realized just how uncommon a group like ours is in this world. We are extremely diverse, but are the same in the most important way- we are all willing to spend a year of our lives serving others instead of working for money. Every LV in our cohort inspires me and gives me hope for the future. Our Midyear Camino together affirmed my decision to become an LV in the first place, and helped me to realize that I want to do a second year of service. I have had such a positive experience as an LV this year, and I want to continue to grow in my relationships with my residents, my community, my fellow LVs, and God. The Midyear Camino has given me clarity, affirmation, and a renewed energy to continue on my LV journey.
Jacquie Martin is a 1st year LV serving at Serviam Gardens in Bronx, New York and is a 2015 graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California.