Gosh, I’m sorry it’s been so long! I pray y’all are doing well! We are definitely into the routine of the semester, and my calendar is color-coded and organized so I can keep track of everything! So, what’s been happening over the past month, you ask? LOTS! Let’s start at the beginning of each week….
Monday! We have meetings galore to get ready for everything that will happen throughout the rest of the week. Beginning at 9:30am is our team meeting with Mike, Ryan, Courtni, and I. We begin with prayer and then launch into discussing plans, details, responsibilities, and events. Courtni and I split off at 11am to talk about things on the women’s side. I get a quick bite of lunch and then have an over-the-phone meeting with my supervisor in Ohio at 1:30pm. At 3pm, I head out to do the grocery shopping for our house for the week, then head to the church at 4pm to pray before daily mass at 4:30. Then it’s back to the house for dinner at 6:30. By 8pm, my day is usually finished and I can take some time to relax outside on our porch, read a little, or just sit and listen to music. Whew! I’m really enjoying the writing of C.S. Lewis right now. So far, I’ve gotten through The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Till We Have Faces, and The Four Loves.
Tuesday is probably my favorite day of the week. We begin with morning prayer at 6:50am in our household, which is such a great start to the day. My morning and much of the afternoon is set aside for individual meetings with students… I love this part so much! Through these “grabbing coffee” or “let’s get lunch” times, I’ve gotten to know many wonderful women, and have the opportunity to encourage them, challenge them, learn about their lives and talk about the relevance and importance of faith. In the evening, we have a series titled ‘The New Rules of Love, Sex, and Dating’ that dives into the reality of dating in the culture today, how to approach dating in a way that will help our generation succeed in long-lasting relationships, what “love” really means, and much more. At the end, we have a short time for Q&A and I’ve been so impressed with the level of maturity in questions and discussions that have ensued. A student who came decided to incorporate the series into a project for one of her classes and I had the chance to meet with her later in the week to be interviewed for the project. Of course, we ended up just talking for a couple hours about the whole topic. It was great! After we wrap up ‘Love, Sex, and Dating’, we drive back downtown to St. John’s just in time for Adoration and the Lux et Tenebrae Mass! This is what makes Tuesday my favorite… spending time with Jesus in prayer, in the silence, illuminated by the flickering candles. It is so wonderfully peaceful. We finish the night together with Compline (night prayer) and finally get back home around 10:30!
Wednesday is my somewhat non-predictable day… I never know quite what to expect. Household morning prayer gets my day going and then I pack up and head to the Newman Center for the day. It is important for us to have a visible presence there, and we often get the chance to strike up conversation with whoever wanders in. Every other Wednesday, we meet with the Newman Center campus minister to share ‘what’s going on’ from Newman and SPO, and how we can help each-other out. We have a really great relationship and collaboration with them and it’s great to combine our efforts and events to reach and impact as many students as we can. When 12:30 rolls around, we gather up whoever is in the Newman lounge and head up to campus to eat lunch together. What conversations we have! (Side note here: I’ve noticed how much I talk about having conversations! They’re really important! One quote that’s stuck with me is conversion happens during conversations about commitment. It’s so true!) Then, it’s over to St. John’s to pray before daily mass at 4:30 and head home to cook household dinner. These dinners are an excellent way to invite the women into the community and connect them with others. We have 1 or 2 guests a week over to our house, and it’s always a good time! Sometimes the best and silliest part is when we are all washing, rinsing, drying, and putting away the dishes afterward. I love it!
Thursdays are usually big, long days. We begin again with household morning prayer, then Courtni and I head to the Newman Center to meet up with Mike and Ryan for Staff Administration Time. It is important for us to have time to touch base, update our contact lists, send out invitations and emails, etc… On Thursdays, we have Mountaineer Catholics – the large event of the week. At 6:15, there is ‘Dinner for a Dollar’, provided by volunteers from the parish. It’s always delicious. Alternating every week, we either split up and have Men’s and Women’s nights, or stay all together. The turnout has been incredible, and the students have been ready to dive into whatever the topic is. The past 2 women’s nights have blown me away – we’ve talked about some really challenging things and they’ve been engaged, sincere, honest, and open to sharing their experiences and opinions with the group. Last week, we made pro-life posters to use when we go on campus with Mountaineers for Life. Yesterday, we chalked the sidewalks with affirmations and inspirations to encourage everyone on their way to class.
Friday lets us slow down a little bit. The SPO team gathers from 9:30 to 11 to spend time in prayer in Adoration. The rest of the day is open to have more individual meetings with students, run errands, and get done anything that hasn’t been tackled yet. For example…writing a blog that’s long overdue!!
Each Saturday has been completely different. We had our first Lord’s Day Celebration at the Women’s Household on the 14th. It was great. Courtni & I spent pretty much the whole day cooking, cleaning, and preparing for it. Then, 20 people showed up and somehow we fit them into our house! Last weekend, Courtni & I participated in a walk to promote awareness for a medical condition called Chiari, then we drove up to Ohio for our Staff Retreat with the missionaries up in Columbus.
Lord’s Day Celebration – Chiari Walk – Fishing at Staff Retreat
Sundays are a day of rest… as they should be… and as we need, because by the time Sunday gets here, I’m totally wiped out! We have gotten a good response for the Student Mass at 9pm. There are many students without cars, so we coordinate and provide rides for them to be able to get to church. After Mass, we entice them with donuts and invite them next door to the Newman lounge to socialize a bit! It works rather well! And thus ends a normal week for me.
I do get to keep up with my music as well… it’s very restorative for me, and I’m glad to have the ability to take some down time for myself. Last Friday, I had a date night with Beethoven and had a wonderful time. There is an open mic tonight at Newman, so I might take my violin over and play a bit!