The Lourdes University community shares its Franciscan values of community, learning, reverence and service with our local community as well as communities across our nation and the globe. Their work doesn’t stop when summer begins. In fact, Lourdes students seek out outreach and service learning projects to participate in year ‘round.
Franciscans in partnership
Lourdes group who traveled to
Eight students and 2 staff members traveled to Cincinnati, OH in May for a Franciscan Sisters of the Poor outreach project.
During their time, the Lourdes group volunteered at five agencies: Ronald McDonald House, St. John Mercy Sandwich Window, Rose Garden Mission, New Life Furniture, and Housing Opportunities of Northern Kentucky (H.O.N.K.).
“What was unique about this service project is that each day we helped a different organization and community,” says Laureen Knueven, Campus Minister. “Each day we began with a Mass or reflection and closed our day with a reflection. It was awesome to work at the different agencies. It gave us a much-needed understanding of the community’s needs.”
Students especially appreciated meeting “Tommy” who shared his personal story of homelessness, what it was like to live on the street and lose one’s possessions including family photos and his personal journey getting off of the streets.
When not working at the agencies, the students’ downtime was spent preparing and enjoying dinner and sightseeing in The Queen City. One of those highlights included dining at Venice on Vine, a local restaurant that employs individuals who face employment barriers, helping them move forward and out of poverty.
Ronald McDonald House
The Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House is the third largest in the world and offers over 70 rooms for families with short and long-term needs. While there, the Lourdes crew cooked brunch for the families and then helped clean the dining and play rooms.
St. John Mercy Sandwich Window
This agency is open six days a week and is similar to a soup kitchen, serving lunch through the window located just off an alley. The students assisted in preparing the soup, sandwiches, cookies and fruit as well as serving the delicious meal to clients.
Rose Garden Mission
Operated by a small community of Franciscan Sisters known as the Franciscan Daughters of Mary, the agency offers assistance programs for citizens in Covington, KY. While there, Lourdes students helped distribute food bags and organized food and clothes within the warehouse.
New Life Furniture
This organization offers a unique and needed service by refurbishing donated furniture and delivering it to families in need. The Lourdes group traveled the route on a rainy day accepting generous donations and delivering beautifully refinished pieces.
Similar to Habitat for Humanity, H.O.N.K. builds a few houses each year. The Lourdes crew worked on rehabbing a home donated by the city of Covington, KY. Their duties included stabilizing the foundation and tearing down an old shed.
You can learn more about their experience on the Lourdes University Campus Ministry Facebook page!
Lourdes returns to Jamaica
During summer, students and staff from Lourdes University and Siena Heights University returned to St. John Bosco Boys’ Home in Jamaica. “This cross cultural opportunity allows students to connect their Franciscan value of service learning in a hands-on, global manner,” says Rachel Duff-Anderson, Associate Dean of Students. “The students engage in cultures and customs while challenging their assumptions and gain more appreciation for the world community within an academic framework.”
Joining Rachel and Athletic Director Andre Smith in Jamaica were students Joanna Bopp-Yarnell, Tim Chapman, Frank Craig, Garrett Jones and Courtney Scofield. During this biannual outreach project, the students are asked to immerse themselves in the everyday lives of those at St. John’s and to unplug from technology including cell phones. The experience is often a life-changing one. Sr. Pat Schnapp, RSM who started the outreach program, encapsulates the experience, saying, “This unforgettable experience of interacting with boys from such sad circumstances is heart-warming and when you leave - heart wrenching. The deprivations that they have endured will forever ring in your memory - and you will feel yourself to be a lucky me.’”
In The Students’ Words
“Whatever small voice of doubt that lurks within you (and we all have one), silence it by picturing a child’s face looking upon you with the sincerest admiration and love. That’s the gift Bosco has given to me and for anyone to keep that warmth to themselves would be a disservice. Give these boys your attention and time, and in return, I assure you, you’ll receive a life-changing experience.”
“I have always heard the phrase: ‘It’s the little things in life’ and man, did it really hold true during my time in Jamaica. The boys that I met during my time at St. John’s Bosco came from harsh and rough upbringings, but were still able to smile, give, and look out for one another. This simple realization showed me that life is not about the newest iPhone update, who is dating whom, and which celebrity couple has just divorced. It is about a hug, a compliment, giving to others even if there is not much to give, and being a friend. It is about the little things in life that matter most.”
“The time between mornings and nights were times that I cannot put into words. Hopefully, this phrase can create the feeling of fulfillment I experienced: ‘I went in to Bosco naked, and came out clothed.’ The knowledge gained from this experience hopefully has helped me gain a better understanding of the world around us and of the people in it just a tad bit better. In my future profession, I will have the core essentials to live a better life because of this experience and to give a greater life to others that enter my life as well. To revere, teach, learn, love, laugh, and give back were all articles of clothing the Bosco Boys have given me.”
“I gained experience at Bosco that helped me to understand the value of and ways of 90 different young attitudes. I think this experience helped me understand that I would have to deal with different kinds of attitudes and different outlooks from the kids. I feel that my Foundations of Theology course prepared me to respect different outlooks and that everyone needs some type of religion or something to believe in. In Jamaica, they depend on hope and the people seem to have a need for God.”