A Blessed Week

If you follow Backlit With Joy, you know our week of Ursuline Summer Service was filled with beautiful people and meaningful encounters.  Click here for a 3 minute video that recaps this blessed week.  Thanks to all who supported and prayed for us!

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Until Next Time

Greetings from San Antonio, Texas. Samantha and Priscilla here! We hope everyone had a wonderful and eventful week so far. As this week is coming to an end, we recap on everything we’ve done so far. On our first full day here in San Antonio, we visited the old Ursuline convent and academy which is now an art school. We learned the rich history of the Ursuline sisters!

Everyday we spent about 7 hours in Haven for Hope, where we met wonderful people with outstanding stories. At our time in Haven we met several members, and one person specifically touched our heart, a man who loves art. Our first day at Haven we got to speak to him and view his wonderful art work. We got to know him and understand his reasoning for being in Haven for Hope very well. Sr. Elizabeth introduced us as she was starting her meditating coloring session.  He immediately asked us if we wanted him to draw us something. He indeed has great talent. He is just one of the many gems here at Haven.

On our last day here, we sure ended with a bang! Serving lunch to over 500 of the members that live in Haven is surely something we will never forget. Although, this week was full of memories, compassion, patience, and gratitude, saying goodbye to the wonderful members is something that hit us hard. We hope everyone in Haven finds their way, because with God by our side everything will turn out just fine!

The Cycle of Homelessness

Hello! Lyndsey and Jeannie here! Well it is our second wonderful, hot day working here at Haven for Hope. Today started out with a great tour of the campus where we were able to learn all about the mission of the program and all the services they offer on the beautiful twenty-two acre campus. Between yesterday and today, we also learned about the cycle of homelessness and how it particularly affects families and children. A story was told to us about a family who had three generations of women born in homeless shelters. Yesterday, as we volunteered in the courtyard and Intake, we met many strong mothers with small children who were unable to be put in the family residence because there was no room. As they wait for more permanent setting on the campus, they are able to stay in offices, meeting rooms, and in the chapel with mats and blankets. This living situation is called being in “overflow.” We cannot get the images of these children out of our mind and hearts. As a member of our group said last night during sharing time, “No child should ever be considered overflow…”

Please pray for all the families at Haven for Hope and the breaking of this vicious cycle.

We are not allowed to take pictures with the residents so here are some pictures of our volunteer work in the kitchen and the art class these past two days.

With the Kind Heart of Angela

Our 2018 Ursuline Summer Service has begun well, with open hearts, laughter, and a desire to be stretched by new experiences.  All arrivals from New York and New Orleans were on time today, and it took no time at all for the group to begin bonding.  We are blessed with such lovely volunteers.

There was time to unpack and get acquainted, then we visited the very beautiful San Jose Mission, which helped us touch into the rich history of South Texas.

Our evening meal was followed by orientation to the week. We are all women steeped in the Ursuline spirit  and Serviam, and what that means to us flowed freely in our sharing. We desire to bring Angela’s kind heart, listening ear, courage, vision and peace-making to all we meet. We want the persons at Haven for Hope to feel they truly are our brothers and sisters.  We know we will be changed by this week, and we are  ready with very eager hearts!

The City By the River

In less than a week, young women from New York and New Orleans will join me in San Antonio, Texas, for a week of service at Haven for Hope, a center of care for persons experiencing homelessness. San Antonio is well known for its River Walk, Tex-Mex food, beautiful Missions, the Alamo, hot weather and friendly people. There are other, more ominous, things happening now to immigrants along the border in Texas.  We, Ursuline Volunteers, are deeply aware that it will be our privilege to bring compassion and friendship to other “home-less” people. What a gift it is–to be present to brothers and sisters in need–as we bring them Serviam hearts, open and ready to serve.

What we will do is fully in line with centuries of Ursuline spirit. Seven Ursuline Sisters came to San Antonio in 1851 at the invitation of the local Bishop.  Upon their arrival, they found a building with nothing more than walls and a leaky roof.  However, within 2 months, they opened their school.  By 1887, Ursuline Academy there drew students from all parts of western Texas and Mexico.  During the Mexican Revolution, the convent was a refuge for bishops, priests and nuns fleeing persecution.  The Ursuline community fed dozens of people daily during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  And during World War II, the sisters provided day care for preschool age children whose mothers were obliged to work.  Please join us in prayer as we, 21st century women, continue the long legacy of Serviam in this beautiful city by the river!