Shepherd Voice A PROJECT OF THE SISTERS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD

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Shepherd Voice A PROJECT OF THE SISTERS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD Powered By Docstoc
					                           Summer 2006
                                                                                                                 A World of Communities
                                                                                                                     by Mikayla Althaus, Itauguá, Paraguay
                                                                                            6am arrives. With the sunshine already                                       Mikayla with two
                                                                                            creeping across the tile floor, my alarm                                      neighborhood
                                                                                            fulfills its duty, successfully rupturing my                                    children in
                                                                                            peaceful dreamland. I reach over to the                                     Itauguá, Paraguay
                                                                                            wooden chair next to my bed pleading for
                                                                                            silence and after a few minutes of flipping
                                                                                            through my day’s tentative agenda, I step out
                                                                                            into my world of communities. My two-year          With the compassionate efforts of my
                                                                                            companion, Katie, and I complete our own           co-coordinator, Olga, we strive to build an
                                                                                            community and serve as each other’s                atmosphere where the girls can learn useful life
                                                                                            sounding board, encouragement, and cultural        skills (cooking, gardening, and traditional
                                                                                            understanding to accompany the everyday            crafts) that will lead to their dignified
                                                                                            challenges of this seemingly laidback life.        empowerment. We believe our most effective
                     Vol. X, Issue III                                                                                                         tool in working with the girls is our emphasis
                                                                                              “I enter a unique environment of                 on community. A few times each week I catch
                                                                                                     brave, young women                        myself reminding them to consider the effects
                                                                                                 carrying the weight of their                  of their actions on others and the value of
                                                                                                                                               supporting each other. This is not exactly the
                                                                                                    family predicaments.”                      easiest of goals when your subjects exude their
                                                                                            Evenings and weekends often sweep me               own stubborn attitude concerned only with the
                           Shepherd Voice


                                                                                            through the cobblestone streets of our             drama of their teenie-bopper lives. Sure, they
                                                                                            neighborhood community to the doors of             take turns preparing lunch, weeding the garden,
                                                                                                                                               washing dishes, etc. but it has been a slow
                                            A PROJECT OF THE SISTERS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD




                                                                                            emotionally distressed women and children
                                                                                            who eagerly welcome a cheery visitor and           process in their understanding of just what it
                                                                                            supportive friendship.                             means to be a selfless, sharing entity.
GOOD SHEPHERD VOLUNTEERS




                                                                                            Perhaps my most vivid example of                        “Life is not easy [for] the
                                                                                            community lies within my daily work at the           girls...that’s where community
                                                                                            ‘Escuela Taller,’ a newly created safe space                     comes in.”
                                                                                            and learning environment for troubled
                                                                                            adolescent girls from the area. A program          Last week, however, I think I witnessed the
                                                                                            designed to provide desperately needed             first giant step in the growth of their
                                                                                            guidance to innocent victims of careless           community. After running a couple quick
                                                                                            parenting, physical and emotional abuse, and       errands, I walked back into the gate and was
                                                                                            poverty-induced prostitution resulting in          immediately startled to hear an anguished
                                                                                            varying combinations of psychological              sobbing coming from a gathering of girls
                                                                                            damage, eating disorders, and teen                 beneath a lemon tree. My concern brought me
                                                                                            pregnancies. Each morning I make the               closer and it was then that I saw the
                                                                                            30-second walk to unlock the gate to their         broken-hearted look on each of their faces as
                                                                                            open-air classroom nestled among dozens of         they intently listened to fourteen year-old
                                                                                            fruit trees. I enter a completely unique           Francisca pour out the painful details of her
                                                                                            environment where I find myself in a               fragile home life and the story of her two-year
                                                                                                                      Mikayla (left), with     old daughter. Tears welled in the on-looking
                                                                                                                        her community          eyes and each of them sat speechless.
                                                                                                                            member,            Although everyone knew about her daughter,
                                                                                                                        Katie Harrison,        not one of them had stepped back to imagine
                                                                                                                     waiting to start their    the emotional trauma that she experienced and
                                                                                                                     journey... in the back
                                                                                                                                               still fights with to this day.
                                                                                                                      of the sisters’ truck!
                                                                                                                                               That morning was a milestone in each young
                                                                                            constant exchange of patience, motivation,         woman’s personal development. I can see it in
                                                                                            and personal formation among my                    their smiles. I can hear it in their words. Life
                                                                                            co-workers and the brave, young women who          is not easy, the girls at the Escuela Taller
                                                                                            arrive every day carrying the heartbreaking        certainly know that. That’s where community
                                                                                            weight of their respective family                  comes in; a family to console the pain, to shine
                                                                                            predicaments.                                      a glimmer of hope, to hold Francisca’s hand.
                                                     From the Director
         Good Shepherd
                            Dear Friends,                                    of the worldwide network of lay people who
                            “Never receive a gift from our Lord without      have been touched by the living mission of the
 Volunteers collaborates     thanking him. God loves grateful hearts.”       Good Shepherd, and for your constant support
                                         ~St. Mary Euphrasia                 and involvement in our growth as GSV, I am
                                                                             grateful.
  with the Sisters of the   In April, I gathered with 80 lay
                            collaborators who work in agencies founded       We have been busy recruiting new volunteers
                            by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.             to our GSV family and will soon say goodbye
     Good Shepherd to       During our week in Angers, France, I             to those who have given this past year to
                            learned more about the life and vision of St.    service. I hope and pray that our volunteers
                                                                             will leave their GSV experience inspired,
     provide full-time      Mary Euphrasia and spoke with colleagues
                                                                             challenged, and blessed with zeal to continue
                            about how we carry that vision forward
                            today. It is amazing that the Sisters of the     using their talents for the good of their
    volunteers with the     Good Shepherd have a presence in 67              communities. We also say goodbye to Mary
                                                                             Helldorfer, who has served GSV for three
                            countries! Even more inspiring is the vast
                            number of lay people who give their talents      years. I am grateful for Mary’s energy, love for
 opportunity to work in     to living out St. Mary Euphrasia’s vision.       all of our volunteers and alumni, and ability to
                                                                             accompany volunteers in the spirit of St. Mary
                            I am struck by what I learned about St.          Euphrasia. On behalf of our alumni and
social service ministries   Mary Euphrasia—that she sought counsel,          volunteers, I wish her a blessed adventure as
                            friendship, and collaboration with lay           she delves into her coursework at New York
                            people from the beginning of her leadership      University.
         and to use their   and throughout the congregation’s growth.
                            Just as lay people were integral to shaping      May you all enjoy a restful
                            the congregation, our volunteers, alumni,        summer!
     God-given talents      and donors are critical to the mission of the
                            Sisters of the Good Shepherd as realized         In Peace,
         serving women,     through GSV today. Each of you are a part        Michele G. Gilfillan

         adolescents, and
                                                      A Farewell Thank-you
                                                   by Mary Helldorfer, Program Coordinator of GSV
   children affected by
                                             “Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” ~ St. Mary Euphrasia
  poverty, violence, and    Thinking back on my three years as the Program Coordinator for Good Shepherd Volunteers, I
                            realize how strongly GSV has affected my life. I am grateful for the experiences I have had and
   neglect. Developing      the people that I have worked with and learned from. Good Shepherd Volunteers has been so
                            much more than a job; it has been my way of life. The commitment the volunteers each make
                            to the four tenets of social justice, community, simplicity, and spirituality has affected my
  relationships with the    commitment to address issues of injustice, and has enabled me to strengthen my own beliefs on
                            what it means to be a servant and how to live as a member of our “global community.”
    marginalized of our     After my experience of working as the Program Coordinator for GSV, I will be taking all that I
                            have learned about service and justice, and moving on to graduate school. Beginning this fall, I
         world empowers     will be a student at the NYU Steinhardt School of Education. I am grateful for the rich
                            memories that I hold from GSV, as I realize that my experiences will transfer into my own
                            direct service as an English as a Second Language teacher in New York City.
  volunteers to grow in
                            The strongest memories for me come from the GSV retreats and orientations, where volunteers
                            gather to share with one another their ideals, their passions, and their thoughts surrounding the
   knowledge and faith      four tenets. In watching new volunteers come into the program with such wonderful ideals and
                            expectations, and witnessing how they are so affected by the women, adolescents, and children
that inspire them to lead   they serve, I am inspired to work for social justice through education.
                            Reflecting on the words of St. Mary Euphrasia, “Love and justice bind us to each other and to
   lives seeking justice.   the whole mission”, I am reminded of all the people who make GSV the strong program it is. I
                            am grateful to the volunteers for teaching me how to experience service and to live one’s ideals,
                            to the site supervisors for being wonderful colleagues and sources of support, to the sisters in
                            the U.S. and Latin America for their beautiful commitment to serve and empower so many
                            women and children in need, and to all who support and believe in the work of GSV.

Page 2                                                                                                     SHEPHERD VOICE
                                               Alumni Corner
 Many GSV alumni have recently gotten married!
 Congratulations to Michelle (Massett), ‘04, and Ray                                                                          ‘05 alumni:
 Barrett; Joy Morrow Holden, ‘04, and her new                                                                                    Megan
 husband Ross; Sara (Schell), ‘04, and John Wells;                                                                             Massett &
 Michelle (Rader), ‘05, and Kyle Morris. May you all                                                                             Elisa
 live peace-filled lives together.                                                                                             Bresba at
 And many more will soon follow! There have been                                                                                Michelle
 several recent engagements/upcoming weddings: Alex                                                                             Rader’s
 Kirch, & Quiana Perkins; Erik Stenberg, ‘04, & Kyla                                                                            wedding
                                                                John, Arlene, & Max Brothers
 Reid; Jimmy Haws, ‘05, & Ali Grones. May you all have
 joy-filled, (relatively) stressless planning & wedding
 celebrations!                                                       Work, School, & Seeing the World
 The smallest members of the GSV family, some already
 here and some yet-to-come. Congratulations to Carrie         Congratulations to Amy Flaherty, ‘05, and Elisa Bresba, ‘05, for
 Macoskey, ‘95, and her new baby, Margaret Elizabeth,         completing a second year of volunteer service (outside of GSV).
 born in December; Arlene & John Brothers, ‘97, and           Welcome back, Karen Bulthuis, ‘04, from her Handcrafting Justice
 their one-year old son, Max! Happy wishes to Kathleen        trip to Kenya, and Toni Crowell, ‘95, from her Operation Smiles
 (Wurth) Yeager, ‘99, & her husband as they prepare to        travels to Perú. Safe travels to Chrissy Harris, ‘05, who will soon be
 welcome their new child into the world in August!
                                                              heading to Nicaragua for two weeks to volunteer at an orphanage.
   Michelle & Ray Barrett                                     Happy graduation to Sarah Faenhle, ‘04, on recently completing her
        (center), with                                        Master’s in Social Work at University of Texas.
       Teresa Nowak,
   Libby Cunningham, &                                        Good luck to Kristen Kleiser, ‘04, Libby Cunningham, ‘04, and
   Kristen Kleiser, all ‘04                                   Meredith Gnerre, ‘04, as they begin graduate school in the fall!
      L.A. community                                          Sophie Maier continues to work with immigrants & refugees in
          members                                             Louisville.


         Learning to See Divine Messages by Jenn Griffin, Lima, Perú
My Good Shepherd Volunteer experience has encouraged and              also easier to identify and receive this love. I learned that every
                     pushed me to view spirituality as leading a      day God has surprises for me, and they always come in distinct
                     compassionate life. To be spiritual is to be     ways. God is always sending us messages…we just need to be
                     compassionate, so I have asked myself            alert in discovering them. I personally hear the divine message
                     how I can live more compassionately. The         when, out of the blue, a child tells me she loves me when at that
                     answer I have found is to be present to          exact moment I felt I was not affectionate enough. That is God
                     each moment, and most of all to be present
                     to the people who accompany me in my                “When I live compassionately, I am more open to
                     daily activities. Being a compassionate                           receiving God’s love.”
                     person includes being genuinely loving
                     and listening intently to others. This
 Jenn with children increases our consciousness of God in our         telling me, “There is a strong bond between you and the kids,
    in Lima, Perú    daily activities. God uses everyone and          but just tell them you love them more often.” I feel God when a
                     everything to deliver messages, and when         young boy randomly gives me a huge bear hug, or God telling
one lives compassionately (s)he becomes more perceptive in            me that “I love you and so does the young boy. And, keep up
receiving God’s messages every day.                                   the good work.”
                                                                      Living compassionately has enhanced my ability in seeing,
           “I hear the divine message when,                           hearing, and feeling God’s distinct messages and presence in
            out of the blue, a child tells me                         my life. I have realized that living a compassionate life is full
                     she loves me.”                                   of benefits, but the greatest reward is the sensation of hearing or
                                                                      feeling God through loved ones and strangers alike. Every
                                                                      moment lived becomes a gift from our Creator.
To be honest, during my second year of service here in Perú, I
went through a very difficult time. I am extremely far from my
family and friends who provide me with love and                                                           A group of children from
accompaniment. Without this I felt drained and frustrated. Then,                                             Pino, a community
in an effort to work through my frustration, I began to focus on                                           center on a hillside in
living more compassionately. I realized that when I live                                                      Lima, where Jenn
compassionately I am more open to receiving God’s love. When                                                   coordinates an
I was frustrated and drained I could only think about myself, and                                           after-school program
I missed out on what God wanted to tell me. When living                                                           every day
compassionately it is much easier to project God’s love, and it is

SUMMER 2006                                                                                                                          Page 3
  Finding Justice in the Small Things by Abbie Kretz, Lima, Perú
The NBC show “Law & Order” has ranked in my top three shows             these experiences, they have a completely different view on
for as long as I can remember; all the action and drama                 life, one of violence and injustice. They should be talking
miraculously knit into one hour drew me in. From watching this          about boys, doing their homework, and hanging out with
program, my view of justice was defined, perhaps even tainted. I        their friends, but instead they have had to deal with these
saw justice as law, in the form of the courts, lawyers, police, and     issues because of the randomness of birth. Because of this
the government. And with this perception, I had a hard time             randomness of birth, they have been born into this
                                  seeing the justice in my work for a   impoverished society and economic situation.
                                  large part of my time in Perú. I
                                  wasn’t lobbying in Congress nor       Luckily the home tries to help them by providing the
                                  protesting against injustices.        necessities of life, as well as education and psychological
                                  Instead I was in a home for girls     help; most things their parents were unable to provide for
                                  from the street, where I was          them. I’m learning where I, too, can bring justice into their
                                  neither a psychologist nor social     lives. Currently, I’m coaching them in soccer for their league
                                   worker, but rather a friend who      with other homes. Through this, I desire to teach them
                                                                        respect, for themselves and others. I have realized that
  Abbie (left) with her community listened or played games. My
   member, Jenn, and two young work with social justice didn’t
                                                                        teaching them respect can be done in just teaching them
    girls from Domi, a home for    match that of “Law & Order.”
                                                                        “My view of justice has been
Recently, however, my perception of justice has been changing, for                     changing, for now I see it
I now see it in the small things. Everyone is not called to be a                                           in the small things.”
representative in Congress or a voice in the courts, but we are all
called to be witnesses to the lives of others. Having been in the       manners – to wait when others are talking, not to swear, and
girls´ home now for over nine months, I’m better understanding the      to work as a team. And through this, I hope to bring a bit of
lives from which they come. These girls, between 12-18 years old,       justice to their unfair situation. It’s about changing their
have grown up faster, so much faster than most teenagers their age      attitudes toward life and each other to be more positive and
usually because of familial or societal problems. They’ve raised        less violent, to keep them off the streets and lead healthier
themselves in the street without rules, prostituted themselves to       lives. The little things we do for others can be seen as the
have money for food, or taken drugs to forget their pain. And from      baby steps of justice; we have to start somewhere.




                                                   Mail To:
Good Shepherd Volunteers
337 E. 17th Street
New York, NY 10003
Ph: 888-668-6GSV x780
Fax: 212-979-8604
E-mail: gsv@goodshepherds.org
www.gsvolunteers.org
Michele G. Gilfillan–Director
Mary Helldorfer–Assistant Director
Megan Massett–Marketing Coordinator




                                    THANK YOU to                                                   Notice our new donation
                                Mary Helldorfer for the                                        envelopes...please pass along any
                               three years of grace and                                       updated information, intentions, or
                               presence she has given to                                           financial contributions!
                                         GSV!

                 Embrace the World!
                                                                                              “Creativity is a sign of life.”
                 14 years of service
                                                                                                       ~St. Mary Euphrasia