Core to the JVC experience is an open, honest engagement with spirituality and faith. The JVC program facilitates prayer, retreats, and other activities grounded in the Catholic, Ignatian tradition. JVC creates opportunities for volunteers to reflect on their commitment to God and social justice, find God in all things, and put their faith into action through service for the rest of their lives.
Volunteers are given the resources and time to reflect on their work and their community, as well as what is going on within themselves. The JVC program provides retreats, workshops, and other opportunities for volunteers to consider and share insights drawn from their work and communities, while deepening their understanding of the program’s values.
In the words of our Jesuit Volunteers:
When working at a middle school filled with three hundred students it can be challenging to take a moment and reflect. I challenge myself to practice the art of stillness. Whenever I have even the briefest moment to take a breath and collect my thoughts, I give thanks to the divine that all of the students are present and that I can share my life with them, no matter how frustrating or challenging it can be at times. Practicing this slows down the day, allowing for incredible reflections that normally would be thrown by the wayside. It is a simple form of meditation in the workplace.
– Dave Howell, Sacramento 14, Middle School Teaching Assistant-St. Hope Public Schools. Ithaca College 14.
Part of my experience of Ignatian Spirituality and Jesuit-informed solidarity has been to open myself to find graces in the situation at hand or the person in front of me. It’s to practice attentive listening, which could translate to attentive openness. The moments that have been most challenging have often come from a place of being closed to my community, to my students, to my friends, or more so, to the opportunity and experience at hand. They have been when I am too busy in my head or in my loneliness to open my hands and heart to receive the joy and life that surrounds me here.
– Jacqueline Shrader, Andahuaylillas, Peru 13, Coordinadora del Comedor-Parroquia San Pedro. Seattle University 13.
Being present is one of one of the most difficult things to do. It challenges me to surrender to the possibilities of life, the chance, the luck of the draw. It goes against the somewhat independent nature of the self, and causes one to simply be open and vulnerable to the unknown.
– Sarah Estrada, Syracuse 14, Refugee Youth Worker-Northside CYO/Catholic Charities. University of San Francisco 14.