Mari Andrew’s illustration work brings life to Instagram. I am in love with the simplicity they use to depict components of complex social constructs.Their illustrations often depict ideas that the JVC community reflects on, such as self-care, empathy, and systemic injustice.
Illustration #1: Self Care
A service experience brings about an internal change. It invites you to see the world differently. And there are new opportunities within this new perspective. There are also significant challenges. Self-care is an important practice in facing these challenges.
This illustration reminds me how important it is to show yourself some love! Loving yourself allows you to open up and love others well in turn.
Jesuit Volunteers are encouraged to create self-care plans which help them articulate their needs and the practices that can help meet those needs. JVC asks JVs to share those plans with their communities so they can support each other in practicing self-care.
During my year of JVC, self-care meant meeting my need for alone time. Going to the Hammer Museum was the best way for me to reset when I really needed it. Now my self-care looks like writing, yoga, or meditation.
Would you benefit from reflecting on and developing a self-care plan this year? Share your plan with someone you love who can help hold you accountable to taking care of yourself.
Illustration #2: Life in 3 acts
This illustration reminds me that we are all in process. We are slowly growing into ourselves. Our environments help shed light on the many parts of ourselves that are developing. Being outside of one’s comfort zone as a JV is a time to plant seeds for transformation.
Two years ago, I planted seeds as a JV. I am now harvesting the fruits of those seeds. It is a small step on the journey of transformation. I am trusting in the process. For this reason, I am not jumping yet to Act Three: enjoy and share. Rather, I am listening, observing, and taking the properly sized strides.
Illustration #3: Exploring Systems and Intersectionality
We are born into a complex world. The world I live in as a person of color is tinted a different shade than the white culture that dominates the United States. Institutionalized racism permeates every system in this country. It affects how I enter into spaces and whether I am welcomed.
JVC provides exposure to these oppressive systems and how they intersect. The individuals during my year as a JV gave me unique insight into how unjust structures impacted their lives. Awareness of these systems informs how I make decisions large and small. And the hope is that we as a community go out into the world and alleviate barriers through our work and our commitment to faith in action. Additionally, I hope that the JVC community can engage in these conversations together.
Illustration #4: Tools for Change
Art invites us to associate meaning to the world around us. Andrew’s illustrations invite us to utilize our agency to live and act more deeply. We are equipped with many tools of change to stand up to oppressive systems.
With a President-elect who threatens the agency of many, we are called to seek the magis. Magis, an important concept in Ignatian spirituality, means to seek “more” or “better.” Magis in the JVC community manifests as action. This faith in action seeks to break down barriers and advocate for policies that ensure access to basic human rights.
Illustration #5: Empathy
Cheez-its were my favorite faux-cheddar snack as a young child. Now I’m more inclined to snack on some hummus. My JVC community ate a LOT of hummus. In the beginning of the year, my housemate used to voluntarily make a large quantity from scratch.
We noticed that our rate of consumption did not warrant what our housemate was missing out on by spending this time in the kitchen. Empathy on a small scale meant recognizing this. The bigger picture was paying attention to what was going on in each of our lives that needed care and attention.
At my JVC placement site, a homeless youth drop-in center in Hollywood, this meant recognizing how stressors could be decreased in the lives of the youth I worked alongside. In the job I took following my JVC year, I practiced empathy with families who were considering putting their children into foster care, a group home, or a health-care placement. Currently, as a JVC staff member, I practice empathy when relating to the stories of JVs that we share here on our site!
How can you incorporate more empathy, self-care, tools for change,
or recognize systems of oppression impacting your life?
By Dominique Troy
Dominique is the Communications Coordinator at the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. They currently maintain their own blog at EternalMasonJar.com and write as a contributor and ambassador for Verlocal. They served as a JV in Los Angeles, CA at My Friend’s Place in 2014-2015 before working as an MST Therapist on Staten Island. Dominique enjoys singing bowls meditation and playing with their adorable English bulldogs when outside of the office.