We started our trip with Morning Mass at St Peter. Father Rick gave us a beautiful Pilgrims Blessing for our travels. Our first stop was Durwards Glen Retreat Center for a day of “mission work” to prepare our hearts to experience Jesus more profoundly at Steubenville. We spent the afternoon doing a variety of “handi-work” for the retreat center, beautifying the grounds and helping to clean up from their latest event featuring “Bagpipes on the Glen.” Father Kurz came to visit us in the evening and stayed for a delicious dinner.
After dinner we gathered with some of the local parishioners to pray the Rosary at the “Mary Mother of God” Shrine. Then Cathy told us about the History of Durwards Glen; we were impressed with how the Durward Family brought the beauty of Creation together with their love of God. We enjoyed free time in the evening, playing games, exploring the beautiful Glen and learning a little about each other like,”if Kevin does it, don’t do it”.
Tomorrow we will do a little more work in the retreat center before continuing our journey to Steubenville. We are excited for the beginning of the Youth Conference. Thank you for your love and support, we are praying for you.
To start our day, we went to daily Mass like usual. Though we forgot that it was the holy feast of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, so Mass went long and then we fought a head to head battle with Mother Nature, resulting in us not only running through a down pour, but being a little late to morning prayer. The day followed with our very last day at our work sites. Since we completed everything assigned to us in the first three days, today was very laid back by cleaning closests and organizing cabinets. Once finished, we took time to reflect on the week and how much it impacted our lives. It was a bittersweet goodbye to Miss Paulyn but she loved the cross we gave to her, especially since we all signed the back of it. While leaving, Eileen decided to take us to the St. Louis Cathedral and Basilica. It was an amazing experience to see what a true masterpiece looks like. Over all we are excited to come home but will truly miss the people we worked with and will keep them in our hearts forever.
Today we were given the rare opportunity to minister to the chronically homeless. We started by thoughtfully and prayerfully putting together care packages as well as food bags, making 100 sandwiches for 50 bags total. Once they were assembled, we followed Miss Paulyn’ s team directly to the various “campsites” of the homeless. They were all very excited to see Miss Paulyn and they were equally as greatful when they saw us get out of the cars to deliver their packages. Although the visits were brief, they gave us a little insight to their lives, which broke all of our stereotypical thoughts. They are joyful and generous people who have created a community of their own, hidden in the city. Today’s experience not only touched their hearts but ours as well and we are happy to have helped the people in need.
While attending our recreational time, we decided to explore St. Louis, so Kali continued her exotic food shops and took us to Insomnia Cookies, another ice cream shop :). They filled our bellies with fresh, warm, gooey cookies which sandwiched the Ice cream of our choosing. After that sugar refresher, we decided to continue our exploration by going to the arch. As we all know, Google Maps can get a little funky and struggled to show us where to go since there was construction and we were walking. Mike, on the other hand saw the arch and thought we should go straight to it which resulted in us walking on the “side walk” attached to a freeway. We then thoughtfully went back and asked for help from some friendly Missourians, but after glancing down at the time, we figured that we couldn’t fully go to the arch though we were still very close to it. To take pictures, we went to the courthouse that held the Dred Scott case, one of the most iconic cases in our US history. Today was a full day of working and walking but it is one of our new favorite stories.
We helped organize the endless books in the children’s library at the Women’s and Children’s center as well as organizing the craft rooms. Zach and Ben cleaned the bedrooms and finished them up by using a rented RugDoctor but struggled to find an outlet that would actually work. Due to the recreational time later today, we had to leave sooner from our work sites which challenged us to fast paced responsibility. Also today, we got the pleasure to enjoy lunch with Miss Sheeba, one of the workers, as well as one of the current residents at the center. They told us about their families and the neighborhood around us. While hearing about their families, it made us miss our own. We love you.
Another day of working hard at the Blessings and Glory Garden. We pruned many trees and cleared lots of brush, the sun was hot but it didn’t dampen our spirits. Ben was hit with kids.
Today the Crew went into downtown Baton to provide food, lemonade, toiletries and Bibles to the homeless people of that area. They were very kind hearted and grateful people for our service, many of them told us that we made their day. After that, we went back to Our Lady of Holy Cross to reflect with Father Vincent about our experiences with the homeless and how we can affect their lives positively.