More than fifty years ago the Sisters of St. Francis opened Our Lady of Angels, a two-year college designed to further the education of young women. Fast forward to today and after a lot hard work, their accomplishment has blossomed into a four-year coed institution--Neumann University. Through the years the sisters have worked closely with the students not only as their teachers and mentors but also as their role models and friends. This still remains true today for our sisters here at Assisi House. Throughout the year many groups and student organizations from Neumann University come to visit and share their time and talents with us.
Campus Ministry, a division of the mission and ministry department, is one of these groups. They visit with us twice a month and get to experience a wide variety of activities. It is not unusual to see them sitting with the sisters at a fancy afternoon tea or helping out at a rousing game of Jingo. Or the students may be found serving the sisters at a relaxing “soft pretzel” social. These students commit their time for the entire school year which gives them the opportunity to get to know our sisters well. Two months ago the group went down to our Clare Hall and enjoyed some one-on-one time. Seeing the interactions and hearing the conversations might have led visitors to believe that the sisters and students were long lost friends when in fact they had only just met. It was a wonderful experience for everyone and it will definitely be repeated.
Some of the groups join us once or twice a year. The Praise Dancers, for example, are a group of young women who visit us at night to entertain the sisters with their interpretative, spiritual dance—a very creative way to share their lives. During the holidays, a group of nursing students come with Christmas cards and stamps. They sit with the sisters and help them address their cards and letters to get them into the mail in a timely fashion.
We are also a part of the Service Learning Project which enables students from Neumann University to come to Assisi House and fulfill their required time of community service. In this program, students are placed in different departments depending on their major and/or preferences. They come to help where they can and through their service, they not only meet many sisters but get to know them and call them “friend.”
One of our newer programs is with the Humanities 200 A: Introduction to Arts Theory and Criticism Class. Each semester students from the current class—under the tutelage of Professors Gail Corso and William Hamilton—come to Assisi House where we work on a project together. Their collaborations are always exciting to watch and often bring out some hidden talents from the members of the group.
(l-r) Sr. Jean Clare Rohe (sitting), Brandon Boyle, Brooke Nugent, Diana Caicedo, Sr. Ann Conrad Koerner (sitting), Daniel LaJudice, Kardell Pressley, Kayla Hall-Thompas, Sr. St. Joseph Brennion (sitting)
(l-r) Annie Wembi, Sr. Francis Ann Harper, Jessica Lepre, Samantha Wurst, Brianna Tyson, Brittany Naimoli, Sr. Eleanor Getz
Our sisters here at Assisi House who have forged the way bring their experience and knowledge to these students and, in return, the students bring their inquisitive minds and excitement for the future. It is obvious that as we continue down this road of life we are in great need of both. From our home to yours, may the beautiful renewal of God’s creation during this spring season bring you joy.