Last week, the Mount Mercy Class of 2121 went on its Junior Retreat. This retreat gave the students the opportunity to investigate the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of a Mercy by volunteering in the community. Students spent the morning working at Our Lady of Black Rock, St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy or Journey’s End.
Mount Mercy alumna Martha Eadie is principal at OLBR. The school has a diverse population, including several refugee families. The juniors joined the OLBR students for mass and helped out in the school. Service at OLBR honors Catherine McAuley’s dedication to providing education.
St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy serves the people of Buffalo providing resources for those in need. Some Mount Mercy students worked in the kitchen, peeling potatoes and prepping lunch for the community while other students assisted in the St. Luke’s homeschooling program.
At Journey’s End, students had a tour of the offices which allowed them to deepen their understanding of the needs of arriving refugees and the services provided by Journey’s End. After the tour students worked with Farmer Lauren on the Urban Farm, clearing brush to create space for the new shed and several more raised garden beds. Twenty-five families are currently using the Journey’s End Urban Farm to grow vegetables. Some of the produce is sold at the market stand in the Tri-Main building, and the rest is used by the families. This garden in the middle of the city is a valuable resource.
After their hard work in the community the students decided to take on the critical concern of “standing in solidarity with immigrants” by dining at four different restaurants run by immigrants. Many students tried foods they had never experienced before and they had a chance to reflect on the challenges refugees face when surrounded by foods that are completely foreign to them. Buffalo residents are lucky to live in a city that offers a variety of ethnic foods to sample.
Campus Minister Mary Colby commented, “I was impressed by my group’s attitude of joy as we worked outside on a chilly morning doing challenging physical labor. The girls smiled, joked and worked hard all morning.”