Looking Forward While Reflecting On Previous Experiences

By: Hannah O’Keefe

Every experience that I have had thus far with Creighton’s CCSJ reinforces one basic idea: when it comes to service and justice, Creighton gets it.

This year will mark my third trip to the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Family Teach-In, and I could not be more excited, not only to be going, but to be going with a community as strong as Creighton’s.

I first attended the Teach-In when I was a junior in high school when it was still located in Fort Benning, GA, featuring a protest at the School of the Americas. I went with about eight other girls from Duchesne Academy, and we shared a bus with some boys from Creighton Prep high school, students from the College of St. Mary and parishioners from Sacred Heart Church. It was a great experience and got me hooked on the feeling of solidarity and community I felt within the greater Ignatian Family.

Last year, I attended IFTJ with St. Louis University, which is where I spent my freshman year of college. SLU sent a delegation of eight students to Washington D.C. We were excited and motivated, but lacked guidance and unity. Although I had a great time with my fellow SLU students, I couldn’t help but notice Creighton’s impressive presence at the event. They were there in full force, all 50+ of them filling in the front rows of the conference center. As a whole, the delegates from Creighton had a certain confidence and seemed truly inspired and ready to let the experience change them- ready to tackle the injustices surrounding them.

After making the decision to transfer to Creighton as a sophomore, I knew right away that I would want to participate in IFTJ. It is something that I have grown to love and look forward to, and I was really excited to be able to experience it as a part of the Creighton community.

A perfect example of how Creighton gets service is the retreat that the CCSJ put on for its IFTJ delegates. They understand that we will be able to get so much more out of the weekend if we take the time, prior to departure, to come together and prepare. At IFTJ, you are bombarded with information and faced with a constant call to action, so it is really helpful and important to ready yourself- both emotionally and physically- for what is to come. Additionally, each delegate has been divided up into small reflection groups, and at the retreat, we were able to meet with our groups for the first time to talk about our feelings and emotions going into the weekend. I can already tell that these small groups will be a great resource for us; they will serve as a support group to help us digest all the information that we are given.

Any time that you are working for justice, at the same time, you are working against injustice, which can be really challenging. It isn’t easy to face ugly issues like discrimination, prejudice, and inequality, but that is what the IFTJ is all about. It is about learning to face these issues head on; to charge at them, full speed ahead. The CCSJ understands the gravity of this challenge and is fully committed to encouraging you, providing you with the resources you need, and helping you at each step along the way.

At the Teach-In, Creighton as an institution serves as an exemplary model of a school whole-heartedly focused on living out the Jesuit mission, full of eager students committed to learn, connect, grow, and advocate for change.

It’s going to be great.