Family Life at Su Casa

My trip to Chicago for the FBST 2012 was unforgettable to say the least. Our stay at the Su Casa Catholic Worker house opened my eyes to problems that are relatively unheard of in the places I call home. Extreme poverty, homelessness, gang violence, and immigrant deportation were among the issues we witnessed.

Maria and the rest of the Su Casa group

At Su Casa we did a lot of household chores for everyone who lived there like moving furniture or cleaning the laundry room, for example. While some may think cleaning here and there doesn’t help a whole lot, the goal of Su Casa is to treat the residents as family (Mi casa es “Su Casa”) and give them a clean environment.

More than cleaning up around the house, we found out the reason Su Casa exists for people is to make sure that families stay together if it is able. A problem with homeless shelters in Chicago is that men often aren’t allowed to be in the shelter if he’s more than 12 years old, and this leads to families being separated. Su Casa allows the family to stay together and gives an opportunity for hope for the families living there by providing a caseworker.

The family aspect of Su Casa really stood out to me, but I also was astounded by the amount of crime and poverty in the Chicago’s south side. Gang violence is a huge issue in this particular part of Chicago, and people are trying more and more to come up with a solution of keeping young kids from entering these gangs.

The most eye-opening aspects of my trip were certainly the lack of encouragement for a family system and the amount of gang violence in the neighborhood,

Gang violence is something I’ve never seen or understood.

Extreme poverty and homelessness has never directed me or my family.

I have found that there is a profound need for change for those who suffer. I also realized that I can do more to change the situation – maybe not for everybody but for at least one person.

And coming back to Omaha I have realized that this trip was such an amazing experience and how different things would be if I hadn’t visited Su Casa, Chicago. The Fall Break Service Trip program is one of the most valuable available.

Maria Barnett
2015 Graduate
Host Site: Chicago, Su Casa


The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.