When you ask most individuals who have been to Chicago to describe their experience, many will tell you about the striking big city with Broadway productions, delicious restaurants, and fabulous shopping. However, this extravagant side of Chicago represents a very small portion of the city.
For my Spring Break Service & Justice Trip, I spent a week with the Daughters of Charity in the Marillac Center on the west side of Chicago. Much like Omaha, the significance of geography is extremely relevant. Those who grew up in the west side did not venture out into the south side of Chicago due to its overwhelming unfamiliarity, which could also be extremely dangerous. Throughout my week at the Marillac Center, I was blessed to witness the tight knit community of all the individuals involved in the social center, and I also had the opportunity to form bonds of my own. During this Spring Break Service & Justice trip, my group and I had the chance to experience a variety of projects and activities that the Marillac Center dedicates its time to.
At the Marillac Center, the children are taught to address their problems with other people by using their words. I remember listening to a story told by a young boy who said to one of the sisters that, “They don’t do it like we do here at Marillac,” in reference to the children at his elementary school. On the playground, another student pushed him down and he responded by saying, “I don’t like it when you do that.” This bully said, “Oh well,” and pushed him down again. This shows how the Marillac center works to bring community together rather than tear it apart and to use words rather than violence. Throughout the week, I was overwhelmed with joy to see the perseverance, happiness, and love that the participants of Marillac have for each other.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”
Meeting these beautiful people, you would never know what hardships they have experienced. Every person I met during my week of service was kind, lighthearted, and always had a smile on their face. Each and every one of the people I met will make me think twice before I make a complaint about small issues in my life. The smiles and kindness of all the people I met will forever be engraved in my heart, and I hope that during my week in Chicago, I was able to touch at least one person’s life as much as all the people of Marillac touched mine.
Class of 2014
Host Site: Marillac Center, Chicago
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.