Intention, community, comfort, open-mindedness.
As we entered the week, these words and ideas were at the forefront of our thoughts. Our small group of five students each presented our goals, hopes and ambitions that we’d focus on during the week as we crowded our van to Mobile, Alabama.
A group of five young girls embarking on a trip we didn’t know much about, we were nearly oblivious to the powerful connections we’d soon make with one another and a new community. Despite these uncertainties, we entered with enthusiasm and willingness to the unknown.
After completing our two day drive we finally arrived at our host site where we were graciously greeted by the Daughters of Charity. These sisters were of different ages, backgrounds and worked in different ministries, but each welcomed us the same. These were the first faces to greet us as we stepped into the community. Their eagerness and hopefulness for our small group radiated in each of their smiles, embraces and soon their stories of their ministries and time spent in Mobile.
Over the course of the week we had the opportunity to spend a day with each sister as we assisted at the site they spend their days. These sites ranged from schools to churches to a rehabilitation center to a hospital, but no matter where we were or who we had the honor of spending our time with, we could see the passion and love they each had for their work. It was clear to us what it meant to serve with this community, standing in solidarity with them and the obstacles they face.
We saw these obstacles and struggled to make sense of what we could possibly do to lend a hand in the day we spent at each site. Each day we’d reflect on these thoughts and would ask ourselves and one another questions on what we’d experienced. In the midst of trying to make sense of the experiences individuals face each day, we turned to the advice from the sisters who encounter the same thoughts day in and day out. Not always in words, but always in actions – they’d remind us of the importance of building the connections we could with those we met, those we could learn from and those who we may be able to simply lend a smile for the day.
It was in stories and personalities of children, the sisters, parishioners, students and so many others – that we truly got a glimpse into the lives of this beautifully unique community. In these stories, questions and moments we recognized the value of our presence and the value of our efforts to get to know Mobile.
While we entered the week unknowing, we left grateful for the irreplaceable time we spent in Mobile. We no longer were the oblivious students, we had quickly become “five Creighton girls” being sent back home to carry on our stories and carry on the powerful love of community and friendship we had quickly experienced in Mobile.
Emma Gallagher, Class of 2021