Written by Caitlin Parsley, Corps member serving through Circle of the Beloved
“I humbly partner with organizations that disrupt cycles of racism, poverty, and violence to bring healing empowerment to the Northside community. My mission for not just this season, but many to come, is to be a contemplative activist for the Gospel.”
I shared these words during my commitment service just three short months ago on February 2nd. As an intern with the Visitation monastery, I have the incredible opportunity to schedule my time around three guiding values: community, spirituality, and service.
Circle of the Beloved welcomed me warmly and wrapped me up in their community from day one. If it wasn’t for Circle, I would have been floundering about to find community as the only Visitation intern this year. Whether it is sharing meals or participating in Sunday compline, we are working together to foster authentic community at Liberty House.
In addition to community, spiritual rhythms and growth have taken a front seat in my weekly schedule. I attend mass and mid-day prayer with the Sisters, read and discuss books to better understand Salesian spirituality, and simply listen to the wisdom these women humbly offer during door ministry together.
Lastly, service is what makes up about 30 hours of my weekly schedule. I spend a couple mornings a week at Cookie Cart. This bakery employs teenagers and provides them with job readiness and leadership training.
I also support children’s programming at St. Anne’s emergency shelter for women and children. Phyllis Wheatley Community Center (PWCC) is where I spend my Wednesdays. Here I work the front desk and partner with the Community Resource Liaison for various projects. Lastly, I have the honor of tutoring students at Ascension Catholic School in math and reading.
I am so grateful for the variety of opportunities I have been given at these four organizations. Some highlights from the last few months include initiating a teen mental health group at St. Anne’s shelter, opening a clothing exchange at PWCC, and updating a Northside resource document for the Sisters to assist neighbors in accessing community resources.
Of course with a global pandemic, things are looking quite different now. However, the values of community, spirituality, and service continue to drive my work.
What values are driving your work?