IONA

Iona in Mission: Reflections from Winter 2015

Ireland

When I first came to Iona, I knew immediately I wanted to go on a mission trip. The Ireland trip caught my eye in particular because it was abroad and so different from the others. I soon found myself traveling with a group of 12 others as we gathered to pray and study weekly in preparation for all of the service work that was to come. Shortly after our arrival we jumped right in and worked at a popular soup kitchen in Dublin where were served over 400 poor people who were able to enjoy a hot meal after being in such harsh Irish weather. We were able to learn so much about their culture and the injustices they faced, while accompanying them. We also spent time at a jail, where we interacted with prisoners. In serving and speaking with them, we found we were gaining so much wisdom and knowledge. Our minds were truly opened to the spirit of Edmund Rice throughout those twelve days there and we were all able to bring back so many memories to Iona.
 - Jillian Mitchell ‘18

New Orleans

Writing a reflection about my mission trip to New Orleans this past winter break has been a
daunting task. I’m finding it very difficult to put into words the myriad of emotions that I experienced over the course of what was paradoxically one of the shortest and longest weeks of my life. From extreme fear when airport security detects non-existent explosives on your hands, to a sense of warm welcome from three generous Sisters and one Austrian volunteer, to the sadness of seeing the destruction of Hurricane Katrina nearly 10 years later, to the overwhelming joy of seeing smiles on the faces of the family whose home you are helping rebuild – New Orleans offered it all. In addition, I witnessed first-hand the vibrant and unique culture I had previously only seen in movies and television. From the most beautiful and musical Sunday service I have ever attended, to the lively (and at times a bit odd) street performers on Bourbon Street, I now understand just how unique the New Orleans culture truly is.

Furthermore, I can now see how even a Category 3 hurricane that flooded over 80% of the city was unable to suppress its courageous and resilient people. My heart goes out to the people of New Orleans, and my eternal thanks and love to the best team anyone could have asked for – Kelli, Mick, Kerri, Savannah, Kara, James, Nick, Chris, Anna, Alex, and Phyllis – you are all my inspiration, Go Dream Team!! 
- Orlando Barreiro ‘15
 

Nazareth Farm

During our time at the Farm, it was both a mission trip where we served others, and a retreat. Our main goal was to go out into the community where there would be different work sites and we would help either repair parts of the house, or build something that the families needed. We were separated into different work groups, where we were grouped with students from other schools. Each day we would go to a different work site, so we were never at the same place. The group I was placed in became family to me, because during that one week together, we grew so close and learned so much about one another that most people who we are friends with don’t really know about us. In addition to finding out so much about each other, working together and relying on each other also brought us closer. Some things we built were a garage roof and a mudroom. While at these sites, we met the homeowners who were such incredible people. These individuals are going through a lot in their lives and are having a hard time staying afloat, so being able to help them with something they need felt incredible. They were so grateful for our help and so generous as well, asking if we needed anything while there. They also inspired me with their deep faith. The people I met are having difficult and challenging times, but still manage to keep their faith and love in God. They truly helped me feel like I was making a difference where a difference needed to be made. 
- Chris Kash ‘17

India

Through the legacy of Edmund Rice, immersion has helped me define my true passion, not only as a “good citizen” but, as a global citizen to help and recognize and address the social injustices that are prominent in today’s society. The India mission trip was combined with an International Studies course where we studied the poverty, democracy, and social and economic development of India first hand, in Kolkata and Delhi. I had the opportunity to serve, learn and work with extremely poor and marginalized populations through ministries of the Edmund Rice network and at the Mother Teresa House for the destitute and dying. The course concluded in Delhi, where our class had the privilege of working with the “Nine is Mine Campaign” to help advocate for children’s rights. My interactions with children who lacked the basic necessities in order to survive was a life-changing experience and one that will encourage to fuel my passion to “fight the good fight” and move the world in a way that will make us more just and equitable global community.
- John Bertino ‘15