Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New blog!

Seeing as how I have not lived in St. Louis for a good 6 months now, I think it is time for me to move on in the blogosphere. I'll probably post here once in a while about Vincentian things, but I also need a place to write about grad school and random stuff in general.

From now on, you can find me at A Beaten Copper Lamp of Deplorable Design, i.e. beaten copper lamp (dot) blogspot (dot) com. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you there!


Now that I am a former VSC, Sr. T can put me to work promoting Vincentian service and recruiting volunteers. She claims I get a "finders fee" for influencing a college friend to join this year's VSC Community, but that money has yet to materialize. Maybe I get paid in prayers.

I've also had the opportunity to talk about VSC at two very different places: Villanova University's Post-Graduate Service Fair, and my high school's Religion 12 classes. Here are some observations about both.

  • Why must college campuses be inherently confusing to visiting drivers?
  • Villanova is indeed as "affluent, attractive, and athletic" as an STL friend once told me
  • Ladies of 'nova, I salute you for actually wearing jeans, or even cute skirts and tights! All the leggings-as-pants and nasty sweats on my current campus make me want to gag.
  • Villanova university, I salute you for giving your students great information about how a volunteer year works and what students can do with it. It was also cool to see monks running around in their black habits.
  • Fellow volunteer programs, I salute you for display boards that were snazzier than mine, and for the great work you do all over the world. I had some great discussions with people who did radio ministry in Alaska, taught English in China, helped at Covenant House in Philly, or even ran a pregnant women's shelter.
Religion 12
  • I'd forgotten how crowded and chaotic my school's hallways could be.
  • People actually laughed at my jokes about "Improving my nun acquaintance 1000%"
  • All those brightly colored VSC pens leftover from Villanova were the surest way to the teenagers' hearts.
  • Baby pictures from NFNF were also a hit.
  • I tried to say things that I would have found provocative at age 17: social justice is for all Catholics, not "liberals;" you don't know everything you need to know about your faith yet; if abortion were illegal tomorrow, there would still be major social problems that need fixing as well. I doubt I blew anyone's mind, but the teacher seemed to think I did a good job.
Overall, these were both fun adventures that prompted me to re-evaluate my VSC year. What did I learn? Have I been following those lessons? How did a year of service change me? What do I need to do to continue to live that out? My resolution for 2010 is to find a weekly service commitment in my new city, now that I am settled in.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

The other day I finally found my boxes of Christmas cards, so I need to send some out to all my St. Louis friends. Mail service here is up and running despite the deep snow ruts that remain on our street. Compared to the remains of the blizzard, our mailman's truck looks positively dingy.

I hope all my NFNF co-workers have a joyous holiday. I know one nurse is excited to finally have her husband home from Iraq! I'm also praying for all the clients and their kids. At my new parish in Delaware I chose a name from the "Angel Tree". I thought about all the babies back in STL while I shopped for 2T clothes for a little girl I'll probably never meet.

Today Nicholas Kristof has a neat article listing lesser-known charities that would make good holiday gifts. As I read, I couldn't help wondering what an agency had to do to get on the list ;-)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Advent!

Can you believe we're past Gaudete Sunday already? Time sure flies when you are writing final papers. Around this time last year, I was preparing to return to Virginia for the first time in over four months. We VSC girls were gathered around our awesome "living simply" Advent wreath, which involved dirt-filled shot glasses. Tennessee Volunteer got an A+ for creativity.

One of new goals for post-VSC life is reading the scriptures from daily Mass. I did that a lot in undergrad. Looking back, my meditations on the daily readings, especially during Advent, are what influenced me toward a service year. I became more and more convinced that social justice is not an optional part of following Christ. Here are a few verses my 2007 self marked down in a journal:

Isaiah 11
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land's afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be a band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Psalm 146
The LORD God keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.

The LORD gives sight ot the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.

And of course Mary sums it all up in the Magnificat as Christ's incarnation fulfills these promises:
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent empty away.