Going to a Catholic university is something that is really important to me. When I applied to Neumann, I knew it was a Franciscan school, but I did not really know what that meant. When I thought of Franciscan, I just thought of Saint Francis, and he was a saint that I did not know much about. Since then a lot has changed. Before my first year of school at Neumann started, I went on the RISES retreat. I mainly went on this retreat to meet people before school started, but this is when I started to learn about the values of Neumann. These values are Reverence, Integrity, Service, Excellence, and Stewardship. Learning about these values made me more aware of them and how I can incorporate them in my life. Since this week is Franciscan Mission Week, a line from the second reading really stuck out to me, “But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.” This reminded me of Saint Francis because he gave up everything to serve God.
When I took Theology 101, I did not know what to expect. I thought it was going to be like the theology classes I had all my life where we learn about the same things over and over, but I was wrong. We read and discussed stories in the bible, talked about our opinions, and learned about Saint Francis` life. Saint Francis was called by God to rebuild the church; he took this literally and rebuilt a church building. God did not mean it in this way, rather God wanted Saint Francis to rebuild the Church community. Saint Francis did not hesitate; he left his old life behind even though his friends and family did not approve. He served God by spreading his word and serving and rebuilding Church, the people of the community.
The story of Saint Francis inspired me, and I applied to go on a San Damiano service immersion trip. In February I went to Lafayette, Louisiana and helped build a house. I did a lot of things I have never done before and some things a little out of my comfort zone, such as using a nail gun. But this trip have me the opportunity to see things in a different way. I learned a lot of things about myself, others, and my relationship with God. I saw God in people, in a way I never had before. This trip gave me the experience to help rebuild a community just like Saint Francis did.