In June we had a group of nursing students from Milwaukee for a week. They volunteered at the Daughters of Charity Clinic and worked with the homeless. They were are wonderful group of young women and I think they will be great nurses when they finish. And then a group of young women who are discerning their vocations as Daughters of Charity. Again, a special group. The DC vocation directors led the prayer and reflections that week so it was just cooking and cleaning for us, the Core Team. It made our lives a bit less busy.
July and August are just too hot down here to be working outside or inside without a/c so we don't schedule groups for rebuild. But we are not idle! The Peace Basketball League of which I am a planner, in conjunction with the Catholic Charities Isaiah 43 Project (mentoring for at-risk kids and their parents), Temple of Praise church and the League, held a Youth Peace Summit for July 1 p.m. and all day July 2. The afternoon and Thursday morning held inspirational talks and panels to encourage the young people, both female and male, to be leaders and peace makers in our community. It was a good two days. It culminated with a basketball tournament in the afternoon. We were very blessed to hold it on Loyola's campus. The meeting room was wonderful and playing in an air-conditioned gym was even more fantastic. (We had played during May and June at St. Alphonsus, our usual venue, which has neither heat nor cooling. Those young men were dripping wet by the end of the 30 minute games - and refs and scorekeepers were not much better off! So going to the a/c was a double pleasure for us.) I helped with the volunteers and general whatevers during those days. For the rest of July and August we all took a breather.
We hosted the women from Helping Mothers Heal, a group with which S. Claire volunteers. The group is made up of women who have lost a child to murder here in the city. They came for dinner and then had their usual monthly meeting. It brought back lots of memories for me and the work I did in KCK.
I made a retreat during August - went to the Gulf Coast in Mississippi for five days. I spent a lot of time at the water - the Gulf waters are warm and where I was didn't have big waves - just comfortable water. There is nothing so healing as the water for me (next to the mountains!)
We do get the water every once in awhile, the three of us and two friends went to Pensacola beach for a Saturday and Sunday and enjoyed the water and the atmosphere. Our Associate Ann just started a new job so has to go on the weekend for some break time.
I am still having a marvelous time volunteering at the Chateau nursing home. I just love my old friends there. Each month when I can I go to help out at the monthly birthday party. I put placemats, etc., on the tables, pour punch and help serve it and the cake. The organizers always have some music for the afternoon. Most of the players are from the elders' group and play the good old stuff that we can sing along with and dance to. I love it! The man yesterday played all kinds of the songs that I have sung through most of my life and I sang and danced among the folks. They love watching and laughing and having a good time. I look forward to those few hours of fun. I love going to Mass there and taking Communion to the bedfast and those who can't get to the early Mass. They are so gracious and so much appreciate the attention but I know that I get as much out of the time as any of them.
I am going to do some volunteering for Ann, our associate, who runs the Oschner Medical Center "Golden Opportunity" program for seniors. I'm going to join as well. I'll be doing some data input for her and probably help with mailings and other secretarial kinds of things. Monica and I went to the volunteer training this past week. They were thorough - took blood, urine sample, fitted us for masks should we need them and then went over the "rules" for volunteers. I have many an varied experiences in this place.
The Archbishop told us last fall that there are 43 different communities represented in NO. Some are local communities, but many are sisters who have come since Katrina and work in a variety of venues in the city. There is a great deal of collaboration going on because we are few/community with the exception of the locals. It is a way in which many kinds of opportunities for volunteering on a long-term or once-in-a-while basis. I see it as our future - collaboration will be the "name of the game." The Marianite Sisters are a local community - have been here since mid 1800's. They invited all the sisters who have come since Katrina to a lovely light supper last evening. About 16 of us were there. There are more new sisters but sometimes there are conflicts in schedules. They had invited a Mardi Gras Indian Chief who explained who they are. He came with his suits and wore the latest one.
The Mardi Gras Indians are African Americans who see the plight of the Native Americans and want to honor them. They build extravagant suits with lots of beading and lots of feathers and march in some of the Mardi Gras parades and do other venues throughout the year. They build (literally) a new suit for each year. It is truly fascinating to hear their stories. Chief Roger is a product of one of the Marianite schools - not uncommon here in NOLA.