It’s the Little Things

FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2012

Isn’t it wonderful how we can appreciate the little blessings in life? Right now, while I’m trying to balance my time between my internship, my activities, and the end of the school year, it’s wonderful to have these small things to keep me motivated!

This week I had some new experiences at Benedict Inn. First, on Monday I began designing my first page for the website. It’s nothing special right now, nor has it been published yet, but it’s special to me. I never truly imagined myself working with web design, other than blogs, and so I am proud of myself for taking on this new task. The page I’m working on is a wish list for Benedict Inn, to help us renovate and improve our facilities. (I’ll be sure to post it when it’s ready!) Second, with the end of our financial year approaching, I was put in charge of completing our timelines. We create timelines for each program that we put on, and these help when accounting for the money spent out of the budget. Again, although this is a fairly simple task, I am glad to have learned something knew, and to have helped out the marketing and financial departments. Third, I got to meet a lovely group of women staying at Benedict Inn for Women Touched By Grace, which is a Lilly Endowment program that offers spiritual renewal for clergywomen. (Check it out online, it’s really cool!) Then, today, while summarizing the evaluations from the Caregivers Retreat, I read many positive comments. One attendee was so sweet as to include their great thanks & blessings on the sheet. To top it off, the day is glorious, our lunch was delicious (our cook always remembers that I’m a vegetarian!) and the conversation to end my work day was lovely.

Needless to say, after such a productive week, I am ready to finish this semester at Butler and continue my internship with Benedict Inn!

Sharing Tea, Sharing Life

Yours truly, getting ready to serve afternoon tea.

FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2012

I love watching programs unfold and grow into completion.

This past week we held our first Friendship Tea Time. It was an afternoon tea designed to bring women together. Guests were encouraged to invite their mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and friends to share tea. Although almost every gathering of women can create intimacy, “tea” has become something special among women (whether they’re drinking tea, coffee, wine or, who knows, even juice boxes.) This intimacy was something Benedict Inn hoped to offer through an afternoon where women could share with one another memories of the past and hopes for the future. There were two phenomenal guest speakers who led the program. They asked guests to come together by celebrating the special women in their lives. Some talked about mothers and grandmothers, some about sisters, and some about dear friends. The program also offered a unique opportunity to reflect on Mary, the Mother of God, as an important woman in our lives (Catholics and non-Catholics alike!)

I represented Benedict Inn as a hostess, serving tea and attending to the treat table (yum!), but I also got to participate in the program by speaking with the women in attendance. This is so rewarding to anyone who works at the Inn, because we get to witness how the program runs and its effects on guests. I saw that women did indeed share much about themselves, the memories and their lives. Many seemed eager to return next year, and so BI will be equally eager to plan the program again for 2013!

The Center for Faith and Vocation

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2012

Last night was the annual dinner to honor the Center for Faith and Vocation on Butler’s campus. Each year, staff, faculty, students and members of the community gather together to celebrate this incredible program. There is good food, a great speaker and excellent conversation.

I had a chance to talk with several friends, including the priest for the Butler Catholic Community. However, I also got to meet many new people who have had an impact on the Center, whether through their financial support, their advocacy or their volunteer roles. I was so glad to hear that so many people feel passionately about the mission of the CFV.

For me, the Center for Faith and Vocation has been extremely important this past academic year. (I regret that I had such little interaction with its team before!) It was last August that I paid my first visit to the CFV. I had received an email with internship opportunities, and my interest was sparked by one at a Benedictine monastery. I knew I wouldn’t be able to complete the internship in the fall, but I was curious to know whether it would be offered in the sping. Well, of course you know how that story ends…right here with my internship at Benedict Inn & this blog!

However, the CFV has done so much more for me than placing me with an internship. I have had meaningful and honest conversations about where I am in my life, and where I might go from here. I have found it so easy to talk about my passions and my goals, and to see how these might be discerned into my future life, through a career and other areas. Many times I think out loud, and through my conversations I can better sort out my ideas, and can often get great advice too! It was here that I first discovered, after some prompting by the Center’s director, why service has been so close to my heart, and how and why I might translate this into a career in non-profit. I have also gained a deeper understanding of my faith and values, and have learned to better appreciate those in my day to day work.

We are so fortunate to have a place at Butler that can help us integrate our faiths, passions and talents into our lives. I look forward to returning for this dinner in the future, and to continuing my relationship with the Center for Faith and Vocation.

Slightly Off Topic…

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Last night I was honored at a banquet, along with a group of my peers, to be named among the top 100 students at Butler University. The Top 100 program focuses on leadership and service, both within and outside of our academic careers. After learning more about my fellow honorees, I have a pretty good picture of what it takes to be part of the Top 100. Some characteristics that all these accomplished students share are dedication, humble ambition, a desire to serve others and to create more good in the world, and the initiative to reach their goals and to help others reach theirs as well.

So what has made me a Butler Top 100 student? I can’t take all – or even most of – the credit myself.

I firmly believe that most of who I am comes from those I surround myself with, and the experiences I have had. I have learned so many lessons from others in my lifetime that I owe them many thanks for helping to shape who I am. My family and friends have taught me to really, truly, care about others. I have found that when you love someone, you wish the best for them and you are so willing to help them achieve. However, I can also say that one of the lessons I’ve learned through these same family and friends is that a desire to help others doesn’t stop there – when you develop a caring heart, you care for all others, even strangers, even people you will never meet. And here is where I believe is the greatest opportunity to develop your character.

Serving others is something I hope to be dedicated to. I hope this is where I can show my ambition and my determination. This past year, I have learned much about leadership, generosity and love. I have been lucky enough to travel to Honduras on a mission trip, to serve as VP of Service in my chapter of Circle K International, and to be an intern with Benedict Inn through the Center for Faith and Vocation. Receiving this recognition has been an honor and a blessing, and hopefully an indication that I am paying forward what I have received.

Spring Cleaning

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012

It’s what we’re calling, “Non-Profit: Behind the Scenes.”

You might call it the nitty-gritty of the job.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are currently a lot of transitions occurring at Benedict Inn. One of these is the demolition of a building that, along with our main space, originally formed part of OLG Academy back in the day. With the loss of this space, we’re now moving around a lot of storage. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. Our office supplies are being reorganized, inventory for the gift shop is being shifted, and lots of random boxes and knick-knacks are being discovered.

So is this job just a bunch of heavy lifting or am I actually learning? Of course I am! We all know this isn’t the most enjoyable job, or even the best use of our time, but it is necessary. We’re keeping the gears turning for Benedict Inn. Without keeping our space in order, Benedict Inn could not function. I realize that we’re tackling the troublesome but necessary tasks so that the ministry can continue…and that if you run a non-profit, you’re often in charge of all this yourself. However, fortunately, I’m also witnessing the willingness of everyone in the ministry to pitch in and help!

Out with the old, in with the new…..just in time for Easter (which this year I will be celebrating with my wonderful boyfriend and the OLG community at Vigil Mass on Saturday!)