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Serving with our sisters

Sacred Heart sisters bond during service project.

Last summer, I was beyond blessed with one of the most life-changing opportunities I have ever had. After filling out my application in March to attend a service trip through the Sacred Heart Network, I, along with 12 other girls from Sacred Heart Schools across the nation, got together at the St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center in San Diego, California.

St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (St. Mads) is a facility that was established for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. At St. Mads, “consumers” are given the opportunity to learn life skills not only in their community, but by stepping out into San Diego.

The alumni at the center are put into classrooms based on their different abilities. Throughout our time at the center, we made our way through the different groups and on some days even had the chance to go out into the community with them!

The consumers at St. Madeleine Sophie’s, however, were not the only people we made connections with. Over the week that we spent together, I was able to develop bonds with my other Sacred Heart sisters. I am beyond lucky to be able to say that I met my best friend on this trip.

Although we came from different parts of the country and had different backgrounds, we were all united through our understanding of the Sacred Heart traditions, from goûter to congé. After our long days at the center, we participated in fun activities like visiting the pier and going on a tour with the RSCJ (Religieuses du Sacré-Coeur de Jesu) sisters from the University of San Diego.

At first glance this might not seem like the best way to spend your summer, but I highly recommend you think about doing one of these programs next year. There are plenty of different trips all over the country. I can guarantee that it will be one of the most fulfilling experiences of your life and that you will create lifelong memories with the members of our Sacred Heart Community.

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  • G

    Gabriel AlkonOct 16, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Lola! This article inspires me to consider participating in one of the network service opportunities. In the past, when I have been offered opportunities like this one, I often think, “I don’t have time.” Occasionally, I do it anyway, and I never regret it. St. Mads sounds like a gift to the consumers and to everyone who participates!

  • D

    Debbie RollheiserOct 2, 2023 at 9:02 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us! What an amazing time; I’m sure this experience will be one that you cherish for years to come.

  • S

    Sarah KrehOct 1, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I have attended a couple of network summer service projects and agree they are incredibly life changing and meaningful. So proud of you for sharing your experience, Lola!

  • S

    Sandra BerenguerSep 29, 2023 at 3:09 pm

    Congratulations Lola! What a beautiful way to spend part of your summer. Helping the community and creating life-long memories.
    Sandra Berenguer

  • J

    Jacqueline PersichilloSep 29, 2023 at 6:15 am

    What a wonderful experience! Amazing!

  • S

    Sofia BarreraSep 28, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    Love this piece! Amazing work, Lola.

  • C

    Christie DiazSep 28, 2023 at 8:56 pm

    What a beautiful experience Lola! I am so proud of you.

  • S

    Sunné ClarkeSep 28, 2023 at 7:49 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, this experience by far was one of the most blessed and life changing experiences for me too!
    Being a chaperone on this trip was super challenging and truly rewarding at the same time. My biggest challenge and I know for the girls too, was trying to keep your emotions in check while engaging with the “consumer.” I am eternally grateful to have shared this wonderful experience with you and Alexa. Thank you for sharing this with our community.

  • M

    Mr. OriasSep 28, 2023 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience Lola!

  • I

    Ineska StojsicSep 28, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    This is the edge Sacred Heart gives you. One gets a fine education while being called to serve the needy.

  • L

    Louris OteroSep 28, 2023 at 11:27 am

    What a beautiful way to spend your summer! Summer Network service opportunities are an amazing way to connect with other SH students, make life-long friends, and do good in the world. -Ms. Otero

  • M

    Ms. BaumgartnerSep 28, 2023 at 9:31 am

    What an amazing experience!