For the second year in a row, Dr. Mary Pickett, associate professor, was a site leader for the Day of Service at Siloam wellness center for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Located in Philadelphia and founded by Rev. Donald Reilly, OSA, former Prior Provincial and a member of the COPE Advisory Committee and Sister Bernadette Kinniry, a Sister of Mercy, the center offers a variety of complimentary services for persons living with these diseases. Sister Bernadette and Kathy McGuire, also a sister of Mercy and a Villanova graduate, direct the program of services. The Villanova volunteers consisted of 13 members of the Blue Key Society who represent a diverse range of majors, Professor Emerita Dr. Claire Manfredi, and retired graduate program assistant Geri Hansen. The team brought buckets, mops, gardening equipments, cardboard boxes and more. Before beginning their work, the group was given an overview of Siloam and even had the chance to talk with one of the volunteers at the center who expressed his own experiences with AIDS and the positive impact that Siloam has had on his life. Cleaning, yard work, organizing and helping prepare for the center’s upcoming relocation were some of the services Villanova was happy to provide.
Though some were unable to participate on the day of these organized trips, Villanovans still contributed by baking for St. John’s Hospice or preparing lunches for Saturday’s volunteers. The opportunity to give back in any way and support our neighbors is an important part of the Villanova mission and tradition. The St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service gives us a chance to do just and to remember our sense of community.