Alumni Sharing Stories

"The place God calls you to is the place where you deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." -Frederick Buechner

Villanova alumni have and continue to serve in marginalized communities and engage in questions of social justice and solidarity. Below are some of our most recent alumni stories.



Celina - Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry, Baltimore

"As my first impressions sank in, I asked myself what I was doing here, once again reflecting on the questions that had been posed to me months prior to arrival. Now, I was here in Baltimore and the reality of my year of service was beginning to unfold. I think service has become a buzz word in our society, sometimes glamourized as the 'thing' to do. For a long time, I held this perception of service as well; service equaled action. Throughout my college experience, on weeklong service trips, my view changed. I began to understand, the concept of ministry of presence. During my time with BSVM, my understanding of service has continued to expand and grow. With my community members, service is integrated into the very heart of everything that we do. Serving within my ministry placement site at the Women's Resource Center is also a daily lesson in evaluating and reevlauating the meaning of service. I am beginning to understand that through serving here we have the opportunity to see a place forgotten by many, a place many people touring Baltimore will never visit. Service is not about creating something out of nothing, but about being present enough to actually see the life hidden by claims that there is nothing here and honoring this life and the lives of those we meet."  

* Celina Reflection.pdf
Open the PDF to view Celina's full reflection

Eric - AmeriCorps, Boston

"I can't guarantee this reflection will set your heart on fire, but it's my hope that this exposes you (especially you job-seeking seniors) to some post-grad volunteer options you've yet to consider. Majoring in Finance, with minors in Real Estate and Data Analytics, I was always trying to make headway on landing my first internship. I applied for a summer analyst position. As fate has it, I interned there that summer, and the next, and was then offered a full-time position. I had never fully consisered doing a year of service before my senior year. After hard discussions with friends and family, and a long discernment period in myself, I asked the firm if it ws possible to defer my job offer until 2017, after my year of service. It just so happened that they allowed it! If I didn't go out on a limb to ask, I would not have had the incredible opportunity I am pursuing today! I've been fortunate to be serving in Boston as a Social Capital AmeriCorps member at Bottom Line, an education non-profit serving low income, first-generation students get into college, graduate, and go far. Knowing that my work is valued and will help Bottom Line expand to a new city to serve thousands of new students is so incredibly rewarding."

* Eric's Reflection.pdf
Open the PDF to see Eric's full reflection

Keegan - Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Raleigh

    "Since starting my year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, I have seen a side of the country I never knew existed before. I work as a paralegal at Legal Aid of North Carolina's Farmworker Unit, which provides free civil legal services to agricultural workers. The most exciting part of my job is going on community outreach visits to labor camps in rural NC to inform workers of their legal rights. These camps are, more often than not, located in the "middle of nowhere." Almost every worker that I have encountered is here legally from Mexico, with an H2A (guest worker) visa. Despite their legal status, these workers are often easily subjected to abuse. Unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions, wage theft and dangerous working conditions are the harsh realities of an agricultural worker here in the United States." 

* Keegan's Reflection .docx
Open the DOCX to read Keegan's full reflection

Shannon - Bethlehem Farm, West Virginia

"The fact that I now live at a place where I once went on a service break trip may sound silly, as if I'm somehow trying to continue living out a high point of my college experience - but it's not like that at all. Once I got a taste of life at Bethlehem Farm, I couldn't get this place out of my head. I love it here in wild and wonderful West Virginia, but I won't lie - moving here has not been easy. In general, I'm learning more and more every day that the life to which Christ calls us is not at all easy, and it does not look like the life society teaches us to live. At Villanova, I first gained a sense of what the idea of community is all about. Everything you do affects your community, and the simplest things can actually be great acts of service to your fellow community members. I never could have imagined that I'd find myself living on a sustainable, Catholic farm in the mountains of West Virginia. It's truly incredible the places that God will lead you if you let Him. My time so far as a Caretaker at Bethlehem Farm has been beautifully overwhleming."

* Shannon's Reflection.pdf
Open the PDF to see Shannon's full reflection
Image of Gerard

Gerard Ondrey- Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry, Baltimore

"If there is a definition of one word that has changed the most for me over the last few years, it's probably the definition of the word 'service'. This evolution has definitely continued during my time serving at Bon Secours Baltimore Hospital as a Bon Secours Volunteer. I think often about the right way to serve, or if certain things qualify as service and other things don’t qualify as service. I may not have any more concrete answers to these questions than I did before coming to Baltimore, but I have begun to realize that this ambiguity may be an answer in itself. Perhaps the reason it is so hard to determine a formula for the correct way to serve is because it’s not black and white, but a mixture of many different aspects. Indeed, everything I've learned about service this year seems to come back to another word, one that coincidentally means an equal distribution of many different objects or ideas: balance."  

* Gerard Ondrey, Villanova, 15-16 BSVM Volunteer, A Balancing Act.pdf
Open the PDF to see Gerard's full reflection.