Seniors volunteer at Carmelite Monastery


Submitted Photo

From left to right: Senior Katherine Cowger, Ava Hilton, Thyme Turner, and Anderson Nixon work at the Senior Service Day.

Natalia Igwebuike, News Contributor

Before St. Joseph Catholic School seniors graduate in 2020, they plan to give back to the local community as much as they can.

Due to this, the senior class was more than willing to lend a helping hand for this year’s Senior Service Day.

On Oct. 18, the seniors and several senior parents headed from the school to the Carmelite Monastery in downtown Jackson. As soon as they arrived, volunteers went straight to work fixing up and beautifying the convent and its garden.

The Carmelite Monastery is home to a small circle of Discalced Carmelite Nuns, who have been a part of the Home Mission Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi since 1951. Their calling is in the tradition of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. The Sisters hope to create a meditative presence, integrating solitude and silence in an atmosphere of sisterly Communion during their ministry.

The group was divided into teams. Each team has a specific task to do in order to spruce up the monastery’s garden: cleaning the statues, mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, and other activities. Everyone got to take a quick lunch break before getting back to work.

The end result was significantly different than from what it looked like before we started, and I hope that we will be able to go back next semester to help again.” said senior Isabella Antonaros.

Every Senior Service Day is planned by St. Joe’s very own senior parent committee. Rachel Dear, one of the members, went on the trip more than glad to help the Sisters and volunteer at the monastery.

I wanted to be a part of Senior Service Day because I think it’s a really important part of what St. Joe is all about,” said Dear, “We want to honor St. Joseph the Worker. We want to express the fact that we believe in loving our neighbor and it’s a perfect opportunity for our seniors to do that early.”

As they worked, the day gave seniors the opportunity to experience and understand the importance of unity during their Catholic faith. Through community service, students can learn to form a cooperative team in order to accomplish their goal. They have to effectively work with members in authority positions as well.

When they dedicate time to the community, students make behavioral strides by learning how to be productive members of society. It also helps students develop responsibility skills and become more aware of what their community needs.

Volunteering at the Monastery brought me closer to God by doing His work with the rest of my peers,” Antonaros said. “It gave us a strong sense of humility, something we were focusing on throughout the day.