Day 1: 

Whew, we finally made it!

After 18 hours in a train, we arrived in Rochester, NY this morning and were greeted by Sister Donna and Sister Marilyn from the Sisters of St. Joseph. Along with the 12 of us, a chilly snowfall accompanied our arrival, and according to the forecast, it will be sticking around. Perhaps God wants us mid-westerners to feel right at home. Thankfully, the sisters brought us back to the house, and after a quick lunch, we were given free time for some much needed showers and naps. The sisters emphasize how we can each take strides in lessening our impact on the Earth through recycling, composting, and 5 minute showers.

After resting, we ‘prayed the city,’ which entailed a tour of Rochester and stopping to pray over each of the sites we will be serving at during the duration of our stay. This was a great opportunity for all of us to see where our fellow S.O.U.L  group members would be serving at during the week, as not all of us are participating in the same kind of service. Service sites for our trip include working with children affected by medical illness, those affected by poverty, and children within the Rochester school system. With today being the solemnity of the Epiphany, it was perfect that we travelled around this big city filled to the places where we will do God’s will by serving His people, just as the Wise Men followed God’s beckon to see the infant Jesus. Our tour ended at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart where we celebrated mass together and were welcomed warmly by the priest and congregation.

After mass, we returned to a nice, warm meal consisting of french bread and white chicken chili that was prepared by some other Sisters. Dinner was great, as we sat around the table enjoying our meal and one another’s company.

Our first day was concluded with a group reflection, in which we considered our motives for coming on this trip: Was it faith driven? Were we yearning for a transformation? Along with reflection, we learned more about our service assignments and what our first day on site will look like tomorrow! Everyone is excited and eager to really dive in tomorrow and immerse ourselves into the sites we are about to experience.

~Courtney  &  Bailey