In our latest blog post, Dominican Volunteer Lacey Green shares how her year as a DV has influenced who she is and who she strives to become. Lacey serves at the Darst Center, an educational center with a focus on social justice issues in Chicago Illinois.
I’m not Catholic. I have been learning about Catholic traditions over the past six months. A very large part our personal identity is a result of what we value and believe. I believe in community. Since I was very young I have struggled with feeling lonely. I’m 33 years old. I have spent over a decade pondering the meaning of community as I have searched relentlessly searched for a place called home. In my adult life, I have lived in 10 different states and in China. My current home is at the House of Connections in Chicago, IL. I never thought in a million years that I would find myself back in the Midwest. However, DVUSA and Providence has brought me back for round two. The Dominican Volunteer program has been a confirmation of who I am. I may not be Catholic, but I certainly am Dominican!
When I was looking at other similar volunteer programs, most had a requirement that you must be Catholic. I just wanted to be a part of something without forfeiting my own personal spirituality. I love that Dominicans seem to have a “Come as you are” mentality. I have a vision to start a nonprofit before the end of 2019. I desire to reach out to those are who lonely. Isolation can be experience by both those who have little and those who have much. Don’t let a well-dressed person fool you, loneliness is a problem in corporate America as much as it is with those living on the streets. I envision a world where everyone has someone to “do life” with.
Recently, my community took a trip to visit the Sinsinawa Dominicans. There I was given an opportunity to share my vision with Sister Christa and Sister Melissa, both whom were very encouraging. A few days later, The Sinsinawa Dominican Leader Council sent me a Christmas card with a quote from Pope Francis, “Every Stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ.” Dominicans have a desire to welcome everyone with open arms. Isolation is rare occurrence in our sphere because we are family. As Dominicans, we seek out the solo in hopes they too might know the joy of loving and being loved. This is a family that I’m proud to be a part of!