January 13, 2010, is the date when S. Mary Jane Berger leaves from here to accompany a group of 30 CSB/SJU students to their overseas semester in South Africa. S. Mary Jane is part of our house group in Evin Hall 1 & 2. As we get ready to say goodbye to her for the next four months, I am reminded of the lovely meeting we as a community had with her students on the evening of Nov. 29.
S. Mary Jane invited her 30 students to have dinner with us in our monastery dining room that evening. When the students arrived, they were invited to join sisters at various tables. I sat at a table with five young women—Courtney, Logan, Megan, Katherine and another Courtney. It was such fun to hear about their enthusiasm for their trip to South Africa and to know of the many meetings they were having with S. Mary Jane to get ready for their adventure.
Toward the end of the meal a number of students came to the microphone to share with us the efforts they were making to raise funds for two particular needy places in South Africa. They spoke with great excitement about some of the side trips they would be taking while there. They also told us what courses they would be taking.
At the end of the meal, S. Mary Jane asked the sisters to give these students our blessing. All the sisters stood up and with upraised hands sang a blessing over the seated students. I know the students were touched and grateful, but we as sisters were also enriched by getting to know about the lives of these students here at St. Ben’s and St. John’s. It broadened our horizons and helped us to again feel connected with the idealism and generosity of the young.
To read S. Mary Jane's entry on this journey to South Africa, click here.
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