“How Can We Be of Friendship?”

A Reflection on Six Years of Service Trips
By Sister Sharon Horace, DC

For much of my community life, I have used making art as a way to bring people together. When you’re working on an art project, you relax and can interact with one another. One reason I’ve liked to attempt smaller murals and mosaics is that it is a way many people can work together. It is how community is built, each person contributing towards the whole, which is reflected in the end work.

The last six years, I’ve tried to look at service in somewhat the same way I look at art.

Service is a way to bring people together, to interact with one another and build community. The word “service” to me can otherwise be 9ff-putting. It can say, “I am here to help; you are in need.”

We might feel okay with being on the helping side or the serving side, but how many of us are being comfortable saying, “I am in need.” Let’s be honest. Think about Holy Thursday. There are plenty of people willing to wash feet (other than the priest), but not many who want to volunteer to have their feet washed. We don’t like being vulnerable, and   having another person serve us; it’s awkward. That is why I can have a hard time with the word “service.” The last thing I want to do is to make others feel awkward.

So, how is it that making art and service are alike? Service is just another way of coming together, a way of meeting people whom you would otherwise not meet in your day. It’s a way to get to know someone, like you do when you’re sitting next to them, drawing a picture. Service gives us a way to connect with others. Just like creating art is not so much about the end product as it is what happens when you’re creating it. Service is not so much about the work but about who and how we meet those we work with.

The real work of the Youth Center is not really service. Service is easy to find and do: fill a time slot, complete a task, and feel good that you’ve done something. The real work is to move beyond service. It’s the challenge that Pope Francis has given us: “Ask not how you can be of service, but how you can be of friendship.” [1]

[1] “Friendship with the Poor” Elias Crim. Patheos: The Dorothy Option. December 2, 2019

Spring 2020 Newsletter:

Thank You Sr. Sharon

Since 2014, Sister Sharon has served as the Director of the SVDP Center. Her passion for the environment and her fidelity to the Daughters of Charity mission of friendship with the poor, have truly shaped who we are today, and  will continue to shape the center for many years to come.

We are so grateful to Sister Sharon for her years of service here, and we wish  her well as she continues on to her next mission at Proyecto Juan Diego in Brownsville, Texas. Darcy, Teena and Margarita, as well as the groups who come through the center in the coming months, will truly feel her absence!