Monthly Archives: October 2012

Challenged and Changed: IPS Student Erin Kane Reflects on Kenya Trip

Erin Kane in front of an Elephant Orphanage in Kenya.

Public health, poverty, housing equality and women’s empowerment—the needs of the world are great. That’s why for Erin Kane, it was difficult to decide where to focus her career. But her study abroad experience in Kenya through Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies gave her the vision and clarity she needed.

Erin took advantage of a trip to Kenya, as part of her master’s program in Social Justice and Community Development. Interested in how local groups can serve people in need, she met with Kenyan non-profit organizations and small businesses. Many of the organizations, such as Upendo Village, were aimed at providing affordable health care for HIV-affected families.

“The sheer generosity of everyone I encountered amazed me. So much work still needs to be done. But now I know why I’m doing it.” Through the trip, Erin found the focus and insight she’d been looking for. She now plans to find similar international work, with a focus on women’s health and well-being. “My Loyola trip to Kenya was by far a transformative experience. It brought home for me why I was working for social justice in the first place.”

Click here for more information about study abroad opportunities at IPS.

Click here for more information about the Master of Arts in Social Justice and Community Development program.

MASJCD student, Tonei Glavinic reflects on visit with Vice President Biden

The day after my first day of class at IPS, I received an email titled “An Invitation from the Vice President and Dr. Biden.” At first, I assumed it was just another fundraising email from the Obama campaign, but once I saw “This invitation is non-transferable” at the top of the message, I knew it was something else. The Bidens were holding an end-of-summer barbecue at their house celebrating the next generation of LGBT leaders, and I was one of their invited guests. 

Having just spent four years of undergrad in DC at American University, I was initially uncertain whether to say I would attend. I’d received invitations from the White House before, and I would be on my own for transportation from Chicago. However, after sharing the news with friends and learning that I knew people traveling from Las Vegas and San Francisco for the event, I decided this was an invitation I couldn’t refuse. So I cashed in some frequent flier miles and part of an American Airlines bump voucher, and after only 36 days in the Midwest, I found myself on a plane back to Washington. 

Being back in DC was a surreal experience, especially since I was there for such a short time. I can still navigate the Metro system with my eyes closed, so it was no trouble to get to the house I was spending the night in or to get to the White House for a tour the following morning. 

That tour was just the standard self-guided tour of the East Wing that anyone can request on the White House website, which was slightly disappointing – I’d seen it before, and if I had known it was just the standard tour, I probably would have gotten a little more sleep. My friend Sarah interns at the White House, though, and she was with our group so we got a little bit of “unofficial” commentary as we made our way through the building.

Following the tour, we were invited to a three-hour LGBT Policy Roundtable at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. This event featured three panels representing nine government agencies’ efforts on LGBT rights in the context of domestic laws, international relations, and support for young people. While most of the information shared was not particularly new to me, it was a good opportunity to get an big-picture look at this administration’s multifaceted approach to such an important civil rights issue. 

Most moving was the keynote speech by John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel Management and the highest-ranking openly gay person in the history of the federal government. He shared stories of the countless people who directly and indirectly helped him get to where he is today, and told us of the importance of thanking people who support us in our struggles. Berry closed his remarks with an admonition to do everything we can to preserve our integrity, comparing it to holding water in one’s hands – there are countless places and ways for integrity to slip away, but ideally you should seek to end your life holding just as much as you had when you started.

Of course, the main event was the evening barbecue at the Naval Observatory, home of the Vice President’s Residence. Even the White House staff who organized the event had never been there before, so it was a real treat for everyone involved. After an opportunity to mingle with friends old and new while enjoying food and drink (complete with napkins featuring the Vice Presidential seal), Dr. Jill Biden took the stage to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and reflect on her experiences as an educator. Vice President Biden then shared stories of his history working for civil rights as a public servant, and thanked us for our work to free the soul of this nation from the travesty of discrimination.

The profound remarks by John Berry, Dr. Biden, and Vice President Biden left all of us with a lot to think about and be thankful for as we left the event that night. I was incredibly honored to be a part of this amazing event, and I look forward to strengthening the connections I made that day to continue seeking justice at Loyola and beyond.

White Rose Catholic Worker to offer “Nonviolent Living Apprenticeship”

“Nonviolent Living Apprenticeship” at the White Rose Catholic Worker

STARTS: Jan 1 – Mar 1, 2013    ENDS: Dec 31, 2013

LOCATION:  WRCW House (Chicago, IL) OR  WRCW Farm (Monee, IL)
Room, board, and a small stipend (negotiated based on need)

BACKGROUND:  Founded in 1933 by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, the Catholic Worker Movement is a decentralized network of houses of hospitality and farms meant to serve those in need. It is grounded in a firm belief in the God-given dignity of every human person. Today over 200 Catholic Worker communities remain committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and forsaken. Catholic Workers continue to protest injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms. The White Rose Catholic Worker follows in this tradition by running a house of hospitality and a rural farm. We are committed to a consistent prayer life, hospitality to those in need, education for social justice, nonviolent resistance, and ecological sustainability. The farm is an important part of our effort to produce our own local, organic, sustainable food for the people and guests who live at the WRCW and to redistribute food to survivors of torture through the Kolver Center in Rogers Park. In addition, the farm helps promote a closer relationship to the earth and helps us try to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

There is a good article about the community in the Loyola Magazine and Marquette Magazine:

DESCRIPTION:  An apprentice will live and work at either the farm or the city house full time for the year engaging in the shared work of the WRCW.  This could involve a wide range activities like doing hospitality to overnight guests, cooking meals, spreading a Gift Economy (through gift circles or free markets), hosting H.S. & college student immersion groups, attending protests, helping in the garden, preserving the harvest, connecting with community groups, leading prayer/liturgy, speaking at churches or schools, facilitating groups, learning/studying about the many issues of our time, attending the spring/fall Catholic Worker gatherings, heading to D.C. for the Witness Against Torture Fast in January, visiting other Catholic Worker communities, or hosting a Craft Retreat!  There will plenty of opportunities of personal formation and training throughout the year.  We are looking for people of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in going deeper into the journey of nonviolence at the personal, communal, and systemic level.  We are actively working to create a world where “it is easier to be good” and want partners to join us in the work!

DESIGN:  We see this as a mutual learning and living process through a series of experiments with Truth (think Gandhi!). Each apprentice will co-design their year with the WRCW around their particular interests, skills, and potential areas of growth.  Each apprentice will be paired with a nonviolence mentor through Pace e Bene, a nonviolence training organization with whom we work closely.  The mentor will meet with you on a monthly basis and be a resource available beyond that as needed.  At the end of the year, apprentices can explore becoming a core member of the WRCW.

How do I get more info?    Call IPS alumnus John Bambrick-Rust at 402-203-2173