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Erin Olsen Reflection on "Taste of Chicago" Downtown Retreat

At the end of September, some fellow Marist students and I took a trip downtown to Catholic Charities with the Explore Program.  We began our day in the chapel, hearing stories from State Sen. Pat O'Malley (Ret.), now a director at Catholic Charities.

Mr. O'Malley spoke to us first and told a story about a man who stood on a street corner and realized that he loved every person he saw.  This man wanted everyone to realize what he had just realized, which was that even though they might be strangers, they are all connected as God's creations.  The man stated,  "There is no way of telling people that they are walking around, shining like the sun."  I love this quote because it shows that every person has a purpose and contributes something special to the world, even if they may not realize it.  Inside every person, a potential for greatness dwells.

Then the director of Catholic Charities spoke about her experience in college and finding a job after college.  In order to live a fulfilling life, she advised us to follow our hearts and love what we do.  In her life she accomplished this by choosing to work for Catholic Charities, an organization that constantly helps those in need, in order to follow her passion of helping others.  After her talk, she gave us a tour of the place, showing us where they keep food and clothes for the people that come to them for help.  We then prepared lunches for the people who would soon come to get food.  When she spoke to us about the people that come to them, her main point was that they serve them with respect.  Since we are all God's children, they recognize the dignity in the people and show them compassion.  I agree with what she told us because all people deserve respect, and we do not have any right to believe that we are better than anyone else based on our wealth or status.  Everyone, no matter where they are in their life at this moment, has the potential for greatness.  By choosing to serve others and live with compassion, a great life can be obtained. 

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