service day good shepbardBy Kathryn Cody, Coordinator of Social Justice and Leadership

Photo caption: (Left) Janice Rey, Elaine Trumble, Chris Callaway, Linda Quigley, Emily Lesher. (Right) Liz Schran, Michael Pardales, and Lisa Pardi.

On May 20, staff and faculty at Saint Joseph’s College took some time to really explore the meaning of mercy, not just in theory, but also in practice. So often we hear and use the term “mercy,” both on campus and in our surrounding communities. But how often do we take the time to really consider what it means? To not just say or speak the word, but dissect it, understand it, and most importantly, live it.

This year, faculty and staff from departments across campus volunteered both on campus and off, working with the SJC Facilities Department, Pearson’s Town Farm, My Place Teen Center, Good Shepherd Food Bank, Ronald McDonald House, Pine Root Farm, Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals (MSSPA), and the Windham Recreation Department. The day was spent sharing our time and talents in support of the needs of others, and celebrating the good work and compassion demonstrated by our community partners.

The Saint Joseph’s Day of Service tradition began in 2003, and while it has fallen off the calendar in recent years, there was much enthusiasm behind bringing back this tradition for faculty and staff, especially as part of a larger celebration of Mercy during the Jubilee Year. The day was not just a chance to serve outside of our “regular” job descriptions, but an opportunity to meet colleagues from other departments and people working and serving in our greater community.

Integral to this Year of Mercy is to give mercy and receive mercy. In its simplest explanation, mercy is simply, compassion. But compassion in itself is another deep word that warrants exploration. For many of us, the Day of Service was just that: a day of exploration.