It has been such a blessing to serve with the Little Sisters of the Poor in Gallup, New Mexico this summer. Gallup is much different from any other place I have visited, including my home near Seattle, WA. I was lucky to be able to experience and learn about several cultures here, that were unfamiliar to me, and I will take this broader perspective with me when I return home and to school. I have done many types of work during my time here, including serving meals to the Residents, working reception at the front desk, organizing storage rooms, and painting houses. It was exhausting at times, but what made it worth it for me is the positive impact my work had on the Residents. The Residents here were very welcoming and grateful for our service, and it was truly a blessing to get to know many of them in the past two months. They have such a beautiful faith and lifestyle of taking care of each other. This spirit of community was best exhibited when the other volunteers and I put on a carnival for Residents’ Day. Most of the Residents showed up, along with the Sisters and some of the employees. Many of the apartment Residents came to help others out with the games and prizes. It was a great display of what the Sisters are all about – making the elderly happy. It has been an extremely fulfilling two months, and I plan to continue doing as much service as I can during my remaining three years at the University of Notre Dame and beyond. I will miss everyone I have met here in Gallup, and am extremely grateful and inspired by the Little Sisters’ work that I have witnessed here. I hope to stay in touch and visit in the future if I can!
– Jessica Hendricks
It is truly amazing how time flies. It is hard to believe that I have been in Gallup almost two months now, and my final week here has come. My time here in Gallup has been one of the most humbling and eye-opening experiences of my life. Over these past two months, I have gotten to know the Sisters and the Residents, and I have learned many lessons from them. The Sisters have shown me what true compassion and selfless love looks like.Day in and day out, they work their hardest to make sure that the residents are well-fed and well taken care of. Everything the Sisters do, they do it with a smile, and they never seemed to tire. Another thing I witnessed here was the power of prayer and how it brought this community together.One of the most powerful memories I have is gathering to pray over Deacon Ashton Bailey, who was dying. Many of the sisters as well as the residents came. As we prayed the rosary, I felt God’s presence in the room. Even though I had never known the Deacon, I knew he was beloved by everyone in the home because of their prayers and their stories of him. In this one moment, I could see what service is all about – entering into suffering with others and helping them overcome it. As I continue my journey at Notre Dame, I hope to continue to serve others the way the Sisters serve the residents here. Thank you to all the Sisters and residents for welcoming me into your community and sharing your stories with me.I will miss you all, and I hope someday soon I can some back and visit.
– Sabrina Lichon