Attending Villanova University, only 3.4 miles away from home, I have always stayed close by to my family. Moving 2,689 miles away from home was the boldest and scariest thing I have ever done in my life. I was terrified the last month of summer; August was quickly approaching and I would be saying goodbye to my family until Christmas time. I knew I was called to be an Augustinian Volunteer and that I would have a positive experience, but that didn’t make it any easier to leave home.
Leading up to my year with the Augustinian Volunteers I kept hearing the term intentional community.
My initial impressions of living in community were making extra efforts to be accommodating of everyone’s needs, spending time together, and compromising to avoid conflict and make for the best experience. There is so much more to my community than that and little did I know the immense impact these four strangers would have on my life.
I come from a strong faith-filled background thanks to my family’s influence. I feel extremely blessed for all that my parents have provided for my siblings and me. The values they have instilled upon us are so important to me and have helped shape me into the person I am today. My mom has always told me “Everything happens for a reason and that God has a plan.” This is something I keep in mind throughout my daily life. Through all the highs and lows, successes and hardships, and everything in between, God is constant. This experience I am sharing with my community is enabling my spirituality to grow beyond my strong foundation. They have helped me to raise self-awareness and grow as an individual and they have shown me the power of God’s presence throughout our time spent in San Diego. It is the simplicity of our everyday lives and the extraordinary acts of kindness we receive from all those we have met that God reveals Himself. I am overwhelmed with the love and generosity we have been showered with since arriving here. Each day I look forward to the time spent together, giving thanks around the dinner table, weekly Bible study, Mass on Sundays, and the countless adventures our community shares.
Even though I am missing home, my community has been the greatest support system I could ask for. They are my family and sharing this experience with them is one of the greatest gifts God has ever blessed me with. It is amazing that home doesn’t seem so far away when you’re surrounded by the beauty and love of those we encounter. Someone once told me “Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.” I may be 2,689 miles from my family but this community has fostered the feeling that I’m still home.
San Diego, CA 2017 – 2018