Quality Education in the Benedictine Tradition
Campus MinistryPhone: 724-805-2350Fax: 724-532-5098
The educational community of Saint Vincent College is “rooted in the tradition of the Catholic faith, the heritage of Benedictine monasticism, and the love of values inherent in the liberal approach to life and learning.” Saint Vincent’s Campus Ministry program provides an exceptional opportunity for students to translate the College’s Benedictine principles into action during the annual Spring Break Service Trip to São Paulo, Brazil. The mission trip provides students with the opportunity to help prepare meals, work with orphans and abandoned elderly, serve at an AIDS clinic, teach and learn languages, and spend time playing with children. The student participants are immersed in the lives of the Brazilians, and build relationships in service with the Missionary Sisters of Christ, the parish of Saint Vincent DePaul, and the Association of Hope and Life AIDS Clinic.
During the trip, the students work with the Missionary Sisters of Christ and the children in the Sisters’ schools: Casa de Crianca and Aprendizado do Dom José Gasper. The schools were founded to keep children who live in the favelas, or slums, off the street and to improve their quality of life and hope for the future. The Missionary Sisters of Christ educate and nourish 500 three- to twelve-year-old students from the favelas, where drug abuse, violence, and desperate crime are rampant. The three meals provided by the Sisters each day often are the only food the Brazilian students receive. Through games and playtime, the Brazilian youngsters and Saint Vincent visitors can transcend language, age, and cultural barriers and forge lasting bonds.
Students bring the life lessons they learn in Brazil to their classes at the College and the trip often directly influences their goals, careers, or vocations. The experience also affects the views of the Brazilians, whose time with the students serves as a renewal for a community that feels forgotten in the eyes of the world. American stereotypes in many Brazilian’s thoughts are replaced with memories of Benedictine hospitality and kindness shown by the SVC students, perhaps forever altering attitudes and opening minds.
While in Brazil, the student missionaries are exposed to the harsh realities of the poverty stricken area through conversations with men and women living at the Association of Hope and Life’s AIDS clinic and rehabilitation ranch. The students hear inspiring stories of recovery and salvation from the men and women recovering from substance abuse problems or fighting AIDS.