On Sunday, February 11, 2018, a group of 45 OLSH students, parents, faculty, alumni, and staff joined the Felician Sisters for the annual OLSH Love Walk for the Poor.
The Love Walk was started 28 years ago by Felician Sister Louise Marie Olsofka, who wanted to create ameaningful opportunity for people to experience solidarity with the poor. According to tradition, the walk takes place on the Sunday closest to Valentine’s Day as an expression of compassion and love for those in need. Not only do the participants experience the cold, wet February weather, they also carry with them donations of baby items and nonperishable food, giving them the sense of what it might be like to have to carry everything they own.
Sr. M. Faith Balawejder, who helps organize the event, said that Sr. Louise Marie’s vision was to “have young people and families experience for a short time what it is like to be homeless in all kinds of weather and to know the love of Christ for each person. Experience sticks – it means much more than reading about homelessness. Sister has impacted thousands of people over the years and still continues to do so from heaven.” In memory of the event’s founder, the group stopped at the Felician Sisters’ cemetery to pray a decade of the Rosary in honor of Sr. Louise Marie.
This event is a joint venture between the Felician Sisters and the high school. Through the efforts of OLSH Mission Leader Jeff Hulbert and others, participation by the students and their families continues to grow.
OLSH parent Amy Valenty attended with her son, Joe, and said, “The annual Love Walk is a great way for the OLSH community to join together and reflect on the blessings we’ve received and those who are less fortunate. Beginning with a beautiful Mass, the community of Sisters, administration, students, alumni and families prayed together for those in attendance and also those who would receive the items donated. Participating as a family, with others from the OLSH community, again shows how the Felician core values are truly lived. Although it was only a tiny glimpse, the cold walk with heavy bags was a real reminder of what many families unfortunately face each day.”
The food that was collected will help supply Our Lady’s Pantry, OLSH’s on-campus food pantry, and the baby items will be delivered to Choices Pregnancy Center in Coraopolis. In addition, the group collected $500 in donations, which will be split between the two organizations.