Pope Francis once said, "One cannot speak of poverty if one does not experience poverty, with a direct connection to the places in which there is poverty.” On Thursday, October 4, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, 35 students and 3 adult teachers slept outside in an effort to experience solidarity with the poor and what it means to be homeless. The participating students brought over $2,200 in donations that will be sent to Felician Center in Kingstree, SC. Miss Kate Kelly, theology teacher gave a presentation about the spiritual and emotional issues many experience living on the street.
The “homeless” students spent several hours of the night folding used plastic bags, cutting them and tying them into strains of plastic yarn. Eventually the plastic strains will be crocheted into sleeping mats for homeless. The group processed about 1000 bags, producing 8 large balls of plastic yarn ready to make the mats. This work supports the special project started at the Seeds of Hope summer conference. The OLSH students who attended Seeds of Hope and Sr. M. Francine Horos are working with the OLSH Heartstrings knitting activity to crochet the mats.
By 5:50 am Friday, all of the students were woken up and asked to remove their boxes and get ready for school. They were given a meager breakfast of fruit and oatmeal. A little sleepy because of the lack of rest, the students headed up to school by 7:00 am to attend classes for the day. The 6th annual Box Out event was a great experience for all who attended.
The Box Out served as the culminating event of Mission & Heritage Week. Celebrated each year in early October, Mission & Heritage Week provides an opportunity for ministries of the Felician Sisters across North America to reflect on their history and mission. On Monday each grade level walked to the Sisters’ cemetery located on campus and prayed a decade of the rosary in honor of the Sisters who served and lived at the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart convent, many of whom were teachers, administrators, and alumni of the school. On Wednesday, a small group of students spent the day at the Samaritan House, a thrift store run by the TOR Sisters in Steubenville, OH. The school community celebrated the feast of St. Francis with Mass and throughout the week donations of non-perishable food were collected for Our Lady’s Pantry, and donations of plastic grocery bags were collected for making plastic yarn mats for the homeless. Organized by Mission Leader Mr. Jeff Hulbert, the week provided students with opportunities to learn about and experience the Felician Core Values in action.