By Jillian Foster, FC 20
Since sophomore year at the University of Dayton, I soon discerned that I wanted to do a year of service. That was the time I became a Human Rights major. Over the next couple years I traveled abroad to Ireland and then to Malawi, Africa. The culture and people interested me. Being very blessed throughout my life, I was particularly taken with my time in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world and whose people lived very different lives than me. I loved learning a bit of the local language, talking with the farmers and teachers, and working with two Malawian university students. What someone might guess from this is that I wanted to do a year of service and they would be right. My intention was to go abroad for several years as a volunteer.
I found out about FrancisCorps at a post-grad year of service fair at my school. While initially interested in their Costa Rica program, I unfortunately cannot speak Spanish and was therefore ineligible to go. Nonetheless, FrancisCorps had been planted. After some research, through which I knew I wanted to serve through a Catholic organization, I realized that going abroad with the organization I wanted to be with was not possible right off the bat. I started looking domestically and while it was a long discernment process, FrancisCorps stuck out because of that commitment to community, which I came to value through the Marianist education I received, and prayer. It was small, but nurturing, and could be a lot more hands-on in the sense that the volunteers would have a lot of support. And indeed we have! The community has been so welcoming which helped ease us into our new environment.
When I was first accepted into FrancisCorps, I was most excited about the faith and prayer aspect with my community. God is very important to me and I really wanted to build a firm foundation of faith through service. If you asked me now what I am most excited about, I have to say it is the surprise pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy!