Feeding the homeless on streets of Indiana ‘most profound’ experience
Four students from the LSU-A Catholic Student Organization attended the National Catholic Collegiate Conference Nov. 21-24 in Indianapolis, Ind.
Lynn Ray, campus minister at the LSU-A CSO, accompanied the students – Kiel Brouillette, Hannah Rice, Naomi Funderburk, and Amelia Bertrand – and one parent, Kara Bertrand.
For three days, the group participated in engaging workshops, inspiring keynotes, dynamic prayer and worship services, praise and music, entertainment and networking with other peers. They exchanged ideas on ways to help their organization grow and prosper on campus.
“For some of the students, it was their very first time to fly and leave the state,” said Lynn Ray. “We were able to sign up and participate in ‘Operation Leftovers’ where we hit the streets in 17 degree weather to feed the homeless. This was a rewarding lesson for us on corporal works of mercy. It was an amazing trip that the college students will be talking about for the rest of their lives.”
(Editor’s Note: The following is an essay from one of the students who attended the conference expressing her gratitude for the experience, and the impact it had on her life.)
By Hannah Rice, Member of LSU-A CSO
Ever since junior high, I have always gone to a yearly retreat. So, I was especially excited when Mrs. Lynn (Ray), campus minister for the LSU-A Catholic Student Organization, asked me to go to the National Catholic Collegiate Conference (NCCC) with her and a couple of other people. After major fundraising, two flights to Indianapolis and many blessings later, we made it to the NCCC and were amazed at the amount of people there.
We started the retreat with praise and worship with more than 28,000 youth and young adults! On the second day, we had many workshops to choose from and a couple that everyone attended. I chose Evangelization: What About Mary? and a workshop that you went to if you wanted to feed the homeless that night.
The first talk was about evangelization and how to evaluate yourself to see where you struggle and ways to help. I really enjoyed this talk because I felt God wanted me to see how to use these tools to help our own CSO here at LSU-A. Reaching out to more students on campus and more service projects is what I want to work on most at the CSO.
The second talk was my favorite by far. It was about Mary and explained many aspects of her and how she is intertwines with the Faith. I have always loved Mary, and never questioned whether she helps me or if it’s okay to ask for her intercession, but many of my close friends are Protestant and I know the Lord wants me to have more knowledge about the Blessed Mother so that I can share the truth and she can begin to lead more people to her Son.
The last workshop was more-so an introduction to an organization that helps the homeless in Indianapolis. The man who spoke to us was the one who started “Operation Leftovers” to help the people he saw everyday who desperately needed help. I feel that, out of all the experiences throughout the trip, that feeding the homeless that night was the most profound.
I bundled up as good as a Southern girl knows how, but the cold still went right through me. After complaining about it hurt, a thought came to me… after this I can leave and go home and get warm, take a hot shower and bundle up… they can’t.
Of course, people know this and I did too, but until I experienced the pain of the cold and what they went through, I really couldn’t grasp it. I knew God put me here to show me how blessed I am and how I need to be a vessel of His blessings to others.
When I came home and people asked me how my conference was, I told them it was amazing and a real eye-opener. I learned so much more than I could ever put on paper and I feel to immensely blessed that I was able to go. I thank everyone so much for supporting us and helping us all get to the NCCC.