Sophomore Retreat

Avery Roedig ‘18

Last week Mercy’s sophomore class went on their annual retreat. Although each of us had our own experiences, I’ll share mine with you.


We were all placed at a different location where we could immerse ourselves into the service of others. I was placed at St.Vincent de Paul, where I learned so much from my exposure to the different cultures and styles of life. The people I had the pleasure of meeting definitely had an impact on my experience. During my visit I was able to interact with the people who came in and needed assistance. With the help of my other classmates and regular volunteers at St.Vincent de Paul I served breakfast to the people who were hungry. Going into the experience I had no idea what we would be doing and who I was going to meet. As I arrived I tried to hold back the judgmental thoughts that come into everyone’s mind as they meet someone new.

When you think about immersing yourself into service your assumptions usually include that everyone who comes in for help is homeless. As my retreat continued I learned the true meaning of “not judging a book by its cover.” It didn’t take long for me to realize that although some people carried nice belongings they could still be struggling from a bigger challenge behind the scenes. I distinctly remember a man coming in and telling us he hadn’t had a freshly cooked breakfast in 15 years. For him, our service made his day and he made mine.

Not only did I get the chance to physically help these people, but also I got to genuinely know them. Instead of feeling sorry for them, I tried to relate on a deeper level to show them empathy not sympathy. I knew that when I entered the building I would be doing something great regardless of whether I got to clean or interact with people..

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