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Brescia University Students Return from Honduras

Brescia University students have returned from a trip to Honduras that was part of the Caritas Leadership Workshop Series at Brescia University. The trip, which was in conjunction with the organization Water with Blessings, was the culminating experience of the program.

1The Caritas Leadership Workshop Series at Brescia University is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop their own leadership abilities, explore leadership opportunities on campus, and envision ways in which they can be leaders in their communities by embracing the ideals of Caritas theology and leading because of the love they have for others.

Three Brescia University students were able to experience leading with love first hand when they traveled to Honduras with Sr. Larraine Lauter, OSU, founder of the organization Water with Blessings. The students departed on May 16th and returned stateside on Tuesday, May 24th.

During their time in Honduras, they served as part of the childcare team that was responsible for caring for the children of Water Women, who were training to be able to provide clean water to their communities.

“While in Honduras the students assisted Water With Blessings staff as they trained and empowered women to provide clean water to their families and community.  Brescia students provided childcare for the women as they received their training.  Despite a language barrier, the students made crafts, played games, and cared for the children.  Students also participated in a Water With Blessings training, learning how the water filtration system works to provide clean water,” stated Josh Clary, Vice President of Student Development and Dean of Students.

2The Water with Blessings organization recognizes and builds upon the capacity of local people as the solution for their own local need for safe water. The group works to empower mothers as Water Women in ministry to their communities, equipping them with the highest quality filtration system.

Their mission is driven by the two million deaths annually that the World Health Organization attributes to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. While tap water is not available to many countries, Water with Blessings has found a way to put pure water in the hands of those who need it most.

Brescia students, Erin Caldwell (Lebanon, Kentucky), Samantha Steckler (Ferdinand, Indiana) and Icces Wilcox (Owensboro, Kentucky) all participated in the trip and were part of the first cohort to participate in the Caritas Leadership Workshop Series, which began March 2016. Participants attend two sessions, twice a week and there are a total of twelve sessions required. Sessions focus on a wide variety of topics including personality assessments, faith, diversity, and conflict resolution.

“Brescia students lived the caritas ethos of leading with self-giving love.  The promotion of justice through service efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church and society deeply,” stated Clary.  “Practical activity will always be insufficient, unless it visibly expresses a love for of the other, a love nourished by an encounter with Christ.  Caritas, or charity, brings hope to hopeless situations; love to into situations without love; and friendship where there is none.  Caritas love makes life more livable in spite of sickness, need, and suffering; it brings faith, hope, and love to life.  By tending to everyday needs of those in need, in particular those served by Water With Blessings, our Brescia students fully exemplified the spirit of caritas.”

The program is driven by the University’s devotion to servant leadership, inspired by Saint Angela Merici who founded the Ursuline Sisters. Saint Angela attracted people from all walks of life; rich and poor, nobility and common folk, learned and uneducated. She is often noted for her hospitality, her healthy sense of self in relationship to God and others, her contemplative spirit while being involved in the world, and her ability to be a reconciler and peacemaker.

This ideals of a caritas life is one that Brescia University seeks to instill in their students, faculty, staff and alumni.