Sunday, October 04, 2015

rss-feed-usepinterest-button Twitter logo blue


Area college students go on a very different spring break


As a campus minister in the Diocese of Charlotte, I have been fortunate to have had a number of college Alternative Spring Break experiences over the past few years. Our diocesan-sponsored Alternative Spring Break 2012 was a definite departure from the "typical" ASB experience, which usually consists of traveling to a work site with a group from a school or diocese. This year's event afforded our college students a unique opportunity through the Sisters of Life – a contemplative/active religious community founded by the late John Cardinal O'Connor of the Archdiocese of New York for the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of all human life.

In an effort to provide "something more" than a typical ASB experience, the Sisters of Life offered a 10-day experience that could almost be described as a "Catholic immersion experience into the Culture of Life."

Pictured: More than 75 college students went on an Alternative Spring Break 2012 to New York, where they worked, prayed and lived with the Sisters of Life for 10 days. (Photos provided by Gloria Schweizer)

It began with a two-day silent retreat. The remaining days were filled with activities and opportunities for spiritual nourishment: a day visiting shrines in New York, two days of work at their motherhouse in Montebella, N.Y., a hiking day at Bear Mountain with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a presentation by Peter Kreeft, prayer for Dr. Emily's Abortion Clinic in the South Bronx, and a lecture entitled "Biology of the Theology of the Body" by Vicki Thorn (founder of Project Rachel). Additional offerings included daily Mass, praying the rosary, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Liturgy of the Hours, and presentations by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and the Sisters of Life.

Eleven students and three campus ministers from the Diocese of Charlotte participated in this very unique Alternative Spring Break – among about 75 students from colleges/universities in seven states.

From the morning rising bell at 6 a.m., until the bell signaling Compline (night prayer), followed by Grand Silence at 10 p.m., the students grew in faith, knowledge of pro-life issues, and compassionate ways to offer hope and healing to those experiencing an unwanted pregnancy or post-abortion trauma.

"In between moments of reflective grand silence and holy leisure, we attended conferences that taught us more about the love Jesus has for each of us, the great significance of life, and the biological effects of abortion and use of contraceptives," said Aurora Trujillo of UNC-Charlotte.

They also developed strong ties of friendship and established a support base for themselves as they face a world that does not actively promote chastity or encourage abstinence, and where the rights of the unborn are largely ignored.

It truly was an awesome experience for me as a woman religious and campus minister to be a part of the "First Annual Sisters of Life Alternative Spring Break." Ten days with more than 75 college-aged young adults, and the end result was phenomenal – an attitude of renewed hope and faith and a celebration of life.

Said Tim Potkay of UNC-Greensboro, "I attended my first Eucharistic healing service and spent time with the Blessed Sacrament every day. Best spring break ever."

Thank you to all the generous donors who support Catholic Campus Ministry in the Diocese of Charlotte, a ministry partially funded by the Diocesan Support Appeal.

— Sister Eileen Spainer, professed with the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, is a Charlotte area campus minister and chairwoman of Alternative Spring Break 2012.

Please update your Flash Player to view content.

Photo carousel will auto rotate. Click on image to advance to that photo or enlarge. 

image image image image
OLG seventh-grader wins national song contest Read the Full Story
CCHS announces five National Merit Scholarship semifinalists Read the Full Story
Charlotte Catholic High School students commemorate 9-11 with flag display Read the Full Story
Remembering 9-11 in Salisbury Read the Full Story
  • CCHS debate team members compete CCHS debate team members compete
    CHARLOTTE — Eight members of the Charlotte Catholic High School Debate and Speech Team team were selected by Head Coach Mary A. Morales to compete in the Forensics Early Bird at Wake Forest University Tournament Sept. 11-13. The national...
  • No 'summer slide' here! No 'summer slide' here!
    HIGH POINT — This summer, Immaculate Heart of Mary School offered three computer-based, teach-er-guided programs to help school and parish children prevent the "summer slide" described as what happens when young minds sit idle for three months. Experts...
  • OLG School to host open house
    GREENSBORO — Our Lady of Grace School will host an open house for interested parents of children aged 3 through the eighth grade at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15. The short presentation will be followed by a tour of the school at 201 S. Chapman...
  • Belmont Abbey College library renovation recaptures Gothic architecture Belmont Abbey College library renovation recaptures Gothic architecture
    BELMONT — The campus of Belmont Abbey College will become even more picturesque this fall with the renovation of its 24,000-square-foot library. Over the course of several months, both the exterior and the interior of the building are receiving...
  • St. Leo School hosts summer reading program St. Leo School hosts summer reading program
    WINSTON-SALEM — This summer St. Leo Parish School once again hosted a reading enrichment pro-gram based on the "Read Naturally ReadLive" program, a research-based program designed to build oral reading fluency and comprehension. From June...
  • Dr. Janice Ritter: Our mission continues with the new school year Dr. Janice Ritter: Our mission continues with the new school year
      Each year at this time our administrators and teachers prepare to begin another school year, and they look forward to the rewards and challenges that come with this new year. I suspect that students as well look forward to this new beginning. Although...
  • Catholic schools in diocese see facility improvements over the summer Catholic schools in diocese see facility improvements over the summer
    CHARLOTTE — Catholic schools across the Diocese of Charlotte saw several improvements to their facilities either started or finished over the summer. The largest of these projects to be completed is Charlotte Catholic High School's new parking...
  • St. Michael School welcomes new principal this fall St. Michael School welcomes new principal this fall
    GASTONIA — When the doors of St. Michael School open to receive students this month, a new face will be among the teachers and administrators welcoming students back to school. Sheila Levesque, herself a product of Catholic schools and a...
  • Photo Gallery: First day back to school Photo Gallery: First day back to school
    See photos from students returning to Catholic schools across the diocese. Included in the gallery are: ASHEVILLE — Students enjoy the first day of school on Aug. 19. — Photos courtesy of Facebook CHARLOTTE — Four students at St. Gabriel...
  • New classes coming this fall to Our Lady of Grace School in Greensboro
    CHARLOTTE — One of the greatest gifts the Diocese of Charlotte Catholic schools has received in recent years is the addition of students with special needs. Our special needs programs are designed to meet the individual academic and social...
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20


Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at  parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte: