To kick off spring break Manresa-style, the Manresa Staff planned an “Urban Immersion” service project.
Limited to only twelve Scholars, the project offered me a new perspective not only of New York City, but also of the people whom I encounter every day, even myself.
One of the most exciting (and nerve-wracking) parts of Urban Immersion was not knowing what was coming next. The itinerary was a secret; we received only a rough outline a few days before the trip. This was a blessing in disguise, because it allowed us to immerse ourselves fully in the present, not the future.
Day one focused on educating ourselves on the social issues facing the Bronx and NYC overall. We watched Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream. This stirring film led to an insightful discussion. We concluded the day with reflections in our journals and a guided Ignatian meditation in the St. Ignatius of Loyola Chapel.
Day two was centered on experiencing the difficulties of those less privileged than us. We spent the day in rainy Manhattan, participating in a variety of exercises that gave us an idea of what life is like for those living in poverty. Afterwards, we attended mass at St. Francis Xavier Parish and had a discussion with Jesuits there about their work with the poor. They offered some words of wisdom to our team for our time at Fordham.
On day three, we put what we had learned so far into action. We volunteered at the Bartow-Pell Mansion in Pelham Bay, where we met some awesome people. This experience was rewarding because we saw results and knew we were making an impact.
Urban Immersion ended the following afternoon. We spent the morning at the Jesuit infirmary on campus, Murray-Weigel Hall, where we attended mass with the residents and heard fascinating and inspiring stories about Jesuits who were able to make an impact both overseas and here at Fordham. Urban Immersion was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had so far. I felt like I grew as a person, and as a member of the Manresa Community.
Francesca Russo, FCRH 2018
Manresa Scholar and 2015-2016 Loyola Hall RA