2023 Winning Essay
Throughout my Catholic upbringing, the critical importance of being a compassionate and active member of my community has been ingrained in me. When I was in first grade and learned that my family signed up to prepare and to eat dinner at the local homeless shelter, my first reaction was one of fear. After all, I would happily assist in making meals or cards for the less fortunate within the safe confines of my home. When it came time, however, to eat and to interact with homeless men, I began to feel uncomfortable.
After that first experience at the homeless shelter where I ate with my new friend, Reggie, I was most struck by our commonalities not differences. We not only bonded over our mutual love for the Cubs, but also our shared favorite food and place of birth/early childhood. Since that early experience, I have made it a priority in my life to commit to the Corporal Works of Mercy especially feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, and clothing the naked. As such, for years I have served on multiple philanthropy boards: Radical Generosity Chicago (RGC), National Charity League, and Skin of Steel. For the past few years, I have tremendously enjoyed serving as the Junior Board President of RGC which provides food and essential items to Chicago’s unsheltered population. When it came time for my search to find the right university for my continued studies, it was imperative to me to find a Catholic university. Thus, I feel both blessed and honored to be attending Fordham University this fall where I will also play for their soccer team!
To sum it up, when I look back upon all my experiences, inside and outside of the confines of the church walls, the lessons remain the same and illustrate a Catholic woman’s calling in 2023:
- Love they neighbor
- See Jesus in the eyes of strangers
- Feel obligated to help those in need.
By Piper Julia Hasbrook