In our February PV Newsletter, we included a reflection written by one of our volunteers,Lucy Schletzbaum. Lucy talks about using her experience as a PV in a new and different volunteer experience.
A PV Experience in St. Lucia
This January four PV’s ventured to a different country to serve others for two weeks. It was through Bernice Toepfer that we decided to go to St. Lucia Island. In Bernice’s parish she knew Sister Diane and this Sister suggested we go to St. Lucia because of a hurricane had went through there in October. Some repairs needed to be done at the Pastoral Centre and Sister Frances could use some help. On January 10 Nick Bjelica, Bernice Toepfer, Dan and myself flew to St. Lucia, only knowing that we would be painting and varnishing.
In PV style, Sister Frances was there at the airport to greet us. I felt the warm welcome as I do when in WV.
During my stay there I felt the PV presence all the time: the sharing of bathroom/showers, the occasional coldness of the water at shower time (or sometimes no water), the laughter and sharing memories of past summers, the gathering after dinner with card games and snacking, the new foods at meal time and in general the whole sharing of the group. Many conversations were connected with the PV Volunteers. The thought that was always in the back of my mind was the encouraging comment Jenny and Jill share with the PV’s every summer: the PV’s do the things for the people that aren’t always the most noticeable and glamorous. We did not build any houses while in St. Lucia. Instead we did the simple and sometimes tedious jobs that made a difference in someone else’s life. The other volunteer group that was staying there stated many times they couldn’t believe we were just going to paint. They would brag on the number of small homes they were able to build and all the good they would be doing for the people. Sometimes they would invite us to join them on their sites, but we would turn them down because we were there to help Sister and the Pastoral Centre with their needs. The staff at the Pastoral Centre were very appreciative of what we were doing and the Monsignor couldn’t believe what we had accomplished in the two weeks we were there. Altogether we varnished the outdoor Stations of the Cross and the doors, and painted hand-rails, benches, the entrance gate, four large rooms, a hallway, two bathrooms and two doors!
I felt connected with the PV’s the entire time I was in St. Lucia. We started off as four people going to volunteer but during our stay I felt that we spread the PV charisma, realizing that we will always have the mission of the PVs in our hearts, and came back with a better understanding of what being a PV Volunteer truly means.