We were grateful to have Totino Grace spend a week with us at the Darst Center this November! During their time here they learned about issues such as homelessness, poverty, mass incarceration, food insecurity, and immigration. Each student was willing to engage with these issues, ask questions about why they exists, and heard stories from multiple people in our partner agencies. During the closing reflection they expressed their motivation to take what they learned here and bring it back home in order to share with others and open their eyes to the
In the months since the last newsletter, the Darst Center has been incredibly busy hosting urban immersion retreats and other programs. There are a number of schools and parishes which have been coming to the Center for years. We are forever grateful to those ministries and the students and staff who we have met along the way. At the same time, we have been able to foster some new relationships in the last few months. As new groups, we have welcomed:
City Academy, St. Paul, MN
St Agnes Parish,
When you hear the word advocacy what is the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe people in business suits at the capitol? Or perhaps activists protesting at a community board meeting? We often think of a very specific set of people, in a specific location, taking part in a specific action. While these are definitely examples of advocacy, they sometimes imply that only those people should be participating in advocacy work. Despite this idea, it has become increasingly clear that we are all called to be involved in advocacy efforts.
The theme for the month of November is Incarceration – Restorative Justice. The school to prison pipeline is a term many might not have heard before. The pipeline refers to inadequate resources starting from a young age for students, such as overcrowding in classrooms, lack of qualified teachers and little to no funding for extra activities. There is pressure to push schools to expel or suspend their low performing students thanks to policies such as the No Child Left Behind Act. Because of this, students are more likely to be
On October 21st the Br. David Darst Center hosted the Speaker Series event, which focused on the impact that media has on gender roles and stereotypes. The speaker, Jennifer Parks from Loyola University, presented and led the audience in discussion about how the media can influence our views on gender in ways we might not even realize. She started the evening with a film about the influence of advertisements, which displayed how the media has come to set the standards of an ideal women’s body though the manipulation and distortion of images.
At the end of October we said goodbye to our last group from a very busy month. We had the wonderful opportunity to be with students in the Gap Program at St. Norbert College. During the week and a half they were at the Darst Center, we learned about different issues of social justice that people face in Chicago and beyond. The students’ transformative experiences were evident through the words they shared with us as they looked back to reflect on the entire retreat. One student shared her experience and touched on the importance of getting mad and getting inspired
Our Facts on the Fence display for the month of October asks the question, “Who does the media tell me I should be?” The media influences and affects society’s perception of gender norms in many ways. Its impact on gender roles may not even be so obvious or apparent to us in our daily lives. However, it isn’t until we stop and ask what messages the media is sending us until we can recognize how it contributes to and perpetuates the gender stereotypes we see today.
Mark’s Gospel has been called, quite aptly, a passion narrative with a long introduction. It’s the briefest of the Gospel texts, and probably the first one written. Scripture scholars marvel at Mark’s clumsy Greek and his rather ham-fisted storytelling. The text baffles us and confounds us at various points, often through the eyes of the disciples, who never quite seem to get it. There’s no Bethlehem birth account; Mark begins with an adult Jesus in Galilee seeking baptism by John. Hardly an image for the front of the Christmas cards.
For the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to take a more active role as part of a young woman’s “village.” I saw morning hours that I prefer not to see as I woke to deliver her to school on time and then raced to finish things here at the office so that I could be there in the pick-up line. We worked on homework together and I struggled to come up with meals appropriate for a 15-year-old’s pallet. My experience of the past few weeks prompted a
I’m thankful for roads. Yes, they blight the landscape and, if only indirectly, despoil the environment. Yes, they were spawned by the ancient imperial need to move chattel — often in human form — around a kingdom. Yes, they are mostly potholes come Spring. But for better or for worse, they are the veins of a nation, and I’ve come to embrace the connectivity they bring. They permit us to visit areas of the country to which we might not otherwise have access, They are among the first things we