Photo credit to kirk.senate.gov
Last month, College of Saint Scholastica students Katy Goerke and Michael Bruner traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering where they learned about and advocated for social change.
This year's theme was sculpted after a Pope Francis quote stating, "I want a Church that is poor and for the poor."
Bruner, a sophomore at the college, summarized the experience as a way to "connect with others from across the country, learn about current issues threatening human dignity, and advocate for social change."
"The best part was when a Jesuit Brother spoke about how to balance faith tradition with works of service," said Goerke, a sophomore studying history, "This of course has a long precedent in the Catholic Church, but is receiving the limelight now with Pope Francis."
The two also were granted the chance to meet with staff members from the offices of Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar.
"It was a really cool experience! It was great to be able to communicate our feelings and hopes for upcoming votes on issues like peace talks in the Middle East and immigration reform. It was a little intimidating going into the meetings, but everyone we met with were super friendly. It was like having a simple conversation," Bruner said.
"We also discussed domestic issues, including support for raising the minimum wage," Goerke added.
Goerke wants to better the CSS community as whole using the skills picked up at the conference.
"I hope to bring a new energy to the service work done by CSS, an energy not based out of 'having to serve because of school tradition'... but to serve out of a true love for other people as serving others is the best way to love yourself."
The first step in this process was to hold a public discussion "about how we can serve others both on and off Campus." The conversation was held on Wednesday in Storm's and counted as a Dignitas Lab for first year students.