“I wasn’t sure how I would fit in, but thank goodness I had a yardstick in my car.”
Sister Mary Joseph Reinke, who assists at the Catholic Campus Ministry at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md., was talking recently about helping a student who had “had lost her rosary behind the cushions of a sofa in the ministry house. With my yardstick, I was able to fish it out. That really broke the ice.”
Sister Mary Joseph is a member of the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary. The community conducts a ministry called Joseph House that provides direct assistance to the poor and homeless. The scope of their efforts, however, goes beyond the economically distressed. Their fundamental aim is to give witness to the value and truth of the Gospel.
Working with college students is new for Sister. “It’s a ministry of presence,” she said. “Campus Ministry provides a homey place for students to study, pray, and socialize.”
Getting to know the students has been the best part for Sister Mary Joseph.
“The students are great, I’m really impressed by them,” she said. “They have a lot of enthusiasm for the faith. I’ve been helping out on Wednesday evenings. We usually pray the rosary and then watch a video on the Catholic faith. I enjoy the discussions that the students have afterwards. They share about their lives and how believing in God affects them personally. Living our faith in a secular world can be a challenge, but the students are ready to support each other. I find that very encouraging.”
Sister Mary Joseph recently accompanied some of the students on a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. They toured the Franciscan Monastery, the Catholic University of America, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
She looks forward to strengthening the ties between Catholic Campus Ministry and the Joseph House.
“The spirituality of the Joseph House and Little Sisters is basically to imitate the hidden life of Jesus, that is, the life He lived in Nazareth. To me, I see Nazareth as a workshop in the art of living, a humble life of service in joy and simplicity. It can give meaning to everyone, especially young people who are searching and questioning the world around them.”
The motto of the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary is “Cry the Gospel with your Life,” words that come from Blessed Charles de Foucauld, the French hermit of the Sahara. Inspired by him and their foundress, Sister Mary Elizabeth Gintling, the Little Sisters work to stabilize family life and promote social justice. The poor and those most in need have a special place in their hearts.
To learn more about the Little Sisters, their ministry, religious vocations for women, and resident volunteer opportunities for both men and women, visit www.thejosephhouse.org or email Sister Marilyn Bouchard at LSJM@comcast.net, call her at 410-742-9590, or write to her at P.O. Box 1755, Salisbury, MD 21802.