Once you arrive on property at the Marist Brothers’ Center in Esopus, New York (MBCE), you are surrounded by trees and countryside, and immediately welcomed home. That might sound odd for a moment, but it is always our hope that people who visit us feel welcome and at home.
Our mission statement reads:
“The Marist Brothers’ Center at Esopus is a place where a Marist approach to ministry, formation, and service work together to evangelize young people and adults.”
It is truly exciting to live this out during this year with my fellow volunteers! Our volunteer community lives in The Cottage, one of a few different houses that is on the property.
|Doing the dishes–a daily task
A day in the life of a Marist volunteer can change quickly! Our volunteer community has a few hallmarks. One pretty common one is taking care of dishes and serving meals in our dining hall. This, along with being present and available to groups, is part of our work of hospitality.
|Our very organized kitchen
|A school group on retreat
School groups, parishes, and colleges come to the MBCE for programs year round. The types of programs they run vary from retreats to peer group mentoring or even workshops and seminars. Sometimes we run retreats for groups based on their needs and what they would like to do. We plan activities, presentations, and experiences for participants. Helping run and plan these retreats is part of the MBCE living out its mission to evangelize youth.
|Prayer is an important part of the daily routine
|Retreatants learning team-building skills
Another type of offering we have is an Outdoor Adventure retreat. Different elements, or stations, serve as activities to facilitate team building and community exercises. These are always a fun way to get the message across to our younger students while they are keeping active! They are definitely a favorite of mine.
|Walking into the forest while blindfolded means you must trust your companions!
Part of our volunteer life involves living in community. This is a lot different than just having housemates, because it is an intentional community! It’s not like a dorm. We share meals, prayer, time to relax, and definitely work!
|This year’s group of volunteers includes myself, Rosemarie Mulligan, and Nina Lokar. (Right to Left)
|Playing chess in our free time
Maintaining Our Home
Apart from retreats and other programming, it takes a lot to maintain the houses and property we live on. Whether it is moving furniture, cleaning different parts of the house, or mowing the lawn, we’ve got plenty of space that needs work. It can get tough, but our community is up to the challenge. I’m looking forward to learning how to drive a tractor!
|A new furniture delivery means a day of hard work!
Joining the Marist Volunteer Community was a decision I felt comfortable with. I had been visiting this property since I was a sophomore at Mount Saint Michael Academy, a Marist Brothers’ high school. Being able to contribute to the incredible work that goes on here is something I am proud of and grateful for. Right before I began this year, Br. Owen Ormsby (executive director of the MBCE) told me “I want this to be a year of growth for you”. I fully expect that! I expect a year of hard work, fun times, and growth. Come visit us anytime! I mean it!
To learn more about the Marist Volunteer Community, click here! To follow Luis and other volunteers’ journey, check out their blog here!