By Jordan Loe
I don’t exactly know what I expected when I first came to Heart’s Home St. Ignatius in Spokane, Washington, but I do know what I found…family. The women that I got to live with this year opened their arms to those who were lonely and miserable on our college campus, often giving up valuable hours of their day to cook, clean, pray, or simply listen. Amy inspired me with her beautiful faith and sweet, caring nature. Mackenzie amazed me with her vibrant personality. Hannah showed me just how much a person can accomplish for others if she puts her mind to it. Kaeli warmed my heart with her openness and her love for others.
Our ministry at Heart’s Home St. Ignatius is truly just a day-to-day battle against loneliness. College students move away from their homes. They find classes, professors, friends, and other new experiences, but they do not have a family. They do not have a true home. A Heart’s Home on campus has provided Gonzaga students with a home that they can come to when they need friends, people to care about them, laugh with them, cry with them, and listen to them talk about their discouragements and achievements.
Being a part of Heart’s Home also meant accepting the love and service of others. Our friend Kristyn joined in our ministry and became an invaluable source of support for us. Our friend Joseph washed dishes for us and often attended our prayer sessions. Our friends at L’Arche (a community for disabled adults in our neighborhood) accepted us into their home and showered us with affectionate attention. Our friend Kyle brought us food, lent us a television set, and made us a lovely meal. They all taught us to receive love as well as give it. They became our family in more ways than one.
It is hard, sometimes, to survey everything and say how much it has been accomplished. “What have we actually done to help others this year?” What makes the mission of Heart’s Home difficult to grasp is also what makes it unique and beautiful. We focus on what cannot be counted or held or compared. You could probably break our year up into little bits and increments…parties, brunches, dinners, Masses, prayer sessions…but when you really stand back and look at what our Lord has done through Heart’s Home, St. Ignatius, you see that His most important accomplishment was building a family. That is what Heart’s Home is really about.