The Catholic University of America

March 16, 2011

Jeanne Garvey, Students, Reflect on Mission Trip


The group of CUA students in Jamaica.

Back from her spring break mission trip to Jamaica, Jeanne Garvey reflected on how well she got to know the 18 students who traveled with her on the mission trip.

Garvey, wife of CUA’s president, and her daughter Clare, a senior at Boston College, joined the CUA students as they traveled to the capital city of Kingston, where they taught in schools, visited with the elderly, and painted local buildings.

Garvey said the experience was not only a wonderful way to do service work, it was also a meaningful way to interact with students. She was impressed not only with the students’ desire to serve, and also with how openly they shared their experiences.

“We had a time for ‘reflections’ each night, and although each person’s experience during the day may have been quite different, they were all profoundly moved by it, and able to share those feelings with the rest of the group in a very thoughtful and articulate way,” she says.

  Christian Pavik spends time with local children.

  Carmelina Gilberto spends time with a resident of a home for abandoned elderly people.

What moved senior Christian Pavik, an international business major from Parkton, Md., were the people he encountered who recognized him from his work there last year. In particular, Pavik had previously met a man named Cunningham at St. Monica’s, a home for abandoned elderly people.

“He remembered me,” Pavik says. “We talked about how things have been going, and I wrote a poem, which he copied in his notebook to keep forever. I was deeply touched on how a simple thing like a poem can connect us in a bond that will last much longer than a week long mission trip.”

Traveling to Jamaica on these mission trips has inspired Pavik to consider joining the Peace Corps after he graduates. He is majoring in international business so that eventually he can “improve the way the U.S. uses its funds to improve our outreach — within our country and abroad — through government programs.”

Junior social work major Carmelina Gilberto, who returned to Jamaica for her second year, also enjoyed visiting the elderly.

“When I first arrived to St. Monica’s, I was very hesitant because I didn’t know what to expect because I’ve only worked with young children,” she says. “As I walked by, [a man] reached out for my hand with his big smile on his face and instantly I felt more comfortable.”

Gilberto says she has known for a long time that she wanted to pursue a career, such as social work, that would enable her to help others. Her mission trips have convinced her to consider offering a year of international service when she graduates.

Gilberto says that the mission trips have “made me more conscientious of others and reminded me that our life is special — don’t take anything for granted.”


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