"Cor Jesu presented me with abundant [service] opportunities both big and small. For years, I felt that the only service worthwhile was the kind in which I was able to make a noticeable, observable difference. My Cor Jesu teachers equipped me with the understanding that sometimes we make the greatest impact on others’ lives and hearts when we notice it least. Cor Jesu also taught me the importance of reflecting mentally and spiritually on the service I perform, taking time to pray and grow from the experiences.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and rebuild houses for families living in trailers and tents. Recently, I was selected to travel to Guayaquil, Ecuador, to provide free physical therapy service to individuals with Hansen’s Disease, better known as leprosy. I consider these two adventures to be life-changing experiences that have sculpted my heart and mind. But like Sally Koch once said, 'Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us daily'.
I have learned the importance of serving individuals in our own communities in the small ways that we may feel are unimportant but can make a world of a difference to those in need of help...My greatest wish is for the world to recognize that any service we can give, no matter how minuscule it may seem, can help to change the world. Once we recognize Christ in EVERYBODY we meet, we realize that service is not about the work we do, but rather about our desire to help, the effect it has on others, and the glory we bring to Christ in putting others before ourselves. That being said, I make it my mission to ensure people feel that they are wanted – somebody, Christ’s beloved child whom he would have died on the cross for, even if they were the only person alive. Smile at the stranger on the street, wait the extra 10 seconds to hold the door open for somebody, take the time to listen to someone in need of a friend, even if that means sacrificing my own time or schedule, and let people know that I am a Christian by the way I act. That is how I serve others on a day to day basis. As a result of my grounding, instilled in me during my years at Cor Jesu, I have also learned to serve on a larger scale, but still within my own community. I volunteer my time as often as possible if for no other reason than to see the smile on another’s face as they recognize Christ’s love shining through. What a testimony for the Lord! As Mother Teresa said, 'Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.'
I will forever be grateful to CJ for teaching me the invaluable gift of service."
Rachael Deves Thurman ’06