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Teen volunteer excited to share experience with others

Hello! I’m Katie Henthorn. I’m 14 years old and a freshman at Terre Haute North High School. I’d like to share how the volunteer teen ministry at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods has helped me to see my faith in a whole new light.

Teen volunteer and blog post author Katie Henthorn, second from left standing, in June with some Sisters of Providence and other teen volunteers.

Though I am Catholic, I was worried for the nonreligious volunteers in my group. After all, they had never seen a real nun or even heard of the Rosary. I was so pleasantly surprised by how welcoming the sisters and residents at the Woods were and how eager they were to teach them about our customs.

Kind and respectful

I remember watching with a smile as a resident took the arm of one of our nonreligious volunteers and brought her into the Rosary chapel. Later, the volunteer mentioned how delighted she was that those in the chapel guided her and explained the meaning behind each prayer.

It was inspiring to watch the sisters connect with all of the volunteers. They were kind and respectful, and many were eager to share new skills like card games and making chocolate-covered strawberries.

Inclusive

Teen volunteer Katie, left, helps Sister Ann Margaret O’Hara and other health care residents play an outdoor game.

Sister Joni Luna, our teen volunteer leader, included many activities and open discussions to help us connect with each other. She invited us to think about them spiritually and welcomed everyone to share their thoughts, whether religious or not.

She also led prayer in a way that everyone could easily follow or simply reflect. At mealtime, we said prayers of appreciation for the farmers and chefs that brought food to the table. Even those who were not Catholic could share their gratitude.

Sister Joni led us through the church where she explained the proper gestures and how to show respect so that everyone would feel comfortable. She even described the practices during mass so we could accompany the sisters during future services.

Feeling welcome

Seeing how accommodating and welcoming the Sisters of Providence were made me proud to be Catholic. Being a part of the community, even for a few days, left a lasting impression on me. Now, I’m excited to share this part of my life with others.

My time at the Woods was short but meaningful, and I’m eager to return soon. I have already shared my experiences with my friends, and I hope they will join me and value Providence Teen Volunteer Ministry as much as I have.

Do you know a young person ages 12-18 who would like to spend time volunteering with our elder Sisters of Providence? Learn more and sign up at TeenVolunteer.SistersofProvidence.org

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Katie Henthorn

Katie Henthorn served as a Providence Teen Volunteer at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods this summer. She spent her elementary school and middle school years at Saint Patrick School and will be attending Terre Haute North Vigo High School as a freshman this fall.

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3 Comments

  1. Mary Montgomery on August 12, 2022 at 7:44 am

    Katie, thank you for participating in Providence Volunteer Teen Ministry! Thanks for sharing your time and talent with the sisters and other residents. Your blog is inspiring!

  2. Donna Butler on August 12, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    Katie, I’m glad you enjoyed your experience here and are planning to come again.
    Thank you for your sensitivity to the volunteers for whom the Catholic experience was new
    and sharing with us how they were made to feel welcome and comfortable.

  3. Connie Kramer SP on August 12, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    Katie, thank you for your willingness to be part of the Providence Volunteer Teen Ministry for the Sisters of Providence, and for your willingness to share your experience in this blog. I hope that you continue to find serving the Sisters at The Wood life-giving and receiving their thanks affirming too.

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