Teen finds happiness in volunteering with the Sisters of Providence
My name is Madeleine Barroso-Gutierrez and I am a seventh-grader at Saint Patrick School in Terre Haute, Indiana. This past year that I have been volunteering with the Sisters of Providence has been the happiest year of my life.
In the 2023 awards ceremony for the teen volunteer ministry, I earned a plaque with a very meaningful quote by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. “You will be happy yourself in making others happy.” This is a great quote to remember when you’re volunteering or doing anything in life. It really helped me through my first few days of volunteering. During those first few days, I was definitely out of my comfort zone.
Meeting the sisters
The very first opportunity I had to make conversation with Sisters of Providence was about three years ago. Sister Joni Luna invited Sophia and me to perform at a talent show. As we danced, I could see the smiles on the sisters’ faces. After the talent show finished we got to sit with a sister and make conversation while playing board games. I knew I was out of my comfort zone but I knew that I wanted to volunteer.
When I first walked into the healthcare section, I felt nervous, but I knew that I wasn’t the only person feeling that way. The only people that I knew were a few of the other volunteers. They taught me how to get out of my comfort zone. At first, I definitely was uncomfortable while talking to people that I didn’t know. But by the end of that first day I knew that volunteering was something I wanted to do a lot more.
I know that volunteering at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods has made me and the Sisters I interact with very happy. “You will be happy yourself in making others happy.” I realize how true this quote is. As I became more comfortable while volunteering, I realized how happy it made me. I felt true happiness while helping the sisters. I started to notice that just our presence made them happy.
I am definitely not a dancer, but on the first volunteer day this June, the teens all danced to music, some of which was played by Pia and Evangeline and other volunteers. Many sisters came out of their rooms to see the dancing and hear the piano. This is one of the reasons why I volunteer. I know that during COVID the sisters were not allowed visitors, but after COVID passed we were able to volunteer again. It had been two long years since the sister could have visitors. They all had the biggest smiles on their faces when we were able to volunteer again.
Joy and peace
Not only does volunteering bring me lots of joy, it has also helped me become more peaceful. Before we begin and go to healthcare, the teens do prayer together. We pray in the lectio divina style. This style of prayer has helped me find peace with myself. It has also helped me learn that God has sent us to serve him and each other. We are taught that serving God is very important, but serving others is just as important. Volunteering with the Sisters of Providence is one of the most fun ways to serve others. That is why I volunteer.
I believe that others should volunteer with the Providence Teen volunteers because it is a very fun, safe and spiritual environment. It also feels amazing to be able to help and spend time with sisters. Volunteering makes me very happy and I’m sure it can make others happy as well.
Do you know a teen who would find meaning in volunteering?
Please share about the Providence Teen Volunteer Opportunities with somebody you think would benefit!