Alternative Break Inspires Ministry, Service

Chris Lytle

For many students, spring break is a vacation, a chance to step away from the stresses of daily life. But last year, Mary Carper and Kaylee Bluethmann (now sophomores) embarked on Marian University’s alternative spring break to Campton, Kentucky, and their experience wasn’t exactly a walk on the beach. Perhaps for the first time in their lives, the young women witnessed abject poverty - hungry people, living in a food desert, their lives oftentimes made even more complicated by a lack of education, drug addiction, and alcohol abuse.

Enter Sr. Susan Pleiss, OSF, pastoral associate at Good Shepherd Parish, the only Catholic Church in Campton, and all of Wolfe County. Both Mary and Kaylee were inspired by Sr. Susan’s outreach efforts...

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Students Host Cancer Awareness Week

by Katie McConnell | Feb 04, 2014

From February 4- 6, Marian University sophomores Natalie Butler and Aly Witkowski are working to remind the campus community about the transformation that can come from cancer by hosting Cancer Awareness Week on campus. The event includes talks from a nurse at St.Vincent Health, a student survivor, junior Phillip Ryan, and a local family dealing with cancer.

“All of these will be in some way very educational, whether it's the medical aspect, the faith aspect, or the relationships with other people aspect, and how they grow,” said Witkowski.

In addition to bringing the community together to talk about cancer, Butler and Witkowski are raising money for what they call a “Marian University Room” at the St.Vincent Hospital and Health Center. The Marian University Room will be themed to reflect “a person’s walk with Christ as they battle cancer”. The room will be occupied by families and children on the oncology floor of the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent.

“St.Vincent’s has invested so much of itself in Marian University and now we want to put Marian University into St. Vincent’s. It would be placing the faith side of Marian University as a source of hope for those who stay in the room and the doctors and nurses who treat in the room,” said Butler.

Cancer Awareness Week and the planned room are all a part of Butler and Witkowski’s sophomore service project for the San Damiano Scholars Program. 

The San Damiano Scholars Program is offered to incoming students who are interested in becoming leaders in parishes, schools, health care, and not-for-profits. All San Damiano Scholars are required to come up with a service project their sophomore year that will benefit an outside charity or the Marian University community. 

“The sophomore service project is an integral part of the overall San Damiano Scholars Program. The projects help students begin the transition into answering Jesus’ question, ‘Who do you say I am?’ But more importantly, the projects give students some ‘real-world’ experience with running a program before the junior- and senior-year internships,” said, Mark Erdosy, executive director of the San Damiano Scholar Program. 

Anyone interested in donating to the Marian University Room can email Natalie Butler at
nbutler682@marian.edu. For more information on the San Damiano Scholars Program, contact Mark Erdosy at merdosy@marian.edu

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