Graduate student Kelly Crowley will help provide for The University’s spiritual needs in her position as Campus Ministry’s graduate assistant. Crowley, who attends The University to further her studies in Occupational Therapy, initially became acquainted with Campus Ministry through various retreats as an undergraduate. The Search retreat finally reinforced her interest in the work of Campus Ministry and inspired her become more involved.
“I think the first thing that really got me momentum in Campus ministry was going on the Search retreat because it’s very much community based and they do a lot of renewals,” Crowley said. “So I felt like that really drew me in and made me gravitate a lot towards the office.”
As a senior, Crowley led her first retreat, Manresa, which provided her with leadership experience in Campus Ministry and brought her in and out of the office to organize and plan. Her participation in Christian Life Communities, as well as music ministry, also helped her to forge personal bonds with many other Campus ministers, including Mollie Vita, Fred Mercadante, Jayne Lucas and Kelly Miguens. The office environment began to feel like a home to Crowley her senior year.
“I just loved going in there,” Crowley said. “It was awesome. I just felt so welcome. It’s such a warm, welcoming place.”
After Crowley developed a connection to Campus Ministry and the service it provides, it seemed natural to seek employment there while attending graduate school. Since filling the position, Crowley has spent time organizing the upcoming Manresa II retreat. Because the Campus Minister who organized the retreat last year, Kelly Miguens, no longer works at The University, Crowley, is helping to organize the retreat withthe Rev. Richard Malloy, S.J. and Amy Hoegen. Crowley meets with student leaders senior Sarah Dermo and junior Morgan Malishchak to plan and attend the weekly meetings and tend to the logistics of the event.
Crowley also works with Lori Moran in the Center for Service and Social Justice to help organize events like the Ignatian Family Teach-In. She also feels excited to raise awareness of the Catholic Relief Service Campus Ambassadors club.
“The CRS is something I really want to get started this year,” Crowley said.
The responsibilities of the position have only made Crowley appreciate it more. She values her time there and says it has made her realize just how quickly her 10 work hours a week pass by. She appreciates the opportunity to share her passion with The University community.
“My favorite thing about it is that I get to share with people what I love to do, or what I’m passionate about. My least favorite thing is that I wish I could be in there all the time,” Crowley said. “I love being in there. It doesn’t feel like a job; it feels like something I’m really excited about.”
The skills learned in Campus Ministry translate to Crowley’s occupational therapy field.
“It’s sort of helped me realize more of where I want to direct my calling. Even though I’m OT, I feel like I can still find something like this as an OT,” Crowley said. “I think as a leader, sort of leading projects or delegating tasks, organizing logistics—those are all important skills to have in a profession. I believe that is going to help me only for the better.”
Crowley also discussed how her experience in Campus Ministry has shaped the direction of her career.
“When it comes to content of what my role is, I think that it will sort of influence the direction of where I want to place my skills when it comes to providing OT skills, like social justice issues. It’s easy to get caught up in delivering services to anybody, rather than finding the greater needs and helping there.”
Students should look towards Campus Ministry for guidance and support, Crowley advises. Regardless of students’ relationship with faith and religion, those in the office, Crowley included, will welcome them.
“Campus ministry is one of the most accepting offices on this campus, and any one of the campus ministers is more than happy to talk to students, no matter what it’s about. Don’t hesitate to take a walk in there and say ‘hi’ to Paulette [the receptionist], and ask about what’s going on,” Crowley said.