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aligning purpose with passion: an inter-generational dialogue

Inter-generational dialogue concerning matters of the heart is a welcomed opportunity for Portland based Jesuit Volunteers and JV EnCorps volunteers.  In early January volunteers from both programs began the year with group reflection and exploration of how they align their purpose and passion with their work and service. The following words and quotes were arranged by JV EnCorps Program Manager Karen Beal.

As the Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps program has continued to grow and evolve, it has been coordinating more opportunities for its participants to interact and dialogue with JVs. The fo2014-15_JVE_Events_AligningPurpose&Passion (8)llowing post highlights the most recent convening of these two amazing groups of people, each with their own unique, generational perspective. The issue of aligning purpose and passion is a topic of focus for JVs during their year of service and some were amazed to learn that this longing and search for soul alignment is a lifelong endeavor.

We opened our gathering with this revealing quote from Thomas Merton

“My Lord God,

I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think
I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

– Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

2014-15_JVE_Events_AligningPurpose&Passion (3)
“Around this time of year, I always begin to feel a gnawing sense of unease – a concern that I’m not doing what I should be doing, that I’m not on the right path to “success,” that I’m too full of questions and devoid of answers. A new year has begun, but have I actually grown at all since this time last year? Spending time in conversation with the JVEs on the 11th helped me to realize that being full of uncertainty is part of a lifelong process of discernment, and that as long as we are questioning, we are growing.”             ~ Cecelia Rehm (Ashland, MT ’13-14, Gresham, OR ’14-15)

“I look for opportunities to have conversation about our core values with JVs whenever possible.   While I enjoy these conversations among our EnCorps members as well, the younger folks bring such a refreshing perspective to each of these conversations!  They are an inspiration to me, and I come away from the conversations with a greater hope for our world.”            ~ Mary Davidson, JVE

2014-15_JVE_Events_AligningPurpose&Passion (6)“I found the JVs so inspiring.  I was especially moved that one of them expressed her belief in “hope” in all she does each day. She remembers that there is hope.

I was impressed with one of the JVs who recently went through the process of discernment in making a decision to take a job that she really wanted but would have to leave JV, or to stay and complete her commitment, with the advice of a friend she decided to stay and fulfill her commitment.

I was so moved by the level of compassion in these young adults.  A wonderful experience for me.  I came away with a new feeling of hope in this generation. “              ~ Anne Mildenberger, JVE

If you would like to know more about our JV EnCorps program, please reach out to Karen Beal at kbeal@jvcnorthwest.org.

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