Friday of the Second Week


IS 48: 17-19

MT 11: 16-19


“I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.” 

This past August, with vulnerability and trust, I followed the path I believe God made for me and led me to. A recent graduate of USD, I headed to New Orleans, Louisiana to serve as a Jesuit Volunteer for one year. For me, this meant leaving behind my family and friends and the ocean – all of my comfort and familiarity. The act of moving was not an easy one. As my move date came closer I felt anxious about feeling lonely, not making an income, not being qualified in my job position, and being set back a year in a different career field. With these anxieties, I still felt a push to immerse myself in New Orleans. I let God lead me.

 I am about to complete my fourth month as a Jesuit Volunteer in New Orleans. I live in a community with five other volunteers. Together we challenge ourselves to prioritize the values of simple living, spirituality and social justice. I work for a non-profit, workforce development organization serving 16-24 year olds called Cafe Reconcile. It offers innovative life skills, job training, support, and services to young people from severely at risk communities who desire to make positive change in their lives. Students arrive facing a vast array of challenges, from extreme poverty, high school attrition to homelessness, violence, and participation in the juvenile justice system. Reconcile aims to identify and create plans around systematic barriers that have previously kept young people from entering and sustaining employment and becoming productive, contributing members of society. 

“If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river”

These past four months have shifted my understanding of prosperity. Although I am volunteering my time, without a steady income, and unsure of what I want to do next year…I have a wealth of experiences, relationships, and passions. I trust that this meaningful experience in New Orleans will inform how I choose to use the gifts God gave me in the future. My heart will be open to where God leads me next, and especially during this Advent season, I encourage you to do the same. 

Erin Gosen, ‘18
Jesuit Volunteer Corps
New Orleans, LA