Hi, my name is Michele and I am a part of the inaugural group of women for the St. Joseph Worker Program on the West Coast. One of the most frequent questions asked is “How did you get here, Michele?” I am from Buckeye, Arizona, which is a small town outside of Phoenix. I graduated in May with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Religious Studies from the University of Arizona.
Nearing the end of my college career, many people asked me what I was going to do. I had ever intention in going to grad school to receive my Masters in Education. After working hard on my applications to grad school, I did not get accepted into the grad schools. At the time, I thought I that I would just stay in Tucson and work on getting my teaching credential. Even though I had a plan that I was going to sought out after graduation, but God had a different plan in store for me.
In Mid-February, I was given a brochure that changed my life. My friend, Brian, gave my roommate, Mary, The St. Joseph Worker Program brochure. She thought I would be interested in the program and that I should take a look. I read the brochure, and quickly became interested in the program. Sr. Judy was still around the Newman Center, I went to go talk to her about the program. We talked at the front desk about the program, my interests, and what I wanted to do after graduation. We exchanged contact information and she told me to look at the application for the program. That night, I went home, prayed to God about the day and asked him to show me his will for me after graduation, (which was 3 months away at that point). He had told me that I needed to do something different, something new, and that He would protect and watch over me.
Never in a million years would I have thought that I would apply and consider for a service year. I had always thought that it wasn’t for me and that it was for others. Well, I was wrong. After praying about the program, I came to a realization that I love to serve others. Which should have been easy to realize because all of my life I have had a passion to help others. To make a long story short, I applied for the St. Joseph Worker Program in Los Angeles to work as a teacher’s aid at St. Joseph School. A month after I submitted my application, I received a call from Sr. Judy extending an invitation to accept to be a part of the inaugural group of SJW’s in Los Angeles. I remember that day like the back of my hand. I was so happy and ecstatic! I finally had concrete plans after graduation. Not only did I have concrete plans, the plan was to help make the world a better place, to serve those who have little. I was doing what God had in store in me which was that something different and something new.
It was so meant for me to find the St. Joseph Worker program through my friends. Now, it has been a little over two months since I officially started as a St. Joseph Worker, and I thank God for bringing me here. The past two months have been a complete blessing for me. I often say that this program was created at the right time for the right group of women. I have two beautiful roommates who support and love me. I have a wonderful director who nourishes and loves us. Then there is the community of CSJ’s who are fully supportive of the work we do and send their love and prayers to us. We are so incredibly blessed here in Los Angeles. I can not help but to think back to the day in February that started my journey in becoming a St. Joseph Worker and smile.