SBA 2017 South Dakota is back on the Hilltop

SOUTH DAKOTA: Luckily the group did not have to worry about or encounter the infamous frozen fog! After a long flight(s) (sorry guys!), they arrived back into Boston around 10 p.m. We couldn't be happier to have them home! Welcome back SoDak!

SBA South Dakota

SBA 2017 Mid-Week Updates: Kentucky, Newark, NYC and South Dakota

As the night went on, more and more stories and experiences were shared by the groups. Reporting towards the end of the night were Kentucky, Newark, New York City and South Dakota. Although the days are long, the groups are making the most out of their sites and surroundings. Please keep an eye out on our social media scroll as we use that to report for the rest of the week before the trips arrive back at the Hilltop!

Kentucky: The David School is known for giving its students a fresh start and the Saint A's group is helping even the building show that by giving the school a fresh new coat of paint. Those students with an education background have also been assisting in the classrooms with the daily lessons.

As the week continues, the group will contribute to more improvement projects along the the grounds. The group is also looking forward to cheering on the students at a varsity basketball game at the rival high school and "Front Porch Pickin" a celebration of music and community! IMG_7585newarkNewark: The group has been fully immersed at St. Benedict's prep. The group has started their mornings off by attending Convocation which is a student-led assembly that focuses on announcements, prayers and songs to motivate the students throughout the day.

The Newark group is using that motivation to fully be present to the young men as they assist with various classes, such as Math and Theology and tutor for 2 hours each evening.

The group has seen the positive impact St. Benedict's has had on the young men, especially the 62 that are in residence at the Leahy House.

Participants are already expressing how they are determined to bring their experiences back to the Hilltop.

The group will be visited by Abbot Matthew on Thursday, as well serve in the local area.

nyc cityNew York City: The New York City group has been taking advantage of all the city has to offer! The group is spending the majority of their week with God's Love We Deliver, an organization that serves meals to the home bound who are suffering from various illnesses.

The group prepared over 4,000 meals in the kitchen on Monday and Tuesday. They will be doing walking deliveries this morning and are looking forward to meeting those the organization serves.

They will also volunteer with the organization, Midnight Run, a hunger and homelessness outreach program by passing out bagged meals to those who are part of the homeless population of NYC. They will volunteer with the Coalition for the Homeless providing meals around the Grand Central Terminal area.

Abbot Matthew will be visiting the group today and will be able to aid the group in processing their varied experiences, including their visit to the World Trade Center Memorial.

IMG_4372South Dakota: The SoDak group has wasted no time in becoming fully immersed in the culture of the Oglala Lakota people. The group has been able to become informed and aware of the significance the culture has on the land and people.

During the work day, the group is assisting with various projects that are vital to the reservation. These projects have included chopping and delivering wood to the homes on the reservation to provide heat, framing and building the bunk beds, and assist with trailer skirting to protect the mobile homes from various weather elements.

The group has also taken advantage of the vastness of beauty of the sights and sounds around them.


SBA 2017 Arrival Updates and Day Off Events

After a day of departures and arrivals, 6 out of the 7 trips arrived at their final site destinations last night. Kentucky finally arrived at their final destination, the David School in David, KY just before dinner!

Some trips took advantage of the day before their work week and saw the local sites! Whereas the Mississippi crew already jumped into their duties at Camp Friendship!

SBA MississippiThe Newark and NYC groups took their time in Times Square!

SBA 2017 Site Arrivals

SBA 2017 is off to a wonderful start! Although brisk, the sunny skies made it a great travel day! As we enter into the evening hours, many of the trips are at their sites awaiting for the work to start and some are still journey to their final destinations! As of 4:45 p.m. here are the updates:

Kentucky: Will be stopping shortly in Morgantown, WV for the evening and resume their travels tomorrow.

Maine: 19 students have arrived in Orland, ME! They are not letting the frigid temperatures get in the way of their excitement!

Maryland: After stopping in Madison, CT they continue their journey to Ridgely, MD. They are expecting to arrive at the Benedictine school before 8:00 p.m.

Mississippi: Has arrived safely to Aberdeen, Miss. where temperatures in the high sixties are warming their spirits for the week!

Newark: After a breezy drive down 95, the group of 12 has arrived at Saint Bennedict's Prep and is brushing up on their basketball skills for later this week. Go Hawks!

New York City: Has safety arrived Port Authority and is ready to brave the subway and enjoy what the concrete jungle has to offer!

South Dakota: The group has arrived in Rapid City and continues to journey to Re-Member in Pine Ridge. They have met up with Saint Anselm's own Cory True and are supporting the Men's Basketball team all the way from SoDak!

Look for our mid-week check updates on Wednesday! Please continue to view our social media scroll through out the week!

SBA 2017 Departures

It seems as though it was yesterday we were sending off the WBA trips during a snow storm. The skies are cold but clear and we are sending off our SBA 2017 trips with excitement! South Dakota and Mississippi have the earliest departures to begin their trips. We will be keeping the blog updated between Saturday and Sunday morning to inform that all trips have arrived safely to their destinations.

South Dakota: Departed campus at 3:30 a.m. bright and bushy-tailed! Their 7:00 a.m. flight will take them to Denver. Will be posting their arrival times this evening.

Mississippi: Boarded their flight from Manchester at 6:00 a.m. and are currently are enjoying the Chicago airport! They will arrive in Memphis then travel to Aberdeen later this evening.

Kentucky: Is en-route for Part 1 of their journey to David, Kentucky! They will be spending the night in West Virginia. They will arrive to their swanky hotel later tonight.

Newark: Left with a van full of luggage and excited participants. They will arrive Saint Benedict's Prep with a full schedule ahead of them in the early evening hours.

Maryland: Is traveling looking forward a home-made lunch provided in Madison, CT prepared by our leader, Nicole's mom. After their bellies are full, they will continue onto Ridgely, MD expected to arrive mid-evening.

New York City: Completed their first leg of their journey to Boston and are preparing to travel to NYC on the Greyhound bus arriving to St. John's Church in the evening.

Maine: With the shortest journey of the group, they also have a home cook meal ahead of them courtesy of Aly Smith's family. They will arrive at HOME in the mid-afternoon.

When trips have arrived at their sites, another post will be added!

Sending Forth Spring Break Alternative 2017

Each break at Saint Anselm College, the Office of Campus Ministry sends students (and a handful of faculty/staff) to do service in several locations both domestically and internationally. The Service & Solidarity Missions program, now in its 27th year, provides its participants not only with the opportunity to serve others but also with an experience that further develops lessons learned in the classroom.

SBA Send Off Mass 2015Throughout their week of service, prayer, and reflection students step beyond their comfort zone and ask themselves meaningful questions about who they want to be in the world.

This year’s 95 Spring Break participant’s will journey throughout the United States to places such as David, KY; Orland, Me; Ridgely, MD; Aberdeen, MS; Newark, NJ; New York, NY; and Pine Ridge, SD.

We ask for your prayers for these participants, for the work they will be doing, the communities for which they will be serving, and the personal challenges each participant will face.

Participants will gather for the SBA send off Mass on Thursday, March 2 at 7:00 p.m. in the Lady Chapel, Lower Church.

On behalf of the Service & Solidarity: SBA leaders and participants 2017, and the entire Campus Ministry staff; I thank you in advance for your prayers and support.

Susan Gabert '91
Director, Campus Ministry

Spring Break Alternative 2017: Service Site Descriptions

This spring will mark the 27th year that Office of Campus Ministry has offered Service and Solidarity Missions. These week-long service trips provide an alternative way for Saint Anselm students to spend their spring break. By living and working at sites across America, volunteers learn about Catholic social teaching while enjoying the unique opportunity to have a lasting, positive impact on individuals and communities in need.

2017 Spring Break Alternative leaders

Aberdeen, Mississippi:  Camp Friendship

Camp Friendship is a summer camp in rural Mississippi for underprivileged youth. Saint Anselm student-volunteers will assist in various tasks such as yard work, painting, and light construction to prepare for summer. They will also engage in the local community and experience southern hospitality.

Vanceburg, Kentucky: The David School

The mission of The David School is to provide a comprehensive educational program for Appalachian high school dropouts and at-risk youths who have limited financial resources and the potential to succeed in a non-traditional setting.

Our Saint Anselm students will serve youth in grades 9-12 at The David School, working with the youth of rural Kentucky in an educational setting as teacher assistants, tutors, and even teaching a class.

New York City, New York: God’s Love We Deliver 

Students will travel to New York City to work at this site helping to fulfill their mission to improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition. The group will prepare and deliver nutritious, high-quality meals to people who, because of their illness, are unable to provide or prepare meals for themselves. All of this organization’s services are provided free of charge without regard to income.

Orland, Maine: H.O.M.E.  Homeowners Organized for More Employment

An Emmaus Community, this site in rural Maine serves first those most in need. Our 27th year at this site (the oldest of our Service and Solidarity sites), student volunteers will engage in building projects, serving in soup kitchens, farming, and childcare, while working alongside those who live in the community.  This experience helps to expose our students to the realities of rural poverty and the many challenges people in these communities’ face.

Ridgely, Maryland: Benedictine School

The Benedictine School in Maryland involves working in classrooms and residential life settings at a school for exceptional children and young adults (with disabilities). They serve nearly 200 children and adults ages 5-21.

Each student-volunteer works as a teacher’s assistant during school hours and works with students doing extracurricular activities. Students spend evenings socializing in the residence halls.

Pine Ridge, South Dakota: Re-Member

Saint Anselm College is returning to assist the Re-member organization at the Lakota reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Our student volunteers will be assisting in various projects designed to assist the Oglala Lakota people, which include building bunk beds and repairing roofs. They will also have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of the Lakota people through nightly reflections, craft nights, and a tour of the badlands.

Newark, New Jersey: Saint Benedict Preparatory School

Saint Benedict Preparatory School was founded by St. Mary’s Abbey, the Abbey which sent the monks up to New Hampshire who founded Saint Anselm College. This all boys inner-city school in Newark, New Jersey is dedicated to guiding their students to achieve their full potential as mature, responsible, and well-educated young men.

Saint Anselm students volunteering at Saint Benedict’s will assist the teachers in their mission, providing a valuable in-class resource for the students. While the volunteers’ primary focus will be servicing the school and the students, they will also support the surrounding community by lending a helping hand at a local soup kitchen.

SBA Travel Updates – Groups Return To Campus

All groups are en-route back to campus. Please keep our students in your prayers for their journey home. We also ask you to keep the agencies and those they serve in your prayers. These dedicated staffs will continue to do important work to meet the needs of the most vulnerable of our society.

SBA Mississippi returns home

SBA Mississippi returns home

Mississippi:  Had a wonderful week with Fr. Tim and Br. Terry.  They returned to Boston at 2 p.m. and arrived back on campus by 4 p.m. full of energy and joy!  A group who at first were anxious about how awkward it would be to spend the week together, are now a family.  They worked hard preparing Camp Glenmary for its summer campers and talk about going back to volunteer this summer.  Fr. Tim was sure to recruit and share stories of several Saint Anselm alumni who continue to spend a week at the camp each summer.

Maryland:  Took off early this morning for the long drive back to campus, but had a beautiful day for travel.  An amazing week at the Benedictine School, opening their hearts and arms to the children who live and study their.  An eye opening experience for sure.  Excited to be back on the hilltop to share their experiences with others.  The group arrived back on the hilltop at 5:00 p.m.

Education:  Arrived on campus after a full day of driving, the second day of their long journey from David, KY.  Amazingly they are full of energy and bursting with enthusiasm.  They had an amazing week assisting in the classroom and servicing at the David School!

Haiti:  We picked SBA Haiti up at the airport at 6:30 p.m.  They had a long day having left Be Like Brit at 5 a.m.  They are all nicely tanned and hearts full of the amazing week they had in Haiti.  The program provided them with the distinct opportunities:  spending time with the children, building a home for a young mother and her son, and taking excursions to learn about Haitian culture.  A wonderful week – thank you Melissa and the Be Like Brit family!

Philly:  This group served this morning at St. Francis Inn and hit the road after 1:30.  Cheering as they came into the North Lounge, the group arrived after 8 hours of driving by 9:50 p.m.  A tremendous week of lessons learned.  Welcome Home!

Gulf Coast: Landing in Logan around 8:45 p.m. the group was greeted by a group of staff and leaders at the airport.  This group rallied as they entered Upper Cushing to the cheers of the other group.  A week of cleaning up – 10 years after Hurricane Katrina!  Welcome back Anselmians!

Phoenix: Arrived at Logan airport at 11 p.m. and patiently waited for us to arrive.  Upon our arrival and welcome, and after a long day of travel, they choose to stay and welcome back the South Dakota trip!

South Dakota:  Arrived at 11:40 p.m. it took them a little while to get their bags and for us to sort out which terminal they were at.  When all was said and don it was just after midnight when we picked them up.  Both groups arrived back on the hilltop at 1:45 a.m. which soon, due to daylight saving, turned to 3 a.m.

SBA 2015 will is a wrap, a successful 25 years!  We look forward to hearing all the wonderful stories, after everyone gets some rest.  Goodnight all!

SBA Groups Begin Journey Back To Campus

It's hard to believe that the SBA week is coming to a close! Time certainly has flown by but the impact of this short week on our students will leave its imprint for years to come. We extend our gratitude and appreciation to the many agencies and their staffs that have opened their doors to us this past week.

SBA South Dakota group photoThank you for your tremendous hospitality. And thank you for the work you do each day in loving service of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are so often forgotten. Your example and continued efforts to recognize the dignity of each person you encounter is awe-inspiring.

So our groups begin their departures a little more tired than when they left the Hilltop, but with an awareness and a new perspective that we trust will inform, form, and transform them as they unpack from this short week's worth of encounters.

Travel Plans

Our SBA Education trip left David, KY this afternoon and will arrive at the hotel late this evening, completing the first leg of their two day journey back to the hilltop.

SBA Mississippi is spending the day in Memphis, TN touring the area; going to the MLK Jr. museum and will stay over in preparation for their departure tomorrow morning.

SBA South Dakota is having a tour today with Executive Director Ted and President of the Board Cory True, they will travel to the badlands, Mount Rushmore, and end the evening in Rapid City in preparation for their departure tomorrow morning.

The weather looks perfect for travel and by 1:30 tomorrow afternoon all trips but SBA Phoenix will be en route back to campus. Campus Minister Andy Fellows and I head down to Logan airport to pick-up SBA Mississippi, our first group to return to the Hilltop. Their flight is due in at 2 p.m. We anticipate being back on campus before 4 p.m. SBA Phoenix will finally join the rest of the trips heading back to the hilltop.

We expect SBA Maryland to be back on campus in the early evening and SBA Education in the later evening. We then pick-up SBA Haiti at 6:30 and SBA Gulf Coast at 8:30 p.m both at Logan.

SBA Philly will have departed the Inn in the early afternoon and should arrive back on campus around 9:30 p.m. Last but not least, we make one more trip to Logan to pick-up both SBA Phoenix and SBA South Dakota for 11:30/Midnight.

All groups will gather in the North Lounge for a Welcome Back Party – as trips arrive on campus between 8-11 p.m., giving SBA participants the opportunity to share stories, food, and laughter as they transition back to Saint Anselm. All groups should be settled and resting by the VERY early morning, then some rest before the rest of the Anselmian community returns to campus.

Big day ahead. Please pray for a safe journey home.

Mid-Week Check In

Wednesday was an exciting day; I was able to speak with the leaders from each group. It is so edifying to hear all the wonderful work and experiences our Spring Break Alternative groups are having. The leaders were so enthusiastic about all they were encountering.SBA Philly

South Dakota

I first heard from South Dakota on Tuesday night, it was great to hear the voices of leaders Haley Mount '15 and Riley Duggan '15.  For update on this trip see the previous blog!


First thing this morning before the school day began at the Benedictine School I received my first phone call of the day from leaders Molli Marshall '16 and Molly White '15.  Regardless of the early hour, they both were full of enthusiasm and energy.  The days are exhausting but really wonderful.  Each morning the group are assigned a classroom to assist in for the day.  These classes range from students who are very high functioning to those whose functioning is quite low.  So each of the Saint Anselm students have been able to engage with a wide spectrum of Benedictine students.

At 3 p.m. they head to the residence halls where they are able to interact with students doing fun activities, in the gym, or going to the pool.  One evening they were treated to dinner at The Manor, a home for men who have graduated from the Benedictine School and live in this group home.  After dinner Chas gave the group a tour of the Manor and then a concert.  It was a special treat.  Tonight they are joining the Benedictine sisters for Mass and dinner.  Tomorrow night the Saint Anselm students will perform, lip syncing Taylor Swift and You've Got a Friend in Me – this should be a real treat for the students of the Benedictine School.

Gulf Coast

SBA Gulf CoastNext I heard from leaders Maeve Harrington '15 and Jimmy Leonard '15.  When asked how they were, they both exclaimed "Livin' the Dream." While the weather has been unpredictable, they have enjoyed every day.  This trip's focus is on the continued clean-up 10 years following Hurricane Katrina.

Today they traveled to an island off the coast and were cleaning up trash.  Each day their site supervisor Steve – who is quite a character, gives the group a word for the day to focus them on the days work.  For some afternoons they have helped at the Boys & Girls Club after-school program.  In addition, they have painted and prepped the camp where they are staying, and are responsible for preparing meals. This afternoon Maeve sent me a Snapchat of the group on a peer having a chat with a pelican.  Looks like the south is treating them well!


Before long I received another phone call from Brenda Keys '17 and James Murphy '15.  They are enjoying the warmth and hospitality of Haiti and the Be Like Brit family.  Each day they head to their building project from eight to Noon.  The group is working on a home for a mother and her son.  For a variety of extenuating circumstances this mother and son have not been able to share a home for some time.

In the afternoon, following lunch, they are able to spend some time with 66 children, then the children head back to school and afternoon activities and our group heads out on excursions.  Then after dinner they spend more time with the children before reflection and bed.

Fr. Peter stopped into the office today and shared with us that this is the anniversary of Abbot Matthew's election as the 4th Abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey.  It is was fitting that he shared this, because one of the stories the leaders shared with me was the beauty of watching Abbot Matthew hold hands with a young Haitian boy was they crossed a river on a hike the other day.  I was not surprised to hear that Abbot Matthew is a favorite of the children.

This group's hearts are bursting with joy and love, and are truly grateful to the Be Like Brit organization for the amazing work they do.


I played a little bit of phone tag with leaders Molly Frost '15 and Shannon Hess '16.  They, like other leaders, were bubbling over with excitement to share their experiences at the David School in David, KY.

This school is an alternative school for approximately 25 students ages 13-19 in this area of Appalachia.  Our education majors/minors have really enjoyed the interactions they have had this week.  Each day they are assigned a classroom to spend the day in, during 7th period the group has been able to plan some activities for the students.

The school curriculum does not include art or languages, so during the 7th period students studying to be teachers planned activities doing an art exercise and some lessons in Spanish.  One of our students has been working all week with one of the teachers to put together a formal lesson plan on poetry.

Each Saint Anselm student has had the opportunity to lead a lesson.  Each evening they prepare and eat meals with the staff.  The other evening they visited a local Benedictine monastery, which was a real treat.

They look forward to the many adventures the rest of their week has in store for them.


This evening while walking my dog I received a call from Sean Casey '15 and Mercedes Thayer '16.  They too spoke of long but productive days.  Apparently the weather in Phoenix has been a little cooler and a bit more rainy than usual.  The group didn't seem to mind given the weather back here at home.

A special treat for this group is the opportunity to connect with alumnus Sam MacDonald '14 who is a post-grad volunteer at the Andre House. It's edifying to see our alumni engaged in service and sharing this witness with our current students.

Each morning the group arrives at the Andre House around 9 a.m. for a morning meeting to discuss the work of the day before and to prepare for the days work.  Each participant is assigned a task for the day:  food prep, laundry, thrift store, greeting guests as the porter, handing out tickets and so forth.

Then the group gets to work and is able to get to know the many guests of Andre House.  Last evening the group served 650 people.  In the evening they go to the Men's home and share dinner with them.

The group lives in solidarity with the guests of Andre House, sharing in the same meals each day and having the opportunity to get to know a number of the guests.  After 7 p.m. the group heads back to Our Lady of Guadelupe Benedictine Monastery where they are enjoying tremendous hospitality from their hosts the Benedictine sisters.


As the evening moved along I received a call from Elaina de Mello '16 and Stephen Sullivan '15.  While I have received several Snapchat videos and pictures from the group all week, I had yet to speak with them.

It was great to hear the energy and enthusiasm in their voices for the amazing week they are experiencing at St. Francis Inn.  Each day the group is assign various tasks – food prep, cleaning, food pick-ups and deliveries, thrift shop, and cleaning.  Then they serve the meal and greet the guests.

Last evening the group was able to spend time with Dan McVay '96 as he made a special trip over to the Inn to meet with our group and talk about his work in social services in the Philly area.  This was a special treat.
The group has really done a nice job of jumping in and taking the time to share with and get to know the many guests of the Inn.  They anticipate heading to the clinic and women's shelter in the next two days and are excited about what lay ahead of them this week.


Late this evening I heard from our final group, leaders Amy Sennott '15 and Holly Foster '15 called.  The group is having a wonderful week, enjoying real southern hospitality.  They both joked that they have been treated so well with local church and community members feeding them at every turn that they may have to go on a diet when they come back to campus.

The weather has proven to be a real challenge for our group this week. A few days before they had arrived there was a major ice storm causing 8,000 residences in the area to be without power.  Their housing had to be rearranged and the group has to travel about 45 minutes to and from the camp each day.

Once at the camp, there is no electricity – so on the rainy days the have propane heaters and work mostly indoors preparing the cabins, meeting areas, and kitchen of the camp for the upcoming season.  On nicer days they are outside raking leaves and working on the property.

They have truly felt blessed to have Br. Terry and Fr. Tim as their hosts for the week, and while the unexpected travel has had its challenges they have been able to really get a sense of the culture, community, and the housing disparity in this region of Northeast Mississippi.