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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

our community


Last year, my husband and I started an intentional community.  Why did we decide to live with other people in our first year of marriage?  Two reasons: 1) we're crazy and 2) the right opportunity came along.

Paul and I met while we were in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), a Catholic year-long service program that allows young people to work full time at agencies in the U.S. and abroad while living in community with other program participants.  The four main values of the program are simple living, social justice, spirituality, and community.  The program had a huge impact on both our lives, and we both felt called to live in community again. 

So when an apartment space opened up across the street from our church, we put in lots of work, came up with a name (Casey Sister-Brotherhood) and invited a few other folks to live in community with us.  We share meals, have community nights about once a week, attend mass together, support one another in our vocations, and generally challenge one another to be better people. 

What does it mean to live intentionally in community?  Now that's a loaded question.  People have written entire theses on this topic, but I'll summarize it in two short sentences.  It differs from a typical roommate situation in that you may be living with strangers and that you have a stronger commitment to one another to deepen relationships and to work through conflict together.  In a very isolated and individualistic society, living in community helps us to focus on what is really important and to live out the values we learned about in JVC. 

I have been more challenged in the past year than I ever imagined.  Paul and I have had to continually recommit ourselves to this communal living experiment and have gained so much in the process.  I have learned about reconciliation, conflict resolution, how to be more honest about my feelings, and how to work through personal differences to create something very special.  So thankful we decided to take this risk together.  

Thanks for reading!

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