Mount St. Joseph University

A Mission Trip to Remember

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Sarah Campbell

The annual faculty and staff mission trip to New Orleans is underway as the summer is approaching.  The mission trip to New Orleans was first started by Sister Monica Gundler and she took a group of students, even before Hurricane Katrina caused so much horrific damage. New Orleans has always been a city in need of extra assistance—and the Mount students, staff and faculty have always been ready to help.

The first faculty and staff mission trip to New Orleans was started in 2012 by Andrea Stiles who was the Director of Mission and Ministry at the time. The Sisters of Charity built a house in New Orleans to accommodate the volunteers.  There are three Sisters of Charity that live in the house full time and they are from all over the country.
The faculty and staff can sign up to go on the trip and in total including the driver eleven people can accompany. The trip this year will be May 22-27, 2017 and they will drive the entire way—in a Mount van.

Sister Nancy Bramlage, Director of Mission and Ministry at the Mount, went on her first mission trip to New Orleans in 2012.  Bramlage had just been hired at the Mount and her response to going on the trip was “it was a great segue before even starting to work at the Mount.”

This mission trip with faculty and staff was started because “[there were] terrific needs after Katrina and it was a trip that was worthwhile,” she said.

While in New Orleans the group works with a nonprofit organization called St. Bernard Project, which started after Hurricane Katrina because there was a desperate need for housing and cleanup, especially housing for those in poverty.

Bramlage says, “We don’t know exactly what we’re doing this trip. We might help to rebuild from the tornado damage or we might still be helping from Katrina.”

By participating in this mission trip to New Orleans the faculty and staff “get a sense of who these people are, and really understand the culture,” she said. “The faculty and staff get in touch with poverty and I feel this is what I’m called to do as a Christian.”

Faculty member Cathy Steinriede, from The Learning Center, will be going on her third trip to New Orleans this year.  She first went on a Habit for Humanity mission trip with the students and she really enjoyed it so she decided to go on the faculty and staff trip to New Orleans.

Steinriede says she keeps going on the trip “to help the citizens but also it helps to center myself.”

Steinriede’s favorite aspect of the trip is “helping the citizens of New Orleans, everyone is very grateful and getting to know the faculty and staff that go on the trip.”

Steinriede enjoys that “every trip is different and for different reasons and the fact that I went to Sister Nancy’s first trip and I am going on her last is something special.”

The faculty and staff mission trip to New Orleans is a chance to connect to fellow workers at the Mount but also it is a chance to make a difference for someone’s life that was severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina.