Maine Service Trip Provides Unique Opportunity to Connect with Walsh’s Founders


School News

This May, a group of 17 Walsh students, faculty and alumni members traveled to visit the Brothers of Christian Instruction at the Notre Dame Spiritual Center in Alfred, Maine. This annual one-week Service Experience provides a unique opportunty to personally connect Walsh students with the history and legacy of Walsh’s founders.

During their visit, the students took part in special sessions that provided insight into the history of the Notre Dame property on Shaker Hill, a discussion of vocations and religious life, as well as sightseeing tours of the New England coast. Students spent the remainder of each day providing service on the grounds of Notre Dame and helping to maintain the property and facilities.

But most importantly, the trip was a time for the students to connect with the Brothers.

"My first service trip to help the Brothers of Christian Instruction in Maine could be best summarized as a wonderful learning experience," said Rachel Petrella. "We are so blessed to be able to give back to the men who founded our Catholic University of Distinction and see the Brothers of Christian Instruction's mission being exemplified throughout Walsh. Seeing Walsh filled with students, professors, and administrators who long to serve and demonstrate these values, it is beautiful to realize the Brothers' influence extending through our campus 728 miles away."

This year’s trip was led by Director of Student Activities and Orientation Bernadette Strausbaugh, Facilities Custodian John Buckner and Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education Constance Smith.

Created in 2012 by Walsh alum Derek Anders ’13 in collaboration with Assistant Dean of Students Bryan Badar and Provincial-American Province of the Brothers Br. Jerome Lessard, the annual service trip to Maine provides students with the opportunity to learn first-hand about La Mennais College and the origins of Walsh University. Intentional time was scheduled during the visit for the students and the Brothers to meet, share stories, and discuss their experiences at Walsh.

"It seems fitting that this service experience and philosophical revelation occurred at the end of my collegiate career," said recent Walsh graduate Andrew Chwalik ’16. "This week of service and prayer has shown me that helping others is the meaning of life; leaving this earth in better shape than we found it. Servant leadership is a common theme at Walsh University and I am proud to say that characteristic will direct my life trajectory. This week of service facilitated a realization of the service aspirations for my life, and I encourage everyone to take a service trip of your own to disconnect, reflect, give and find the meaning of life for yourself."