By Sr. Carol De Angelo
The Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation is blessed to have Sisters, Associates, and Colleagues volunteer with them on committees and initiatives. Jennifer (Jenn) Puac is a young adult who has volunteered in many capacities over the years. As a student at Mount Saint Vincent, Jenn and a second student, Joel Valerio, traveled to D.C. to attend BREAD for the World Advocacy Days where they learned about advocacy and visited legislators to end hunger.
Returning to Mount Saint Vincent, they worked with the SCNY Global Poverty Committee and college students in the Offering of Letters Campaign. Currently a Columbia University graduate student, Jenn works part-time in the Bridge Program at the College. Yet, Jenn finds time to be a member of the SCNY Immigration Committee. She helped plan the zoom BREAD for the World Racial Justice Gap Simulation that we sponsored with BREAD this past Spring. In April, Jenn represented us at NETWORK’s Legislative Training in Washington, D.C. (Read Jenn’s notes from the training.)
Jenn is a vital part of our peace and justice ministry. She inspires me and others as we continue to accompany and live in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, especially those most vulnerable and in need. Jenn lives what we call a “spirituality of advocacy.” A spirituality of advocacy is practiced in many ways. Though many think of it in terms of legislative advocacy, we are invited to live a spirituality of advocacy through prayer, presence, accompaniment, listening, bridge building, etc. As you read, Jenn’s responses to my questions to her upon her return from NETWORK’s training, I invite those reading this blog to think about what a spirituality of advocacy means to you and how you are called to live it.
Carol: What inspired you at the NETWORK training?
Jenn: I was inspired to become a stronger and better advocate around issues of accessible and affordable resources (food, water, shelter, and healthcare), criminal justice reformation, immigration, and racial and gender justice.
Carol: What challenged you?
Jenn: I was challenged to live a life that revolves around more than my studies and work agenda. Training in becoming a better advocate and member for my community is as equally important as my studies and career path.
Carol: What did NETWORK training call you to? Or where is it leading you?
Jenn: NETWORK training gave me a safe space to use my voice and share my story. During the training, I was exposed to others’ experiences and an agenda towards justice and change, which has led me towards a path in strengthening my leadership and advocacy skills.
Carol: How do you see the training connected to the charism of Charity and the Sisters of Charity?Jenn: The Sisters of Charity are called to serve the poor, promote charity and justice, and be a sign of hope and love. NETWORK’s training extends to the charism and mission of charity of the Sisters of Charity by further encouraging the sisters to continue their social and financial responsibility in providing resources, making appropriate decisions, and being an active member for the communities they serve. It also challenges them to continue educating themselves on the signs of the times with emerging issues coming from current and future generations.