August 24, 2007

Challenges can help students grow in faith

By John Shaughnessy

When Lindsey Day went away to college, she didn’t realize that one of her best educational experiences would come from living in a cardboard box for three days—and not eating for 30 straight hours.

“It was a firsthand experience in homelessness,” says Day, a 21-year-old senior at Marian College in Indianapolis. “It’s called Shantytown. Students sleep outside in cardboard boxes in the middle of campus, and they have the option of fasting as well. We’ve done it for two years, and we’ll do it again Sept. 16-18.

“I feel very tied to the social justice aspect of homelessness. As Americans, we see it every day of our lives. It wasn’t until I came to Marian and took a social justice course that I understood homelessness more,” she says. “When I see a homeless person now, the first thing I do is to pray for that person. It helps me to look at the bigger picture and pray for the homeless as a whole while also realizing I have to pray and care for the individual who is homeless.”

Understanding the plight of others has helped Day better understand herself and her Catholic faith.

“When I became interested and involved in social justice, it challenged me to know and understand what I believe,” Day says. “It was a challenge, but it was a challenge for the good. It’s helped me grow in my faith.” †

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