Dominican University

Ministry en lo Cotidiano - MLC is a new leadership development and faith formation program for undergraduate students interested in experiencing faith-based service in the Latino community in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

Mission to the Mound - Mission to the Mound is a retreat for students interested in learning more about the life of the Sinsinawa Sisters and the history of Dominican University while reflecting on their own sense of call and mission in light of the heritage of their institution.

Format

  • Audience: The Ministry target audience is sophomore, junior, and senior students who self-identify as Latino/Latina. The Mission on the Mound program targets any undergraduate student who has never visited the Sinsinawa Mound Center and is interested in a communal exploration of the history, mission, and values of our Dominican University community.
  • When: Ministry: Academic Year: August – May; Mission: a single retreat held over three full days during spring break each year with one, one-hour pre-trip session prior to the retreat.
  • Frequency: For Ministry, participants commit to 10 hours each week – 9 hours at internship site, and 1 hour discussion time.  The Mission program is a single 3-day long spring break event.
  • Approximate Number of Participants: Ministry: 8-12 participants; Mission to the Mound: 18-20 participants.
  • Focus of Programs: The Ministry program seeks to strengthen university partnerships with local community organizations serving the Latino population and to provide students with a rich opportunity for vocation exploration, leadership development, and guided, group theological reflection around themes of acompañamiento (accompaniment), pastoral care, identity, values, popular religiosity, relationships, vocation, and lo cotidiano (everyday life).  The Mission retreat is built around shared experiences of and reflection upon the Four Pillars of a Dominican way of life – community, service, prayer, and study.

Funding & Operations

  • External Support: Yes; we received funding from a foundation which wishes to remain anonymous for the Ministry program.  We receive no external funding for Mission to the Mound.
  • Operations: Operating budget for the Ministry program is $50,000 yearly because the Ministry en lo Cotidiano is a paid internship program for Latino and Latina students. The Mission program costs $2,000 annually.

Description

Ministry en lo Cotidiano is a paid internship program for Latino and Latina students providing leadership opportunities through work in Catholic churches and faith-based not-for-profit organizations serving the Latino population in Chicago. Each week, the students participate in nine hours of ministry at an internship site located at a community partner organization and one hour of guided group reflection with the program coordinator. The internship sites address the concrete realities of the communities they serve, which includes work on issues of immigration, naturalization, education, health care, youth and adult faith formation, and workers’ rights. The program seeks to strengthen university partnerships with local community organizations serving the Latino population and to provide students with a rich opportunity for vocation exploration, leadership development, and guided, group theological reflection around themes of  acompañamiento (accompaniment), pastoral care, identity, values, popular religiosity, relationships, vocation, and lo cotidiano (everyday life). 

Held at The Mound, Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Mission to the Mound is a retreat opportunity for students interested in immersing themselves into the heritage and mission of our university and who are looking for a retreat experience that explores contemplation, calling, and leadership.  The retreat is built around shared experiences of and reflection upon the Four Pillars of a Dominican way of life – community, service, prayer, and study.  By engaging in service, learning about our university founder, exploring their own strengths and gifts, time for varied experiences of prayer and reflection, and sharing in conversation with Sinsinawa Sisters on topics of calling, diversity, and leadership, students come away from the retreat with a greater sense of connection to the mission of Dominican University and a greater sense of their own life purpose and values. Students continually return transformed by their time at the Mound.

History

The initial planning for Ministry en lo Cotidiano began in July 2013, and the program officially launched with the start of the academic year in August 2014. Currently, Latino/Latina individuals make up more than 50% of the population of Catholics in the United States under the age of 25, yet this demographic is highly underrepresented in ecclesial and ministerial leadership roles. As a Catholic institution with a distinctly Dominican charisma and as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Dominican University is uniquely positioned to undertake vocational and ministerial formation for our students who identify as Latino/Latina.

 The Mission to the Mound retreat has been offered for 6 years. It was originally offered as a small retreat for a few students interested in learning more about the life of the Sinsinawa Sisters and the history of Dominican University. The retreat has since expanded, and collaboration has been built with the Office of Student Involvement and the Leadership Certificate Program as a way to encourage the infusion of mission into the leadership development and co-curricular experience of students across campus. 

Recommended Resources

Ministry in Lo Cotidiano:

  • http://www.dom.edu/studentlife/ministry
  •  Espin, Orlando O., and Miguel H. Diaz, ed. From the Heart of Our People: Latino/a Explorations in Catholic Systemic Theology. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1999.
  • Goizueta, Roberto S. Caminemos con Jesus: Toward a Hispanic/Latino Theology of Accompaniment. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1995.
  • Nanko-Fernandez, Carmen. Theologizing en Espanglish: Context, Community, and Ministry. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2010.
  • Tracing a Journey. Directed by Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa. 2004.
  • Weber, Nadia Bolz. "The Spiritual Practice of Saying 'Yes!'." Patheos. March 22, 2012. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2012/03/the-spiritual-practice-of-saying-yes/.

Mission to the Mound:

Administration/Operations

The operating budget for the Ministry program is $50,000 yearly because the Ministry en lo Cotidiano is a paid internship program for Latino and Latina students. The Mission program costs $2,000 annually.

Assessment

Because we are in the first year of the Ministry program, we have not yet had the opportunity to track program outcomes or complete extensive program evaluation.  We have begun collecting student reflections regarding program impact, some of which are detailed below.  Student evaluations will be conducted during the spring semester via a required capstone project, presented in a public setting for the campus community.

For the Mission program, students complete a program evaluation following the retreat, and are asked to participate in a written reflective exercise used to gauge student learning about and personal connection to the mission, values, history, and founder of Dominican University, as well as about their own sense of calling and leadership.