1. The importance of the Feminine Genius.
I was put in so many different roles throughout the year. To the homeless men on my street route, I became a daughter. They were all estranged from their children or had no kids at all. But they had this paternal instinct to look out for me. They also wanted to tell me about the highlights of their life and give me advice on mine. I sat and listened to their wisdom.
I became a mother to some of the women on the streets who were remarkably broken and wounded. I can still hear some of the women calling me “mamma.” Mothers are so important! They accept and love us no matter what. These women needed someone to listen to them. They needed someone to look them in the eye and say, “You are still worth so much more. That’s done, and we will walk with you to a better life.”
I became a sister to those in my community. I learned how to give and receive fraternal correction with charity. I learned how to love my community through service, i.e., cleaning the women’s bathroom all year.
2. How to love those who seemed unlovable.
Some people were very unpleasant. Their manners and appearance were simply repulsive. I asked Jesus how he could possibly be in people like this. The reply was simply “He is my beloved son. Just as you are my beloved daughter.” Christ is in all and loves all. I learned to love people simply because God loves them, not based on any merit of theirs. At the end of the year, those individuals are the ones who stole my heart the most.
3. It’s worth it.
Leaving Christ in the City, I was heartbroken. I spent a year of my life entering into people’s deepest wounds. They let me into their life and now after a year, I leave. I asked God: why did I do this? Did I even help them? What’s the point? His response was simple: “to console my Sacred Heart.” With that, the purpose of the year became clear. Each homeless, broken, wounded person I befriended consoled our Lord’s suffering heart. Every day I had the opportunity to venerate our Lord’s wounds on the cross by embracing the wounded people on the streets. And now that it’s all said and done, I can look back and know it was worth it. What a gift it’s been to spend a year falling in love with the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the poor. I’ll forever be grateful to Christ in the City for the opportunity to learn what it means to “love until it hurts.”
Alyssa is a first-year missionary from Minnesota. She enjoys hiking, traveling, baseball, dancing, coffee, and cozy candles.