Social Justice. Simplicity. Community. Spirituality.
Good Shepherd Volunteers is dedicated to honoring the Sisters of the Good Shepherd core values of individual dignity, mercy, reconciliation, and zeal for those suffering injustice, oppression and alienation by practicing the 4 Tenets of GSV: social justice, simplicity, spirituality, and community, during their service year.
Social Justice: Through their Good Shepherd Volunteers placements, volunteers are encouraged to become agents of engaged compassion through their own deeper understanding of systemic challenges in our world. Most young adults who join Good Shepherd Volunteers want to be a part of solving injustices in our world. By listening to and working with people at traumatic points in their lives, volunteers gain experience and start to see the connection between their work and systematic injustices. While you shouldn’t expect to fix the problems you’ll encounter in only one year, don’t underestimate the impact that your compassion and attention has on those you’ll be working for.
Spirituality: Good Shepherd Volunteers inspires volunteers to explore their personal faith journey and to respond to the call to “just love”. GSV was started by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd who live their life committed to the mission and vision of their foundress, St. Mary Euphrasia. Her simple calling to just love and embrace the word is just as critical in today’s world as it was nearly 200 years ago.
Our program commits to the tenet of spirituality from a belief that all people are spiritual, and that we live our best lives when we choose to love ourselves and others. We welcome volunteers from all religious backgrounds (or no religious background). Our hope is that you use this year to explore your spirituality and share that experience with your community. While the majority identify as Catholic or Christian, the individual beliefs and practices vary from person to person.
Community: Volunteers live in an intentional community where they provide support to one another, share their experiences of service, and commit to building open and honest relationships. Volunteers build these connections within their house community as well as with the larger global Good Shepherd Volunteers community. The work you'll be doing can be incredibly rewarding and offers you exceptional life experience, but it is not easy. Volunteers are set up to live together to support each other, and to experience engaging purposefully within your immediate community. The group is invited to share meals, pool their money for food, share chores, have regular community and spiritual nights and laugh a lot!
Simplicity: Good Shepherd Volunteers empowers volunteers to live in solidarity with those they serve by living on a limited budget, taking time to unplug and being intentional about their time, resources and relationships. After a year with Good Shepherd Volunteers, you’ll hear "I need a coffee" in a whole new way. Living on a stipend forces you to set your priorities and get creative with what you have. That coffee may be exactly what you need, but you'll appreciate it in a whole new way! Taking time to unplug – actually putting the phone down during a meal or social event – is also really difficult, but surprisingly freeing.
"I have learned that social justice cannot be administered by outsiders, that it is about empowerment and agency as much as equality, and so that justice will include all stakeholders in the process. I’ll use this in the future by being as inclusive as possible in my efforts."
— Shamus Hogan, '18-'19 GSV