Wisconsin Community's Service Trip: Okolona, Mississippi

Associate Colleen Fraaza works in Excel's resale shop on the
recent service trip to Mississippi.

by Kathy Saari, CSJA

Sunday, April 2, started a ten-day adventure for some of the Wisconsin Community of St. Joseph sisters and associates.  We left Wisconsin to travel to Excel Commons in Okolona. Mississippi, to deliver household goods, linens and jewelry that was collected by all of our groups.

Sister Liz Brown in the executive director of Excel, is the "hub" of Okolona - a community service center that furthers education, promotes community building, encourages community services and fosters healthy lives.

The members of the Wisconsin Community included:  Sisters Judy Miller, Shawn Madigan and Carol Jean Peterson, and Associates Chuck Pankratz, Colleen Fraaza and Kathy Saari.

What followed was a week filled with work, learning, fellowship and community.  Our group pitched in to help with a variety of jobs.  These included:  staining and sealing a deck, unpacking and pricing the donated items that were brought with us, helping with the sewing program’s projects cleaning the park, re-framing a shed and painting.

The days were filled with work, conversation and a lot of laughs.  We were grateful for the opportunity to learn about Okolona and the Excel programs.  We were also thankful for the good weather and green trees, buds and some blooming flowers, the hospitality of the motherhouse staff and residents during our travel stopovers, good company and safe travels.

But most of all, we appreciated the opportunity to meet and work with Sisters Liz Brown, Nancy Schreck, Jean Meyer, and Therese (here from the CSJ community in Sydney Australia), many of the wonderful citizens of Okolona and the many volunteers and employees of Excel Commons.  We are grateful for their hospitality (and showing us where to get those delicious sweet potatoes!).

For more information on the wonderful programs at Excel Commons, please go to their website. 

<< Back to News

Change Text Size   A|  A|  A