While I have been thoroughly enjoying my time at the Shrine thus far, Tuesday, June 13th was absolutely the best day I have spent here this summer. As it was the Feast of St. Anthony, I spent the morning in the lobby of the Shrine, greeting visitors, handing out blessed bread, and taking donations. Given this opportunity to sit in the entrance, I had a much more conversational morning than usual. Instead of sitting at my desk and working on a project, I was interacting with every person who entered the Shrine and many visitors had quite a bit to say.
One man told me that he was so glad he came into the Shrine that day because he really needed a pick me up. When I gave him the blessed bread and talked with him for a bit, his mood visibly changed. He told me that it was “kind people” like myself who take time to chat that make coming to the Shrine so worth it. This compliment was a great start to my day, and I’m glad I could make a difference in his life just by listening to a short story and having a simple conversation.
I have lived in the greater Boston area for twenty one years – my entire life. Since before I can remember, I have been coming into Boston for a myriad of reasons; to see a Red Sox game, to go to dinner, visit a museum or college, and even to shop in Downtown Crossing. I have walked the streets surrounding the Shrine millions of times and thought I knew this area very well. But when I started working here, I realized how little I actually knew about the ins and outs of this neighborhood. I didn’t even know that the Shrine was here until last year, when my grandmother relayed stories to me about my grandfather’s love for this church, and their daily masses. Now, I have begun to see the area in a new light, with a deeper understanding of the community that exists on these blocks that I thought I knew so well. Handing out bread on Winter Street outside Macy’s on Tuesday, I felt incredibly lucky to have been given this opportunity to bring together two of the most important things in my life – the city of Boston and the my faith.
Written by Kate Chaney; a rising Senior at Boston College