Cabrini Mission Corps provides opportunities after graduation for Cabrini alumni

By Elizabeth Krupka
February 9, 2011

After college, students are often plagued with a myriad of questions. Should I go to graduate school? Where do I look for a job? Do I take a year off and travel? What am I going to do with my life? Finding answers to these questions can be frightening.

Post-graduate service is a path that is readily available but not always at the forefront of a student’s minds. Since it is a road less traveled, students don’t always think of it as an option to explore for after graduation.

Cabrini Mission Corps, an organization whose offices are located in the Mansion on campus, gives college graduates the opportunity to commit to full-time post-graduate service in the spirit of  Saint Frances Cabrini, the founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, or Cabrini Sisters, who founded the college.

Missioners are not priests or sisters,  a misconception that might keep students from considering post-graduate service of this kind. Missioners are ordinary young people who desire to make a commitment to “live mission” generally between 10 months to up to two years. “‘Living mission’ with Cabrini Mission Corps,” according to Gina Scarpello, director, “means loving by learning to use one’s unique gifts and passions to serve those in need, and growing in the ability to integrate one’s personal and spiritual experiences throughout the service commitment and beyond.”

In 2012, Cabrini Mission Corps will celebrate 20 years of placing 118 missioners to serve in the U.S. and around the world (nine countries overseas and six U.S. cities.) Current missioners are serving in Cabrini missions in New York City and in the Philippines. If candidates do not have a desire to serve abroad, there are options in the United States. Missioner stories are remarkable. Crystal Catalan, 25, current missioner with Save Our School Children Foundation, Inc. in Baguio City, Philippines, was born in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

She studied communication and business administration and as soon as she graduated, went to work in a corporate job. However, deep down, she found this life choice lacking. Catalan couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that she needed to be doing something else with her life.

She wasn’t supposed to be working in the typical job setting.

“I got hired to do sales and marketing with a subsidiary of News Corp, and this was great, as it had a promising career path. Well, in the midst of working for this company for two years, I was also making annual trips to the Philippines, to do mission work. I made a promise to myself to use my two weeks of vacation for this, and well, it just so happened that I realized that I was living two lives. I felt like my heart and my passion was not in sales and marketing, but rather it was in mission work and ministry,” Catalan said.

“I love marketing and I loved the people I worked with, but it was not in line with where I felt my great joy resided,” Catalan said.

Another current missioner, Laura Johnson, 22, serves as a food pantry coordinator at Cabrini Immigrant Services in Manhattan. Her story is different than Catalan’s in the sense that she knew since she was younger that the missionary way of life was for her.

“Since I was in high school, I have always felt drawn to the missionary way of life…the idea that the destiny of all humanity is bound up in one another and that those of us who have resources (money, health, education,) have the responsibility to spread the wealth to those who don’t have the same opportunities in this world,” Johnson said.

Johnson was drawn to the missionary way of life by the associate pastor at her childhood parish in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“He was part of a missionary community and invited me to have a ‘hands-on’ experience once I turned 18. Less than two months after my 18th birthday, I was on a plane bound for his community’s mission in Sabana Yegua, Azua, Dominican Republic. That experience was so powerful in my life, that it led me to believe I was called to be a missionary too someday.”

In college, she was also able to study Spanish and theology. In addition, she also embarked on two study/serve abroad experiences in Madrid, Spain and Bogota, Colombia that would not only shape her personally but also professionally.

All of the missioners at Cabrini Mission Corps have different stories as to how they got there and how their experiences as missioners has affected their lives.

Grace Lape, also 22, is serving as a campus minister at New York City’s Mother Cabrini High School in Washington Heights. Lape knew she was being called to serve as a missioner. However, her experiences so far this year have made her steadfast in her desire to make mission a way of life beyond Cabrini Mission Corps.

“At this point of my year, I would say it is nearly impossible to say exactly what gifts I am receiving from my service. I have received so much from my wide range of experiences, people I have encountered and challenges I have faced.  I am sure the fruits of my mission will be present long after my year of service is over and I pray to be transformed by the experience when it is all over. For the moment I receive both joy and the challenge to grow, which I hope will create a new and better person who is more faithful to God’s call in the years to come,” Lape said.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Elizabeth Krupka

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap