MOVE volunteers back from Selma Missions, Vermont Mercy Ecospirituality Center

June 1, 2023
group in benson

Lara Scott, MOVE director, left foreground, with the student volunteers in Benson. The large image behind the headline shows them at work in verdant meadows of the Ecospirtuality Center.

Lara Scott, director of the MOVE volunteer service arm of Edmundite Campus Ministry on campus, reports: “Our last two service trips of the year returned on Saturday, May 27. We were in Selma, Alabama with the Edmundite Southern Missions, and Benson, Vermont with Mercy Ecospirituality Center for these last two and, again, the trips were powerful and meaningful in many ways.”

MOVE also sent students on service trips to various locations around the region and U.S. over winter and spring breaks.

The five students and two MOVE staff leaders in Selma recently helped prepare and deliver food along with other service at the Missions founded and run by the Society of St. Edmund, resident founding order of Saint Michael’s College. The group of four students and two staff in Benson helped with planting and other tasks at the Ecospiritualty Center.

According to the newsletter of the Sisters of Mercy, who run the Benson Ecospirtuality site, “We had a history making cold snap during the second week of May. While the extended forecast called for an overnight drop to 32 degrees, what actually occurred was a deep freeze of 20 degrees … Otherwise, May is proceeding more convincingly toward summer, with average daily highs in the 70-80 range and overnight temperatures more favorable to our early plantings. May was overall dry with just under two inches during the beginning of the month and a half inch at the end. May guests came from Burlington, MA; Hewitt, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Colchester and Brandon, VT. Students came from Gwynedd Mercy University, PA and Saint Michael’s College, Colchester, VT and hailed from Long Island, NY; Pennsylvania; Vermont and even Nepal!”

food prep

St. Mike’s volunteers help with food prep in the Selma Missions kitchen.

Said Scott of the latter experience: “It is such an incredible opportunity to share the beauty and wonder of the natural world, of creation, found at Mercy Ecospirituality Center with our students. The space invites a sense of calm and a focus on presence while also encouraging hard work and ‘hands in the dirt’ to help the Center provide for the local community.”

“It feels grounding and nourishing in endless ways and seeing students and colleagues alike happily planting and weeding garden beds or corralling chickens and sheep is incredible,” Scott said. “While in Benson this year, service trip participants showed an inspiring excitement for the environment and a strong commitment to doing their part to ensure environmental health long into the future. It was a really fun and fulfilling week!”

Susan Raymond is Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Program Integration at Edmundite Missions in Selma, Alabama, and Chief Operating Officer of Edmundite Missions Enterprises, the social enterprise arm of the Missions. In a post-trip communication with Raymond, Lara Scott said of the partnership:  “When I think about the connections Saint Michael’s College and MOVE have to The Southern Missions, I’m reminded of just how beautifully our individual missions intersect and complement one another.”


Susan Raymond

“Offering a weeklong service trip in partnership with the Edmundite Southern Missions offers us the opportunity to live our purpose and actively work towards our program goals of increasing awareness, honest discussion, respect for culture, and social justice advocacy. Selma naturally offers incredible opportunity for our students to experience and reflect meaningfully,” Scott said to Raymond.

selma truck

Ready for deliveries in Selma.

“Our partnership helps expand perspective, prepare participants, and create deep meaning that translates into their academic and personal lives in valuable ways. The relationship we’ve built with Edmundite Southern Missions is one that adds depth to our work and allows us to contribute to educating the whole student in impactful ways,” wrote Scott.

Joining the Benson, VT Mercy Ecospirtuality volunteer experience from May 21 through May 27 were: Lara Scott – Staff Leader; Sullivan “Sully” Miele ’20 – Staff Leader from the Admission office; Jeremy Ceballos – Student leader; student volunteers Catrina Gallagher, Kirt Dirmaier and Tulasha Pradhan. The group of Selma volunteers helping out in the Edmundite Southern Missions between May 20 and May 27 were: Student Leader Makayla Blake; Staff Leader Ryan Hay; Staff Leader Sarah Childs, with student volunteers Kristyn Carrozzo, Felicia Fil, Emilie Webster and Amos Schramm.

Scott said the Selma trip was such a powerful experience for participants because “they had the opportunity to meet some incredible people and perform service in meaningful ways in Selma and the nearby town of Mosses.”

hot house

Benson volunteers in a hothouse.

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