Alternative Spring Break
Each year St. Mary’s students travel to different parts of the country over spring break, spending their week engaged in service experiences, learning about another city and the issues of justice that community faces, entering into faith-based reflection and discussion around what they are seeing and doing, and building relationships that contribute to their personal growth and development.
The Office of Community Engagement strives to craft these experiences wherever possible in places where the Marianist family has a presence, desiring to connect our students to the broader Marianist family and expose them to the many ways and forms in which our charism comes alive in various communities.
Applications for immersion trips are available in the Office of Community Engagement and will be made available in November.
In the past, domestic immersion trips have visited Dayton, New Orleans, New Mexico, Los Angeles, Cape May New Jersey, and others. There is traditionally a trip that will also take place in San Antonio, giving students a new and thorough perspective on the various aspects and issues in our own city.
International Immersion Program
The International Immersion Program experience focuses on being with, learning from, and building relationships with the people of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Students engage in theological reflection, social analysis and relationship building in the hope of embracing global solidarity. This immersion experience invites students to enter the reality of the world, grow in faith, and become agents of change for the common good.
Through the Catholic volunteer program Rostro de Crísto, St. Mary’s students have the opportunity to spend 8 days living, learning and experiencing the Ecuadorian culture in light of the Catholic faith. Participants are invited to learn about, share with and build relationships with the people of Guayaquil – people who live in grave economic poverty, who struggle with injustices created by our global society and unfair structures; they are invited to learn about themselves and think critically about their own story, about the international community of which we are a part, and how they can better discern their vocation in a way that actively seeks to serve the common good; participants are invited to grow in their faith more intentionally through a lens of justice, critical thinking, exploration of new expressions of faith, and a deeper understanding of our global Church and community.
The program has a thorough timeline; students commit the majority of an entire academic year to this program. In the fall semester information session are held, applications are accepted, interviews take place, and students are selected by mid-October, with a deposit due by the end of October. Weekly meetings start taking place mid-October through December. In the spring, students enroll in a two-credit elective class that address processes for theological reflection, community-building, learning about the Ecuadorian culture, cross-cultural preparation, and faith formation. Students travel with accompanying staff/faculty members to Ecuador over spring break, and continue to meet as a class through the end of the semester.