Why join IVC when you could just go volunteer someplace? The answer to that question was on full
display during September’s retreat at A.D.R.O.P. (Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor, an IVC
placement in South Philadelphia), when 22 members of our Corps community gathered to begin the program
year.After lively catch-up conversation and introductions, we delved into this year’s common reading material. Across the country, Corps members will be pondering Praying with Ignatius of Loyola by Jacqueline Bergan and Marie Schwan, CSJ, as well as supplemental materials provided by the IVC national office. “But remember, we are not a book club” urged Tom Volkert, who serves at NETWORK. “The primary content for reflection is our own lives.”
The meaning of Tom’s words became clear after Mass (celebrated by Fr. George Bur, SJ), as John Green led the group in an exploration of “vicarious trauma,” a phenomenon that can occur when people in helping roles hear about or witness the aftermath of traumatic events in the lives of those they serve. John outlined various
types of trauma, encouraging the group to notice where we encounter traumatized individuals or s
ystems and to consider what strategies of self-care we can employ to avoid burnout. In the small-group
conversations that followed, members listened deeply to one another an
d brainstormed useful practices.
This experience of formation and community support, which happens in monthly meetings as well as three retreats each year, is the “value-added” of IVC, enriching the spiritual lives of Corps members and giving them much needed sustenance to serve their agencies with energy and integrity for years to come.