Valentine’s Day Tree

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.” Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)

The month of February is often known as the month of love, having Valentine’s Day at the heart of the month; but, there is so much more to love than what Valentine’s Day holds. Valentine’s Day focuses on romantic love, only one small part of what love can be. There are many different kinds of love, including: love of God, love of family and friends, love of neighbor, love of humankind as a whole, love of all living beings, and love of the Earth. With the huge focus on romantic love in our culture, many people are missing the deep connection and fulfillment of these other types of love. I believe that the emptiness that many people feel can be directly linked to the lack of these types of love in their lives.

Being one of the Dominican Volunteers this year, I live in Chicago at the House of Connections. I live with one other volunteer (Lacey) and two Dominican Sisters (Marilyn and Bernadine). In our house, we make sure to hold these different types of love in our hearts. We express these types of love toward each other, those in our ministries, and those in our wider Chicago community.

I believe that love is the best gift that one can give. Love can be expressed in several different ways, and it is often the little things that people say or do that express the most love: Bernadine leaving kind notes and even little Valentine’s for each of us, Marilyn consistently taking the time to sit down to talk with us about our day, or Lacey giving a heartfelt prayer about the difficulties she knows you are having.

This year, we decided to do something radically different than what is the norm at the House of Connections. We saved and turned our real, live Christmas tree in to a Valentine’s Day tree
(kudos to Lacey for this lovely idea)! We made hearts and paper chains for the tree, and even put a cupid at the top of the tree. We didn’t just decorate the tree, though. On the hearts we made, we wrote people, things, and ideas that we love, and, on the back of the cupid, we wrote things that we love about each other.

Val Tree 2

This just may be a new tradition for the House of Connections! We will have to see what the 2019-2020 Dominican Volunteers think. Either way, one thing is for certain: the culture of love at the House of Connections will continue with each new group of volunteers because once this
type of love is created, it can not be extinguished.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post!

God Bless,

Jake Moran Dominican Volunteer 2018-19