Transformation. Learning about the mission of the Congregation of Holy Cross has transformed my life. Blessed Moreau’s vision of unity for his institutions and orders transitions well into my current work at Stonehill College. As a lay collaborator in the work of the mission, I see it as my call and duty to offer opportunities of transformation for students, employees and supporters. Since 2013, I have been orchestrating the H.O.P.E. Service Immersion Program, which stands for Honoring our Neighbor, Organizing for Justice, Practicing Peace and Encountering God. These experiences are a one-year journey in both faith formation and justice education. As part of my position, I seek out various Holy Cross apostolates and missions with which to collaborate. Our longstanding partnership with the mission in Canto Grande, Peru has been one of utter transformation of both mind and heart.
I traveled unexpectedly to Canto Grande in 2016 with a group of Stonehill students to experience the mission and work with the Belín Community, Yancana Huasy and Fe y Alegría 25. I could not have been more excited for this journey as it offered me the opportunity to meet my long-time compeñera, Kelly Chimeta Guiterrez. Kelly and I have worked together across many miles providing these experiences for the Stonehill students and employees over the years. Our friendship grew and our desire to one day connect came to fruition that March. Upon arrival into Lima, both Br. John Tryon, C.S.C., and Kelly greeted our group with excitement and joy. I knew from that moment this experience would touch my heart and soul in ways I craved.
Our time in Canto Grande and at the Peyton Center bathed my spirit in Holy Cross. Br. John educates so easily in the charisms of the Congregation. His loving presence and excitement inspired us every day. Kelly seamlessly orchestrated an immersive first half the experience that taught about the culture, politics and faith of the people of Canto Grande. During the second half of the immersion, Kelly harnessed our energy into hard work with the Belín Community by helping to spruce up their worship space. Each community we traveled to and each Holy Cross church we entered welcomed our presence as each of us felt a deep connection to the Congregation. Our sister parishes and apostolates opened our eyes to how Holy Cross reads the signs of the times and asks what is needed, just as Blessed Moreau did after the French Revolution. Holy Cross has responded for over 50 years to the needs of the people in Canto Grande and as a result, the people we met were dwelling in intentional gratitude for their presence.
Sharing this experience was even more profound due to the incredible generosity of our donors to the Peru immersion at Stonehill College. Stonehill College Board of Trustee and alumnus, Brian Doherty, funds much of the experience for the students through philanthropic dedication. Brian believes deeply in both the in the mission of Peru and in the transformational work of the H.O.P.E. Program. Investing in this work assists us in forming students in Stonehill’s mission and allows the H.O.P.E. Program to invest in the thriving of the Holy Cross mission. From the moment I knew I was headed to Canto Grande, my excitement grew with anticipation of what the mission would teach me about Holy Cross. It felt as if I was on a retreat in Holy Cross values and charisms. I found myself falling in love with my work and my vocation as I saw how Holy Cross invests in the thriving of those in need in the global context. I was so profoundly touched, that I sought to provide this experience to Kelly by helping her come to the United States and thus learn about Holy Cross in our country.
Kelly serves various Holy Cross institutions in the US through her work. In 2017, we financed and organized her time in the Boston area while at Stonehill College and the Mission Office helped us send her to Notre Dame, Holy Cross College and to St. Edward’s University. Kelly walked away from this experience better versed in her understanding of the cultures present at our various institutions. We also were able to host her and repay her for all the work over the years in providing such transformational experiences for our students. This investment in her professional development has only deepened her connection to all of our colleges and provided her a deeper foundation and cultural context for her work.
Transformation is my call as is providing access to moments where students, employees and partners can all dwell in Holy Cross. These experiences let the spirituality and mission of the Congregation showcase the true unity that exists in a global context. We are all collaborators making God known, loved and served. Making manifest this unity and transformation only fuels our zeal in conforming to Christ and being people with hope to bring and to share. Thus providing us with dividends beyond measure.
MaryAnne Cappelleri is the Assistant Director of Campus Ministry at Stonehill College. She orchestrates the H.O.P.E. Service Immersion Program & Interfaith Women’s Spirituality Programs. MaryAnne has worked for 14 years educating students on the intersection of service, faith and justice. MaryAnne served as a Holy Cross Associate with the South Bend Center for the Homeless from 2001-2002. Contact MaryAnne via email: