Because Pope Saint John Paul II and Atchison, Kansas, are an increasingly common pairing, Benedictine senior Olivia Shingledecker has grown to love both through her experience in the John Paul II Fellowship program. Hailing from North Carolina, she has found a new home on the bluffs of the Missouri River.
As a Fellow of the Center for Family Life, Shingledecker has devoted much of her time to building up students from suffering families in and around the Atchison community. During her time at Benedictine studying philosophy and theology, she has gotten to participate in what she calls a “richly diverse environment of learning” and take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that her professors provide.
“The John Paul II Fellowship has enhanced my experience of community both by giving me a stable community with the other fellows and by encouraging interaction with the Atchison community. Working with at-risk children in Atchison has opened my eyes to the difficult experience of many locals in the town I love so much and has given me a desire to partner with them! I also enjoy the aspect of being able to share with my fellow students how the faith penetrates our lives on a weekly basis.”
“This fellowship has enhanced my experience of scholarship as we read and discuss ideas together, notice them in our lives and then put them into practice. Learning about John Paul II’s theology of the family translates into our work with Atchison children and completes the experience of community, faith, and scholarship that this fellowship offers.”