Partnering with Villanova University
The rule of Saint Augustine begins with the exhortation that “the main purpose for having come together is to live harmoniously, intent upon God in oneness of mind and heart.” The Augustinian Office of Justice and Peace, headed by Fr. Jack Deegan, O.S.A, has reached out to Villanova University’s faculty, staff and students to collaborate in ministering to the underserved in the Greater Philadelphia Area. The office of Justice and Peace coordinates its various ministries under the umbrella of ADROP (Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor).
The photo at left, show students and faculty from Villanova’s College of Nursing with ADROP’s Executive Director, Fr. Tony Burrascano, O.S.A, as they prepare to serve our neighbors at the weekly Unity Clinic. The clinic provides primary medical services to individuals who are not eligible for or who cannot afford primary medical care. The free clinic, founded in 2005 by Fr. Deegan, O.S.A in collaboration with the Dean of the College of Nursing, M. Louise Fitzpatrick, offers services otherwise not available to over 1,000 patients on an annual basis.
The center photo shows Villanova University students during the annual St. Thomas of Villanova day of service. The students gave the two stories of the 75+ year old rectory a good cleaning. Since medical examinations are conducted on site, there is always room for cleaning and sterilization. The students teamed up to do an in-depth cleaning which benefitted all who use the facility.
The photo on the right shows another group of Villanova students who volunteered their time during the University’s Fall Break to support the Augustinian Justice and Peace Office’s efforts in the area of Restorative Justice. The office prepares a dedicated newsletter, primarily written by inmates, which helps to increase understanding of their situation both while in prison and after their release. To save money, the newsletter is printed, folded, and sent out by George Munyan, co-editor of the quarterly newsletter, and a few volunteers. For the few staff and volunteers at ADROP, it is a time-intensive task. The latest edition was folded and prepared for distribution in a single day thanks to the effort of the enthusiastic Villanova students.
These efforts are win-wins for the Augustinians, staff, and the Villanova students. It brings them closer to the one mind, one heart goal of Saint Augustine and makes them better people who have touched lives for the better.