Jen Sieminski, a rising sophomore on the Neumann University softball team, recently put aside her cleats as she picked up a shovel and embarked a journey to Wyoming with Mission and Ministry. Sieminski joined Patrick McKenzie (Director of Campus Ministry) and five other students at the Wind River Indian Reservation where they worked with Sr. Teresa Frawley, OSF at three different parishes in the Wind River region. At the three parishes, students assisted Sister Frawley with many different projects including yard work, painting, and cleaning.
“It is honestly hard to figure out just one thing that I enjoyed the most,” Sieminski noted. “I wanted an experience that I would never forget and I didn’t really know how exciting this opportunity would be. For Wyoming, it’s more about learning the Natives culture and the people out there.” Jen also mentioned that Sr. Teresa Frawley, OSF was the exact replication of Sr. Marguerite O’Beirne, OSF at Neumann University. “She was so grateful and appreciative for life. We would move a bucket of water and she couldn’t thank us enough for such a small gesture.”
Every morning, Patrick McKenzie gave the students inspirational words to focus on throughout the day while they were working and each night the group came together for an evening of reflection to discuss. Out of the five nights out west, the group held evening reflections at Yellowstone National Park and Sinks Canyon both of which provided a reflection that couldn’t be put into words. “Yellowstone National Park was absolutely mind-blowing and beautiful and I couldn’t think of a better place to have an evening of reflection,” Sieminski noted. “Sinks Canyon was very beautiful and having a reflection on the lake on top of the mountain was something I will always embrace and remember.”
Jen’s wants to encourage more student athletes at Neumann University to be more involved with Mission & Ministry. The trips are team oriented and everyone wants the best for each other which could translate to the playing field. Her message to fellow students is do not give service a cold shoulder. ” You really learn a lot about yourself as an individual and its truly a reflection of who you are while understanding and taking in the cultures of others. It wasn’t more about giving back, it was more about taking in the culture of the Wind River Reservation. It is important for people my age to take a step back and see the way others live their life.”
Prior to the trip, Jen didn’t know the other students too well but as camaraderie formed, they grew closer and closer. By the time the service trip came to an end, no one wanted to leave. As her sophomore year approaches, Jen will be busy planning activities for her floor in LLC3 as she will becoming a Residential Assistant.
Jen is setting her sights on St. Lucia next year but until the time comes, she will remain active with Mission and Ministry in different ways. As summer comes to an end Jen is planning on helping out her former club team (Fillies Fast Pitch) in Newark, Delaware when she isn’t working at summer camp, at the beach, or preparing for another CSAC title run.