The Cardoner Project would like to farewell Pauline Mueller and wish her the best for her upcoming travels. Pauline has been working as TCP General Manager since 2015 and will maintain her involvement with TCP upon her return from overseas. Have a read of what she has to say about working at the Cardoner Project:
What drew me to working with The Cardoner Project?
"What doth it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his own soul."*
Exposure to Jesuit philosophy has come through my father, my son, my brother and my uncles, all of whom have had a Jesuit education. The last fifteen months has allowed me as a lay person to experience cura personalis.
I was drawn to the mission of The Cardoner Project by Fr David Braithwaite. Spiritual, intellectual and human transformation is important for us all but more so for our youth who live in a society that is global and inclusive and yet alienating all at the same time. Technology has been a major disrupter in ways we are only realising now - what are the real impacts of facebook? of the 30 minute grab? of the need to multi task? of the leaders we deserve?
Opportunity and choice abounds between the ages of 18-25, creating challenges and threats and I find parallels in that this stage of my life faces similar disruptions. Many term this" the third act" and for me it means pondering the above quote from the Bible. What am I living for? What is the purpose of my life? Focusing on things of value lead me to The Cardoner Project and a glimmer of understanding of Jesuit principles.
The experience has therefore been a two way street, imparting my knowledge and experience to develop the Project and gaining a stepping stone on my journey.
The Cardoner Project is now an integrated set of programmes - Bellarmine, The Two Wolves Community Cantina and Immersions and Service Year. Each programme offers our youth an opportunity to engage and be formed through an avenue that suits their needs, whether it is being part of a volunteer community (more than 150 strong), living in Bellarmine House and forming an important core of the Project with a long term commitment to the mission of the Project or being formed through an immersion or service year. Each Programme now has a Manager with accountability for strategy, finance, staff and risk. Finance, HR, IT systems are in place - but this is a start up and systems will change and improve. In particular, it has been a pleasure to work with our young staff and see them grow and develop. They have been responsible for many important aspects of the Project. All of them are our future and if so the future is bright.
What have I gained?
The confirmation and articulation of principles by which to live and lead -
* principles and virtues which may not be absolutely applicable in all circumstances, but must stand at the ground of all ethical questioning and thinking, and which, therefore, cannot, without trepidation, be compromised
*Agape -The God-given, human capacity to see the intrinsic dignity of another person irrespective of affection, friendship, or romantic feelings. This vision of the dignity, goodness, and mystery of the other gives rise to benevolent intention, compassion and forgiveness. We want the other to prosper even if we do not directly benefit. We want to prevent the other from suffering even at the cost of our time and energy. We want the human community to be better off for our time and effort because we know that this is the one purpose of life that is truly lasting and worthy of us
* The heart directs the mind to meaning and purpose in life. It orients the mind toward the highest possible aspirations, to living life to the fullest, to the highest human emotions, and to our most creative expression. The mind, in its turn, guides the heart to what is reasonable and responsible..... the mind's guidance of the heart depends on knowing where one stands and where one wants to be amid the panoply of possibilities that the culture has to offer.
And finally, it is having a better understanding of the Magis.
When I want to see evidence of the impact ofThe Cardoner Project I only have to walk past the kitchen with it's dirty dishes piled high and a volunteer happily scrubbing away with a smile, or watch our young stafflead the discussion at a Board meeting on ways of helping others find their way or our apprentice chef asking if she can work more days, then I know we are moving to furthering the mission as it moves from outputs to outcomes - formation and service for the poor, and I hope to return later this year to help develop the latter.
*Spitzer, S.J., Robert J. "Educating in the Jesuit Tradition." Gonzaga University President's Message (2000).