In the JP2 Project, students don’t just hear about the truth, about holiness, about how life is meant to be lived. They are immersed in a deeply transformative environment, where they can actually live out their call to greatness! To become builders of a civilization of love and truth today, it’s not enough to know. The tide is much too forceful in the opposite direction. These young people have got to taste greatness, experience it over time and with others, know what it is like from within.
Only with the power of the Holy Spirit and your collaboration, is this possible.
Hear from Bernadette, the journalism student responsible for why our Instagram posts were so good last Fall:
” I had a weird feeling for a long time, what some would call “a calling” but I would call “a tugging”, that I had to go back to Poland to finish college. The feeling came when I visited the Divine Mercy shrine during my spring break trip in March and looked out at the JP2 Center from the tower and the second time the day after Easter. I was never as scared in my life as I was in that moment when I knew that God wanted something from me, something I couldn’t explain until I came here.
I’ve been to Poland plenty of times before, as my parents were both born in this country and most of my immediate family still lives here. But this time was different. It wasn’t just a trip to visit family. This was an opportunity of a lifetime to discover and further from the roots that have been with me all my life. Poland has such a deep cultural history.
The Polish people have suffered greatly, something anyone can relate to. The art, architecture, culinary practices, the church, poetry, philosophy and theology reflect this tension and release from suffering. Out of the rough waves of history, a pearl was forming. Here, I learned so much about what makes man human. I studied John Paul’s Theology of the Body and met people from all over the world. I had late night conversations about what the good life means and I spent time with some of the most incredible people.
At the JP2 Project, I always felt at home. Our program directors are great examples and mentors to us: Dr. Madden brings his broad intellect and humor to dinner discussions, Megan would care for her newborn while telling us something fascinating about what she learned that day, and together they show us what good spouses and parents are. Their kids sometimes would run around in the common area and bring life to the space, reminding us of what it meant to be a kid again. The other students were amazing and each of us brought our unique personalities (and our quirks too!) and built a community together that truly cared for each other and aimed toward everyone wanting the best experience here in Poland for each other. We were also obsessed with playing Monopoly and I can’t believe I finally found a group of people who were willing to FINISH A GAME not once, but many many times.
During my time here, I felt as if I was cut wide open and renewed from within. I fell in love with reading again. I fell in love with photography again. I fell in love with so many things over and over again that had become numb and mundane over the course of time. There’s so much life and beauty in Krakow. It washed over me and gave me new eyes into knowing more about who I am and who I was meant to be. I still don’t know why I felt tugged to come here but I do know that it was good, and if it’s good then that means there’s no way God wouldn’t have wanted it.
I don’t know the effects that will come from being here; but I know that I prayed more during my time here, I loved others more, I trusted more, and I’m a better person now than I was four months ago. There is something absolutely beautiful about Poland and it’s not just a place for the Polish people — it’s a place that has so much to give to people from all over the world. “
— Bernadette Berdychowski, Kings College, NYC