- by Mount Saint Mary College
Victoria Veloz-Vicioso, Alicia Santiago, Angelica Rolka, Molly Jensen, and Brother Peter

Mount students happy to serve, left to right: Victoria Veloz-Vicioso of Englewood, N.J.; Alicia Santiago of Endicott, N.Y.; Angelica Rolka of Poland, N.Y.; Molly Jensen of Bayport, N.Y; and Brother Peter, a Franciscan friar.

For Mount Saint Mary College freshman Victoria Veloz-Vicioso of Englewood, N.J., serving at a local homeless shelter not only helped the Newburgh community, but also helped her to grow spiritually.

When she asked to complete a community service project for her “Dominican Spirituality” class, Veloz-Vicioso, a Business student on the five-year MBA track, jumped at the chance.

A graduate of Immaculate Conception High School in New Jersey, a Felician school, Veloz-Vicioso spent her formative years being taught the core values of the Franciscan Friars. After consulting her teacher, Sarah Maple, assistant professor of Religious Studies, Veloz-Vicioso decided to contact the local Franciscan order in Newburgh, near the college. 

Veloz-Viscioso noted that the Felician Core values – respect for human dignity, compassion, transformation, solidarity with the poor, justice and peace – are similar to the four Pillars of the Dominican Sisters: study, spirituality, service, and community. These pillars guided the Dominican Sisters as they founded Mount Saint Mary College in 1959.

After getting in touch with the Friars, they agreed to cook meals for a shelter in the City of Newburgh. Veloz-Vicioso helped cook meatloaf and make salad, and spent two nights serving the homeless shelter with the company of the friars, her mother, and her fellow Mount students, Alicia Santiago of Endicott, N.Y., Angelica Rolka of Poland, N.Y., and Molly Jensen of Bayport, N.Y

“To cook for them and serve them was very eye opening,” Veloz-Vicioso said. She added that some of those that she served hadn’t eaten all day, and it was heartwarming to see these families leave with leftovers.

Veloz-Vicioso found that taking time out of her day and serving others gave her a more positive outlook on life. Being a college student can be stressful, she noted, but serving those in need helped her and her friends to appreciate how fortunate they are.

“This was an incredible experience,” she said. “It’s so important to us to serve.”

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