New Beginnings by Fiona Holahan

Posted on August 29, 2018

IT’S BEEN A MONTH ALREADY?! People say time flies when you’re having fun... and they are right! I know it seems a little early to say this, but I know for a fact that this year with Amate House will be one of the best if not THE BEST year of my life. That's not to say it's going to be super easy, because I already know that it won't - but I'm living with 11 other people who are willing to work through that with me. That is what living in community is all about, and even when we were together for 2 straight weeks non-stop during orientation. I was excited to be with my housemates and talk with them, laugh with them, stay up wayyy too late with them - when I leave from work, I get so excited to ask them how their day was and just talk and hang out.

The weekend of July 26/27 feels like such a long time ago, but it’s only been 4 short weeks since we all moved in to the McKinley Park house. Our first two weeks in Chicago were filled with informative meetings, learning how to live in community with 11 other people, and lots of laughs. They were also full of movie watching, karaoke singing, late night chats and I knew from that moment that I had found the right place for me.

We are two weeks into work and for some of us it seems to be a bit of a slow start. Our supervisors are probably trying not to scare us right away! But I have the opportunity this year to teach at Our Lady of Tepeyac High School in Little Village. It’s an all-girls Catholic school, which is awesome because I also went to an all-girls high school in Milwaukee! It feels nice to be back in that environment. Even though our jobs seem very different and we are all placed throughout Chicago, we come home for family dinner and share a similar desire and passion for what we are doing. Our mutual care for others and desire to be here is strong.

While sitting at our welcome dinner at Old St. Pat's last night, I came to the realization that Amate House is a very special program. I found out that almost our entire house can fit in one small row and that one of our mottos is go big or go home. When we get together just us or with others, everyone knows that Amate has arrived. Now I don't know if that's just based on sheer size, or personality, or maybe a little bit of both, but we go big or go home without a doubt. One of our Wednesday night routines is our community nights and we do an activity called Consolation and Desolation where we reflect on moments where we felt God’s presence and moments where we didn’t feel God’s presence. So I want to share mine from the past month.

Consolation of the past month: So far it has been amazing to meet my new housemates and get to know more about them and their lives. We have a very special group of people living in this house that feel things deeper and care more than many people I know.

Desolation of the past month: We all know that work will pick up, people’s lives will get busier and the stress of life might put a damper on our moods. But we also know that we have 11 new people in our lives that will make sure we put our frowns upside down.

I don't know if I have ever found as many loving, kind, caring, open, loud and amazing people as I have through this program and I honestly am SO EXCITED to see what our future holds.


Fiona