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I was first introduced to the word magis last year as a senior at Boston College. The Jesuit term was defined simply, magis means “the more, the better, the greater for God”. As I began my year of service with Amate House, the concept of magis was something I held close to my heart. I wondered how I could embody the principle of magis both in my role as a youth mentor and as a member of the Amate community. As time went on, the idea of being “the more” felt…overwhelming at times. The meaning of magis became murky. I was stumped and left wondering how I could continue to strive toward the greater good while avoiding the burnout and pressure that loomed around the corner.

With only a little more than a month left in this journey, I was delightfully surprised to find the embodiment of magis at Amate Magic.

Amate Magic is an incredible celebration where people from all across the Amate House community come together to support Amate’s mission to shape young adult leaders into life-long social justice advocates and empower them throughout their commitment to service. This year was particularly special as we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Amate House.

As fellows, we knew this was going to be a big night, it had been marked on our calendar for months! We prepared by creating auction items, testing recipes for our cookbook (most of which were successful), and debating whether or not we would be color-coordinating our outfits. Although we weren’t exactly sure what the night held in store for us, I can honestly say that all six of us were most excited for three things: dressing up in our finest attire, trying all the fancy appetizers, and seeing who could get the highest bid on their silent auction item.

As the night went on, we saw how Amate Magic is much more than just an event where we are able to raise funds that help to support current and future chorts of Amate fellows. It is a space where, even after 40 years, a community of kind-hearted people comes together to continue putting love into action.

During the event, I had the opportunity to catch up with Abby Greaney, who was this year’s recipient of the Founder Award.  Abby was one of the first Amate alumni to welcome our cohort to Chicago amidst our first week of orientation. I asked Abby and her fellow Amate alumni at the table, “What has Amate meant to you?”. Abby thoughtfully responded that her years as a fellow at Amate House and her experiences beyond it taught her “the importance of showing up”.  This resonated deeply with me. At its core, Amate House is all about showing up; for yourself, for others, and for the greater good. At Amate Magic, we witnessed years of showing up. We watched alumni cohorts show up to reconnect and reminisce with former housemates, community partners show up for current and past fellows who once served at their organizations, and long-time supporters show up for the future of Amate House.

I realized that the simple act of showing up can embody the principle of magis, as it often requires overcoming challenges and demonstrating commitment. Whether it’s picking up a housemate’s cooking shift when you know they’ve had a long day at work, sitting on the floor of a middle school hallway after the day has ended to work through a difficult situation with a student, being a listening ear or a lending a helping hand. There is magis in showing up.

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