This past year, I have had the opportunity to be the Communications Intern at Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA). St. Rose Convent is located in La Crosse, WI, and before I applied, I never knew there was a convent so close to Winona, or anywhere near Minnesota.
This internship was my first “big girl job,” and I’m glad it was. Not only was I in a very safe environment, but the three women I worked with took me under their wing and made sure that I was comfortable with projects I was assigned and became people I consider my friends.
I have learned so much throughout the year, more than I ever thought I would.
- Responsibility: At the beginning, this job was not easy. I learned almost everything from scratch because of the different programs we use, projects that are done and because of how things are run in the office. This internship taught me how to be responsible; at times I would be working on seven different projects all due within days of each other, so prioritizing was huge!
- Spirituality: I’m not the most religious person. I grew up Lutheran – the “party religion” – and after I was confirmed, I only went to church on Christmas. But working in a convent has improved my spirituality. I mean this in that I have a new-found respect for the Sisters and their devotion to their community and God. I do find myself praying at times, and being in the chapel or going to events through FSPA gives me a sense of joy and somehow makes me feel more connected on a spiritual level.
- History: Good ol’ history. The chapel was rebuilt in 1906, and the actual convent has been in place since the early 1870s. St. Rose has a really cool archives and heritage section in the basement of the building, and you can bet that there are artifacts from when the order began (like hair art). With this internship I have access to the archives and heritage center; traveling to the basement is quite a maze, but spending time with all the artifacts and learning about them and about the convent in the olden days is amazing.
- “Sisters are people, too”: I have been interviewing some Sisters for my Senior Seminar project, and this is a quote that stuck with me – and it’s true! The Sisters I have gotten to know are some of the nicest, funniest and most down-to-earth people I think I have ever met. People have these preexisting ideas about nuns and assume that they’re all the same, but that’s simply not true. The Sisters I have met through my time at FSPA are all up-to-date with current happenings and support causes. I truly enjoy seeing them around the building and chatting with them!
This internship has been the best learning experience and best first job I could have ever hoped for.