Five Values of ABE

Service is part of the ABE trips as students work alongside the host community to address human, social and environmental needs. Whether working with children at a low-income daycare, doing home repairs, or sifting dirt for a reforestation project, service is an opportunity to directly touch the lives of others. This service is the starting point from which we can begin to understand the needs of our brothers and sisters and the culture of the host community.

Stewardship invites us to reconsider our habits, examine the difference between "needs" and "wants," and consider the implications of our lifestyle choices. Through valuing simplicity in stewardship the ABE experience invites students to recognize the conveniences and luxuries that fill our lives. The ABE teams decide together how to pack only what is truly needed and how to be good stewards during the trip. At your site, your choices may be limited by geography, money, transportation and safety.

  "Live simply so that others may simply live." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Spirituality is part of the ABE experience as it is expressed by the ABE teams. Spirituality in the context of ABE brings together participants' faith traditions, the Catholic Benedictine tradition of social justice and the Gospel call to service. The ABE program welcomes any student who is open to exploring and sharing issues of faith. Spirituality is how we express our own faith, beliefs and convictions, and the Benedictine tradition of St. Scholastica. Nightly reflections will give you the opportunity to share your own spirituality and learn from others in the light of the day's experiences in the trust-filled setting of your ABE team.

"Prayer disarms the human heart." ~ Edward F. Gabriele

Solidarity recognizes that we are all part of one human family despite national, racial, religious, economic, or ideological differences. Solidarity respects the value of the individual while affirming the common good. There are many communities involved in ABE trips: the ABE team, the host community, the St. Scholastica community, and beyond. Participants are not simply individuals who experience ABE trips on their own, but rather they are a community that is there to support and challenge each other throughout the experience. ABE teams reflect together in challenging support of one-another, and grow as a community through shared work. Through ABE, the ABE team and host community mutually benefit from the presence of each other.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead

Social Justice challenges students to recognize that it is not enough to simply do service. For example, when someone is hungry, we need to feed him/her. We also need to ask why the person is hungry and seek to change the social systems that create such issues in the first place. The dignity of the human person calls us to create social conditions that enable all people to achieve their full potential. Beyond direct service (e.g. serving a meal or roofing a house) ABE teams discover the political, economic, social, historical and religious issues which impact all of us. Through presentations, guest speakers, storytellers and educational opportunities, ABE trips seek to guide students to understand the interconnection between personal and societal responsibility.

"If you want peace, work for justice." ~ Pope Paul VI

Service ◆ Simplicity ◆ Spirituality ◆ Solidarity ◆ Social Justice