For many students, spring break is a vacation, a chance to step away from the stresses of daily life. But last year, sophomores Mary Carper and Kaylee Bluethmann embarked on Marian University’s (Indianapolis) alternative spring break to Campton, Kentucky, and their experience wasn’t exactly a walk on the beach. Perhaps for the first time in their lives, the young women witnessed abject poverty–hungry people, living in a food desert, their lives oftentimes made even more complicated by a lack of education, drug addiction, and alcohol abuse.
Enter S. Susan Pleiss, OSF, pastoral associate at Good Shepherd Parish, the only Catholic Church in Campton, and all of Wolfe County. S. Susan Marie’s outreach makes a difference. “Good Shepherd is known for its outreach,” explains Carper. “When a member of a Baptist Church needs a loan to pay an electricity bill or does not have transportation to get food, the Baptist pastor will tell them to ‘go to the Catholic church’…(S. Susan) provides services like visiting the sick, running the food pantry, putting on various dinners and community events, delivering groceries, providing loans, and much more. Part of her job is to shine a positive light on the Catholic Church by reaching out to those in need.”
That positive light is apparent in all of S. Susan Marie’s ministry at Good Shepherd parish. With the aid of many volunteers, S. Susan Marie and her helpers spend their days ministering to the people living in this area of Kentucky making the gospel a reality in their lives.