Editor’s Note: Newly commissioned lay missioner, Domonique Thompson, reflects on her experience living within the intentional community of Casa San Salvador. In her brief hiatus between Formation this fall and returning as a DCSC volunteer in January, she highlights some of the best parts of community life in anticipation for coming back to the Casa soon.
These past few months have been a blessing in disguise, like the thing you didn’t know you needed until it was there. Intentional community is something that is totally different than having roommates or people you dorm with. It is the kind of studying that is hard to explain until you’ve experienced it. In a roommate situation, it is very easy for two people to live together and never really have a deep meaningful conversation. The difference is that, in the Casa, there is a collective desire for that sense of openness and understanding with one another. By being open about what we are going through, it creates a space where we can support one another and possibly share in that mutuality.
During this time of COVID, where we’ve been separated from meeting and congregating with people, the Casa community has enough people where you can always find someone to do something with. Whether it be watching a movie, making dessert, crafting or even exercise, these activities take that communal living and make them personal.
One of my favorite activities that we do as a community is eat dinner as a family. Coming from a background where eating dinner was accompanied with watching tv together, it created a different dynamic for me. Engaging in full table conversations, individual conversations, or sitting back and observing were all things that were present at any given night. The dining table being submerged in laughter is something that I’ve learned to miss after coming back home for the holidays.
Another one of my favorite parts while living in this intentional community is the evening prayer together. As someone who was not really active in practicing my faith, I was initially really nervous about entering a house like this one. During my time there, however, I’ve learned what it truly means to be loved by God’s never ending well. The people in the house taught me that you don’t have to be so hard on yourself, because God welcomes us as we are. The evening prayer is also a great opportunity for us to learn about each other’s prayer styles, and to sometimes even to try something new together. Whether it be singing, hugging, drawing, or just even listening and sharing what’s on our hearts, this experience allows us to be vulnerable with ourselves and God.
Vulnerability at the Casa was something that I didn’t expect to experience so soon with a group of people I had just met, but was something so very needed. By being vulnerable, it allowed for the community to unite in unique ways. It formed bonds with the people within our group and allowed for us to lean on one another. During this time of pandemic where we are all so disconnected, living in a full house with people to share in community with is something that I am grateful for.
After temporarily moving out and living alone, community is something I miss the most. Reflecting on that, community creates connection, unity, growth, opportunities to learn, and an outlet for deepening my passions. The Casa is not just a temporary place but rather another home, and not just for me but for the many people who came before and the many people who will come after me.