When Gracie Mount, DSHA ’23, was a freshman, Campus Ministry at DSHA was something that held little interest for her. Even coming from a Catholic grade school that she loved, she had other interests she was excited to pursue in high school.
“I went to Mass because I went with my parents and it was a part of (grade) school. It was always something I did willingly, but not necessarily something I chose,” Mount shares of her experience with her faith prior to DSHA. “I knew I would continue to go to at DSHA, but because it was part of what was expected.”
In the fall of her freshmen year, Mount’s good friend Nora McCormick, DSHA ’23, invited her to visit the Campus Ministry Center because McCormick had heard “cool things” about Campus Ministry. Those “cool things” turned into life-changing things for Mount.
“I started to visit the Campus Ministry Center more frequently and I felt so welcomed by the older girls in there. I saw their relationships and dynamics with each other. It was something I knew I wanted to strive for,” Mount shares.
As she sought opportunities to partake in more Campus Ministry offerings, Mount began attending Faith Friday Masses each week her freshman year. Faith Fridays are optional Masses that take place during the weeks without an all-school Mass. “I have found that when you have the opportunity to prioritize experiences where you are choosing your faith, and sharing that with others, your relationship with God will grow. And so do your relationships with others. As a freshman, I had no idea how impactful these Campus Ministry experiences would be.”
Over the course of her four years of high school, Mount has transitioned from watching and participating, to leading and creating Campus Ministry experiences for other students. This year, she serves in the role of a Campus Ministry Officer. Seven senior leaders serve as officers; they are meant to be a model of faith to their classmates, while developing school-wide Campus Ministry and faith-based programming throughout the year.
This has been a particularly meaningful year to serve in the role of an officer for Mount. Prior to the start of the year, the school co-curricular schedule was restructured to allow for a protected time each Friday for Mass and faith-based co-curriculars.
“Coming out of COVID, we knew we had a need to rebuild our community. It was so isolating. As officers, we were really excited for this change,” Mount shares. “With the new schedule we’ve had so many more girls attending Faith Friday Masses. Seeing other girls live out their faith really matters—especially to the younger girls who can see that juniors and seniors are giving up their time to go to Mass instead of scrolling Instagram.”
Since the inception of the schedule change this fall, attendance at optional Faith Friday Masses has nearly tripled compared to last school year. On average, 164 girls now attend these Masses each week.
When asked why this optional time of prayer and liturgy matters for students, Mount is quick to point out that high school can come with a lot of pressure. Having a sacred and dedicated time each week for a known pause can have a profound affect on her spiritual, mental, and social-emotional well-being.
“When we are together at Mass, nothing outside matters when you are praying with your friends—and meeting new ones,” Mount shares.
RAISING $10,000 TOGETHER
In addition to protected time for Faith Friday Masses, the schedule change has also allowed time dedicated for faith-based co-curriculars. On Fridays, mission and Campus Ministry-focused co-curriculars meet; and on Thursdays, academic-focused co-curriculars meet. Students now have the ability to participate in both types of offerings, which has led to an increase in Campus Ministry participation, and an increase in collaboration across all groups.
Because of the altered schedule and options for students, a collaborative year-long effort between all co-curriculars was set in motion at the very beginning of the school year called $10,000 Together. The project is student-led and inspired by this school year's scriptural theme: “How good and kind it is when God’s people live together in unity,” from Psalm 133:1.
Syniah Lee, DSHA ’24, serves on the Underclasswomen Campus Ministry Council and has taken on an integral role in the $10,000 Together project. She shares, “The goal is to raise $1,000 for ten organizations that are important to DSHA students throughout the year. Students get to vote for the organizations from a list of choices. And then all of the co-curriculars host fundraisers until $1,000 is raised. Then we donate the money and start again on the next one.”
During the fall semester, a collaborative effort among co-curriculars raised $1,000 each for the following Milwaukee-area organizations: ABCD (After Breast Cancer Diagnosis), St. Bahkita Catholic Worker House, Camp Hometown Heroes, Warm Hands Warm Hearts, and Casa de Esperanza.
A MORE WELCOMING & INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY
Lee, who is involved in a number of other co-curriculars including Sisters of Culture and DEI Council, has seen the benefit of this project for the student body at large. “This makes our community more welcoming and inclusive. All of our different co-curriculars get to work together for one cause as the goodness and kindness of Jesus. Everyone has brought so much positivity and energy to the project,” she says. “When you see other clubs putting in such great effort, it inspires you to work hard and do the same. When we work together we not only accomplish more, but we grow closer with other girls we may not have interacted with because of different interests.”
When reflecting on the amount of work given and dollars raised during the fall semester, Lee shares, “I feel so lucky and grateful that I get to see how this is playing out among our school. To see girls owning and choosing to act on their faith and impacting the community around them—both here and through these organizations—it is really special. Different clubs don’t always know what other groups are working on. In addition to raising dollars, we are also able to recognize and celebrate the great work other girls are doing.”
FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE
At DSHA, the mission of Campus Ministry can be summed up in a prayer by St. Therese:
May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of us.
Each Friday of the week this school year has embodied the invitation of St. Therese: “It is there for each and every one.”
“It’s a hard world for young people to choose their faith,” says Director of Campus Ministry Stephanie Monson. “Studies have shown, and our own experience as educators supports, that the more people that surround them, the more opportunities that they have to have meaningful prayer and reflection, and the more chances they get to serve others is what gives them the greatest chance of living their faith long term.”
Mount adds, “We see how hard our classmates work to put together things for others to be a part of. Their hard work and passion makes you want to make the choice to participate. My own relationship with God has grown so much because of being a faith community where you get to prioritize choosing your faith and seeing other girls do the same.”
A LIFE-LONG PURSUIT
Monson often speaks about how the Campus Ministry efforts at DSHA are about creating a life-long faith. In addition to the daily prayer and all-school Masses, along with mandatory service, retreats, and Theology, the importance of having a faith formation model that gives young people opportunity after opportunity to choose faith for themselves is invaluable. Campus Ministry at DSHA is rooted in students having positive experiences with their faith, continuing to seek faith for themselves, and to eventually to lead that experience for others.
“The more they choose faith for themselves now, the more likely they are to enter college and keep living that faith without their parents or teachers requiring it of them. They will do it because it is just who they are,” Monson says. “More than anything, I want our girls to have the deep-down confidence that God loves them, and to have them choose that relationship with God for themselves. Because when that confidence does ‘settle into your bones’, in the words of St. Therese, it allows you to be the person you were meant to be in the world."
FAITH FORMATION THROUGH CAMPUS MINISTRY AT DSHA
CAMPUS MINISTRY MODEL | All-School + Optional Offerings
Philosophy | Rooted in Salvatorian, Catholic spirituality, Campus Ministry at DSHA gives all students the opportunities and community they need to develop a lifelong relationship with God, participate in the sacraments, and be open to where God is calling them in life.
Prayer & Liturgy
- All-School Opportunities | Faith is at the heart of everything at DSHA. All students are involved in Campus Ministry through monthly all-school Masses, retreats, and service programs, along with participation in liturgical celebrations. Theology classes and student-led prayer also bring faith into the daily student experience.
- Opt-In Opportunities | To build a lifelong faith, it is important for teenagers to be given the opportunity to opt-in to faith formation activities in order to find a sense of belonging in their faith. DSHA’s peer-connected opportunities help young women grow in their faith in a way that is meaningful to the individual, while authentically connecting with one another in a Catholic community. The peer ministry model of faith development allows for students to see other girls practicing their faith, and eventually take on Campus Ministry leadership roles of their own.
- Daily | All-School Prayer
- Weekly | • Mass (either all-school or Faith Friday) • Rosary • Confession
- Monthly | Eucharistic Adoration
- Liturgical & Special Seasons | • Father Jordan Spirit Week • Catholic Schools Week • Divine Mercy Chaplets • Advent • Lent
- Opening Campus Ministry Retreat | open to all students
- Freshmen Retreat & Service Day | Set Sail
- Sophomore Retreat | Through the Turbulence
- Junior Retreat | Be Present
- Senior Retreat | On the Journey
Students participate in nearly 25,000 hours of Salvatorian service each year—rooted in the mission of the Sisters of the Divine Savior to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in the world.
Presence & Pastoral Ministry
Campus Ministry staff are available to students through out the day for care, support, and guidance as needed.
Faith & Mission-Based Co-Curriculars
- Freshman Retreat Team
- Freshman Deck Crew
- Goodness & Kindness Teams
- Hometown Heroes
- Interfaith Team
- Liturgical Music Team
- Service Team
- She’s the First
- Sophomore Retreat Team
- Special Weeks Teams
- Raise Awareness
- Respect Life
Student Leadership Opportunities
SENIOR CAMPUS MINISTRY OFFICERSNora McCormick, DSHA ’23 Claire Mooney, DSHA ’23 Gracie Mount, DSHA ’23 Molly Reardon, DSHA ’23 Jane Retzer, DSHA ’23 Lucy Richburg, DSHA ’23 Yaleska Sosa-Azcarraga, DSHA ’23
- CMC Council
- Service Coordinators
- Liturgical Music Coordinators
- Afternoon Prayer Coordinators
- PB&J Coordinators
- Collections Coordinators
- Rosary Coordinators
- Goodness and Kindness Coordinators
- Freshman Retreat Coordinators
- Sophomore Retreat Coordinators
- Junior Retreat Coordinators
- Senior Retreat Coordinators
UNDERCLASSWOMEN CAMPUS MINISTRY COUNCIL MEMBERS
Eliana Idzikowski, DSHA ’24
Syniah Lee, DSHA ’24
Salma Chaouis, DSHA ’25
Delaney Scott, DSHA ’25