Theresa Marten '15

Theresa Marten ’15 continuously seeks opportunities to live out the Catholic and Lasallian Mission of Lewis University by serving the communities around her.

The Catalyst Social Justice Experience retreat at Lewis University – a weekend immersion in Chicago to see poverty more vividly, feel poverty more intensely, and understand poverty’s causes more fully - is where Theresa first met Venus Wozniak, the Director of the Nativity House, who was chosen to be the guest speaker. However, it was during her final semester at Lewis, in a Pastoral Ministry course, when she got the chance to step foot into The Nativity House for the first time. After learning about an open position, Theresa felt inspired to apply.

Theresa finished out her time strongly at Lewis as the Student Lasallian Commencement Speaker. The day after graduation, she moved into the Nativity House in Lockport, Ill. to begin working as a full-time intern. The Nativity House is rooted in the tradition of the Catholic Worker Movement which was started by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. The Nativity House answers their unique call to social justice by providing a house of hospitality, with a stable family environment for first-time mothers to receive the necessary support to live a healthy, nurturing lifestyle. Additionally, they host roundtable discussions, publish a newspaper called The Visitation, and run a community supported garden on their property with 10 local families.

Theresa’s primary responsibility as an intern is to share the day-to-day tasks of being a first-time mother with the women who stay at the Nativity House. These tasks include driving to doctor appointments, grocery shopping, cooking meals, and taking care of the baby once it is born.

“My job is to share these life experiences with the guest mothers, so they have a companion who is present and supportive during the pregnancy and adaptable to whatever their needs may be,” according to Theresa.

To be fully present in these mother’s lives and gain a deeper connection, Theresa dedicates 40 hours a week to this community. “I am not forced to live this life, but am choosing to devote myself to this mission and live this lifestyle to serve those I live with to the best of my ability,” says Theresa.

Living in a community taught Theresa to be honest about what she can bring to the table, because another will step up and provide support in areas where one cannot. “At Lewis, we talk about community and do learn to practice it,” says Theresa.  “This was a much more intense community experience for me, where I not only learned to rely on others and trust in them, but also be an individual who can be relied on and trusted.”

A dedicated and passionate young woman on campus, Theresa was the Religion Editor for The Lewis Flyer, Copy Editor for Jet Fuel Review, and Team Captain of the Flyerettes Dance Team. She was also heavily involved in campus ministry where she acted as a peer minister and participated and led retreats such as Koinonia, EPIC, Catalyst, and several others.

Theresa is grateful to have been chosen for this amazing internship experience. She is appreciative of the countless service opportunities that were provided to her on campus, and the solid foundation of knowledge she gained through her theology courses at Lewis that, in combination, allowed her to succeed at the Nativity House.

In August, Theresa will be moving to Denver, CO to begin serving with the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, a community of faith and action called to serve in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul. There, she will be placed at an agency called Urban Peak in an overnight shelter that welcomes youth in search for a safe and welcoming environment.

Theresa wishes to advise students not to undermine the power of a relationship. “Stay connected with the teachers you know at Lewis,” she says. “Teachers have a way of seeing potential in their students, and the teachers at Lewis go above and beyond to help them succeed and navigate their way into the professional world.”


<< Back to decade


Did you know we have more than 40,000 alumni worldwide? Read feature stories and news items online about some of our most notable alumni. Read more.