December 01, 2011
When Christine Jones ’09C first came to St. John’s University as
a wide-eyed freshman from Oregon, she had never heard of the
later, it has come to define her life in an incredible way.
This young alumna currently works in San Francisco for the
Daughters of Charity – a premier Vincentian organization – helping
other lay people follow their faith and learn the Charism. Jones,
who has always valued her spirituality, views this job as a dream
“My faith has always been important to me, but I didn’t know a
thing about the Vincentian values until I came to St. John’s,” she
said. “It really sent my life in a different direction, because it
allowed me to see the Church through a lens of serving the needs of
the poor. That really focused my faith.”
Jones’s dedication to the Vincentian mission and her close
involvement with the Daughters of Charity has even taken her beyond
American borders. Most notably, she traveled to Africa on two
separate occasions with the Vincentian Lay Missionaries,
experiences that strengthened her faith immeasurably.
“I was an undergraduate when I first went to Africa, a trip that
took me to Ethiopia to teach English to children,” Jones explained.
“That experience completely changed the way I view the poor because
it put a face to the name. Instead of thinking about poverty in
abstract terms, like ‘the homeless of New York,’ or something like
that, these were people I was teaching and working with closely. It
truly changed my perspective on what it means to help people.”
This past August, Jones decided to embark on a second trip to
Africa, traveling with the Vincentian Lay Missionaries to Kenya and
serving in a coordinator position. In addition to teaching, she
helped to plan wealth of other activities for the Kenyan children
designed to instruct them in sports, music, arts and drama.
The opportunity to go back to Africa left a lasting impression
“It was tugging at my heartstrings,” she explained. “I wanted to
give back not only to those in Africa, but to the program as well.
It was certainly a challenge to go back as a leader, but it was
very much worth it.”
During her trips to Africa, Jones was taken aback by how
culturally different it is from America. Most notably, she was
shocked by the lack of diversity and the antiquated amenities. But
these local hardships only added to the impact the trips had on
“When I came back from Kenya, my perspective changed in much
more subtle ways than it had from my first trip to Ethiopia,” she
said. “What I came back with, for better or worse, was more
questions. I had a stronger desire to really start looking at what
needs to be changed, what pieces need to be set in place, to solve
some of these major problems. “
Jones lives in the Bay Area with her husband and enjoys working
for the Daughters of Charity. Faith remains an essential part of
her life, and she looks back fondly on her time at St. John’s.
“The Vincentian values were not even on my radar back when I was
a kid in Oregon,” she recalled. “But because of the experiences I
had at St. John’s and the wonderful people I met there, the Charism
has become an essential part of my life.”
She added, “When people ask me how I would describe myself, I
always tell them, ‘I’m a Vincentian,’ and that’s something I’m very
proud to say.”
Read more about Jones’s trip to Kenya on her blog.