Offering Exceptional Hospitality
Offering Exceptional Hospitality

Offering Exceptional Hospitality

In the summer of 2017, a July thunderstorm blew over more than 60 trees in our neighboring Camp Kiwanis, many falling mere feet away from tents. In those tents were sleeping kids – Dunrovin kids. More than 200 middle and high school students slept between Dunrovin and Kiwanis in one camp. Not one person was hurt.

Of course, the same storm also hit Dunrovin, and a power line lay on the ground in the middle of our driveway. Without electricity, our well can pump no water. Without electricity, there is no air conditioning. A worried mother named Jill approached me and asked if it was time to send everyone home.

“No,” I reassured her. “We will take care of you. It’s what we do.”

Dunrovin’s mission is to offer an encounter with Christ for every person, particularly underserved youth, through exceptional hospitality in the Catholic Lasallian tradition. What the heck does that even mean?

Read a few quick quotes from our staff who lovingly offer this “exceptional hospitality.”

  • It’s going above and beyond.
  • Beautiful furniture may be lovely, but people should sit on it.
  • It is the difference between event planning, where you put on a show for the people around you, and making it about the people who are welcome into the spaces as we are.
  • How fortunate Martha was to welcome Jesus into her home and serve Him!
  • Offer hospitality anywhere; it is an invitation into our hearts. It says, “We see you and want to give you what you need.”
  • Hospitality means more than a beautiful table setting; it is care for the people sitting around the table.

Lasallians might call it “accompaniment.” Because we are the face of God to others, we invite and walk alongside. We listen. We respect all and offer a sense of belonging to all. Accompaniment provides the comfort of being together. Additionally, Catholic Lasallian hospitality begs to ask the question: how can we take care of the spirits of our guests when their bodies are not taken care of? At Dunrovin, we help meet the physical needs so the spiritual needs of our guests can flourish.

Thus, we feed people. We house people. We welcome people. 

Simple hospitality defines the actions. Exceptional hospitality demands the heart. It requires an equal embrace for the guest whose family member completed suicide and the guest whose kitty died because both suffer and both need compassion. Exceptional hospitality means an equal embrace for the spiritual and nonspiritual seeker. The Catholic Lasallian embrace begins and ends with God, enfolding the person – however “good” or “bad” they seem – into the embrace.

Perhaps Luke’s recounting of The Visitation personifies hospitality. During the greeting between the Blessed Virgin Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, the infant John in utero leaped for joy as he recognized the presence of Jesus in utero. (Luke 1:41) We find joy in others as we meet Jesus in them.

And this is the Dunrovin mission.

I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”

Saint Teresa of Calcutta