Defining Service in Today’s World – Do We Give Until Nothing is Left?

Posted: April 11, 2011

Rosemont, PA- Throughout history, people have been called to service out of social injustices, war, natural disaster, or to give voice to those who have none. There is so much need in today’s world, but relief organizations and governments can’t be the only source of aid. It won’t ever be enough. So everyday people adopt causes, something for which they feel overwhelming affinity and give it everything they have: emotionally, physically, and in some cases, financially. It’s exhausting. How do you forge ahead when you are just tapped out? “We must remember to include ourselves in those we serve,” says Josh Swiller, New York Times best selling author and internationally recognized advocate. “We must always treat ourselves with infinite kindness -- service, true loving service, flows from that,” he continues.

Swiller, who will be speaking at Rosemont College on April 13, lives a life full of service: to the deaf and disabled, to people suffering in Africa, and to soldiers returning from war. “Giving, giving, giving until nothing is left? I've been there and you can't do it that way,” he states. What he has done with his life, in the face of many challenges, is humbling. He’s been a hospice worker, a Peace Corps volunteer, a forest ranger, a sheepskin craftsman, a raw food chef, and a Zen monk, among other things. He has also been deaf since the age of four.

“A successful life is not measured in account balances or poll results, but in harmony. And harmony comes from service,” espouses Swiller. “We are here to love and to find wonder and gratitude in all things -- service can take us there.” Currently working at Gallaudet University, the national university for the deaf, Swiller is leading the effort to secure more attention, care and understanding for the tens of thousands of young veterans returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan with severe hearing damage. He also founded Deaf Worldwide Community Advocacy Network (DEAF WE CAN), which strives to improve the support and visibility of the deaf and disabled throughout the world.

Swiller will be speaking at Rosemont College at 7 p.m., on April 13, 2011. He will discuss his unique experiences and how to navigate the emotional challenges of service -- fatigue, frustration, martyrdom -- in a presentation he calls The Warrior Heart of Service. “We are thrilled to have Josh. He and the foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Cornelia Connelly share similar outlooks on life in far different times and circumstances,” says Sr. Jeanne Marie Hatch, vp of mission and ministry at Rosemont College. “It amazes me that both their lives exemplify ‘love full of action,’ even though they each could have easily had a ‘poor me’ attitude.”

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is recommended. Visit www.rosemont.edu/warrior for more information. An American Sign Language interpreter will on hand for attendees with hearing loss.

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Founded in 1921 by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Rosemont College is a private, coeducational institution in the Catholic educational tradition that—through close mentoring, excellent academic support, and student life service—focuses on nurturing the strengths of each student. Located on the Main Line, 11 miles west of Philadelphia, on the border of Montgomery and Delaware Counties, the nationally-acclaimed, traditional Undergraduate College confers B.A., B.S., and B.F.A. degrees in twenty-four majors. Rosemont College also includes the Schools of Graduate and Professional Studies, which are open to both women and men. For more information, visit www.rosemont.edu.

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Last Updated: April 11, 2011