As soon as this group of students emerged from their quietness on Sunday afternoon, following a weekend-long silent retreat in La Falda, one of the retreat center’s staff noted what a privilege it must be to be in my position, living with and learning from the students. And indeed it is a gift to watch them engage with life here, ask big questions, and grow in love for one another. So, without further ado, I introduce the 5th cohort of Casa de la Mateada!

DSC01504.JPGLouis is undoubtedly the most pop cultured person to come through the CASA doors. “Big Lou,” as he is affectionately called in the house, studies Math and Spanish at Marquette University. This aspiring professor has taught the community loads about both the beauty of pi and just about every NBA stat known to man. We love Louis for his goofy personality, always bringing a smile to our faces and his big heart, especially when that heart so happens to lead him to serve surprise steak and eggs in the morning or play so joyfully with the children at La Capilla in Nuestro Hogar III.

Tristyn graces our house with a truly Oregonian spirit, DSC01524marked by a love for the outdoors. Still on a high from climbing Mount Fitz Roy over fall break, this girl is always ready for an adventure. Studying Sociology at Gonzaga University, she helps the community navigate the complexities of our Comparative Poverty class as well as digging deep into their faith lives. In her days accompanying students and teachers at Escuela Sabin, she embraces the roles of teaching and learning. We are grateful for her sweet hugs, kind smiles and playful spirit that truly make our community more joyful.

Genine has impressed many the Argentine with her impeccable accent, one which she has been practicing in her hometown of Los Angeles. She fits the vibe of her hometown with her vegetarian, fitness loving, adventurous spirit. Whether sharing stories about growing up in the Philippines or her summer workingDSC01511 in Hawaii, Genine has a presence that has drawn us all in, as well as the students she has gotten to know through spending time at Escuela Sabin. Studying Philosophy and Spanish at Loyola Marymount University, Genine hopes to become an environmental lawyer, a role of service that surprises none of her community mates.

Dan joins the CASA community from St. Louis University, where he studies international Studies and Theology. This Chicago native possess an uncanny ability to imitate SpongeBob’s laugh and brings the whole house to echo in bubbling laughter around the dining table. DSC01519.JPGDan is always looking for new ways to connect, whether it is a spontaneous merienda (an afternoon tea/snack), meeting up with his friends from praxis as they sell “La Lucierniga”, or his nightly ritual of making coffee with community mates. His heart truly resembles that of Ignatian spirituality, a wonderful witness of faith in action.

Matt is currently studying abroad while studying abroad, as this lad is actually from Kent, England. On his less adventurous days, he is roaming the beautiful streets of sunny Los Angeles, California where he attends Loyola Marymount UniversityDSC01533.JPG studying Philosophy and Theology. Living up to his major, the philosopher of the house is always posing questions and offering insights that move the community to dive deeper. But make no mistake, he still takes the time to enjoy the finer things in life; playing chess, gathering flowers for the dinning room table, guitar playing, making asados, spending time with the nuns in Barrio Argüello and sipping yerba mate.

Carly has revealed her secret to making a delicious mocha coffee and not surprisingly, her stock of cocoa has significantly decreased since then. Originally from Springfield, Illinois, Carly is an early riser and can frequently be found in the quincho most mornings, enjoying DSC01507coffee and a good book. Carly is always ready to lend a listening ear and go on a stroll to the park. She attends St. Louis University where she pursues many academic interests; Gender and Women’s Studies, International Studies, Social Work and Spanish. She uses her many skills and interests in connecting with the children and adults at Escuela Sabin. With a witty tongue and loving laugh, we are lucky to have her hugs and her heart to light up our house.

DSC01500MariaCarolina, though often called upon as a Spanish dictionary (as our one fluent speakers), has a natural ability of making everyone feel understood, whether her community mates or friends in La Capilla of Nuestro Hogar III. She calls many places home: Mexico where she was born, Utah where she lives with her family, and now Córdoba. She studies English and Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University and hopes to become a lawyer, working with immigrant populations. MariaCarolina is always willing to accompany her community mates, whether to get a licuado at the Resto Bar, or to lend a listening ear in a time of need. We are lucky to have her generous heart.

Katie is our Puerto Rican firecracker from New York and make no mistake, she’s a Mets DSC01496fan! This vegetarian is passionate about caring for all of God’s creation and her thoughtful love and care is felt by all of her community mates. She continually deepens that commitment to care through her studies of Social Work and Spanish at St. Louis University. With her contagious laugh and salsa-dancing spirit, Katie is always bringing smiles into our home, the nuns and children of Barrio Argüello, and the Córdoba community.

Hope, better known as Esperanza to the Argentines, comes to us from Loyola Marymount DSC01531University where she studies Psychology. She can frequently be found singing around the house, usually tunes that fit the vibe of her sunshine hometown of Santa Barbara, California. Hope is passionate both about helping others and trying every alfajor in the city of Córdoba. Her sweet tooth is only outdone by the sweetness of her personality, one that is a shining light to our community as well as that of Barrio Argüello.

Emily is always DTA (Down to Accompany) her community mates. In addition to singing and often sharing her love with hugs, Emily is a wonderful friend to all, activities including but not limited to: her community mates,DSC01494 classmates, and La Luciernaga community. We admire Emily for her willingness to make friends, meet others and make those she meets feel as though they have known each other for a long time. Also, in case you didn’t know, she loves her Villanova Wildcats, especially their basketball team and her home department, Theology and Humanities.

*special shout-out to MariaCarolina & Emily for writing about their community mates!

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