Mercy Fueled a Passion for Social Justice
“What stays with me from my years at Mercy was the degree to which my leadership potential was nurtured. At the same time, the school fostered my personal spirituality and my interest in social justice,” said Claudia Brock ’12.
Those opportunities and her awareness evidentially lead to a position at the Grassroots Mobilization at NETWORK Lobby in Washington, D.C. Her focus is to reach out to members and grassroots contacts to work with them on advocating for policies motivated by principles of Catholic Social Justice.
“When I came to Mercy I was incredibly shy and did not enjoy speaking in front of other people. But Mercy staff and teachers foster such a warm, welcoming, and encouraging environment that it was not too long before I was giving my entire class announcements during joint homeroom,” she said.
In selecting which high school she wanted to attend Claudia knew she wanted something smaller than a public middle school and thought going to an all-girls school would be exciting. To make up her mind, she attended Mercy Open Houses and also shadowed.
“Every time I was at Mercy I was struck by how happy the girls were to be with one another. I loved watching hands be unashamedly raised in the classroom, friends joking around with one another, and girls speaking passionately about the clubs and activities they were in,” she added.
While at Mercy she was junior and senior class president and was involved with the speech team, National Honor Society, Justice and Peace Club, the Kairos retreats, and participated in a service trip to Belize during the spring-break of her junior year.
“From my first Mercy Day as a student I have been inspired by the example of Catherine McAuley and aim to embody her woman-centric approach to issues of justice in all of my work. The theology classes I took, especially Social Justice my senior year, sparked my interest in liberation theology. Today I am keenly aware of how my Catholic faith informs my values and my role in justice work,” she said.
After graduating from Mercy in 2012, she earned a degree in Journalism and a minor in Justice and Peace studies from Creighton University. She decided her senior year that she wanted to spend a year of service while living in intentional community. She was drawn to the Mercy Volunteer Corps and worked at Mercy Center in the South Bronx, which is an organization that welcomes and educated immigrant mothers and their children. While there she supported many youth programs and led an after-school program for 3rdand 4thgraders.
“While I appreciated being in a role of accompaniment throughout the year I felt called to become more engaged in public policy during a time when our most marginalized brothers and sisters are living in great fear,” she added.
That calling led her to NETWORK. She especially liked working on high school or college student group trainings on how to have a successful lobby visit before going to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress. She also loves to go to rallies on The Hill and see members of the Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team there.
“My time as a Mercy High student fostered my passion for social justice causes and I have benefitted from seeing examples of Mercy lived out on Capitol Hill,” she said.
In the fall, Claudia will be attending the University of Nebraska College of Law.
She has maintained many long-lasting friendships through Mercy and has witnessed how each member of her group of friends has become a Women of Mercy making their respective communities better.
“I can say without a doubt that I would not be who I am today had I attended any other high school. I have been emboldened by my student experiences, teachers, and classmates turned friend to be an advocate for myself and others. My years in non-profit and congressional work have taught me that the world needs more Women of Mercy being shining lamps, giving light to all around us- as per the instructions of Catherine McAuley,” she said.