Traditions

De Colores

After 30 years, De Colores has reached a point when tradition is too weak a word to describe it. The Campus Ministry weekend social justice immersion experience brings together LMU students and the people of Tijuana, Mexico. In 1985, the late Fernando Moreno asked Chris North ’85 to organize a student trip to a Tijuana orphanage North had visited. Three decades later, the excursions, which include home-building or other construction work in the Tijuana community, take place almost every month during the academic year. The bonds grow deeper every year: The people of Tijuana have named a center Casa Loyola in appreciation of the LMU community’s commitment. Today, when LMU students first step on campus, many of them are told, “Make sure you do a De Colores trip before you graduate. It changed my life.”

 

 

The first time I went on De Colores I had just been broken up with and found out that my uncle, who was battling cancer, had three months to live. So I did the logical thing and decided to run away to Mexico for a weekend. I spoke no Spanish apart from “Me llamó” and “Como está?” This was apparent from almost the moment I stepped out of the van. A young child named Jorge latched on to me the rest of the day, demanding piggy back rides, making me try a salsa that was way too picante and pulling me into an exhausting game of tag. By the end of one day, the community in El Florido had become my second family. I arrived broken-hearted, just to have my heart broken open even more to the unconditional love the community showed me. They reminded me of the goodness of life again.
—Shannon O’Brien ’15

Being at Casa Del Migrante and breaking bread with the migrants has been a huge part of my growth as an LMU student. It has made me realize that before we were us, we were them. Before we were American, we were the immigrants. De Colores has taught me that love has no borders.
—Taiga Antonio Guterres ’15

Political sound bites disappear into human faces, names and stories I carry with me. So I love De Colores for pushing me out of my comfort zone, expanding my definition of solidarity and creating friendships on both sides of the border that last to this day!
—Patrick Furlong ’06

You don’t go on these trips to change people’s lives; it is the incredible people you encounter who have such an immense impact on yours. Casa Del Migrante and immigration education is such a vital aspect of these trips — putting faces to immigration issues makes everything so much more personal. There is no experience that I value more from LMU than that of De Colores.
—Kristin Benedetti ’14

I remember sitting with a group of kids as they had their breakfast. As soon as the kids finished eating, they would run outside to play. Only one kid was left who ate slower than the rest. I was always the last one to eat when I was little, too, so I hung out with him until he finished. I never forgot that moment or my experience with De Colores. It’s easy to forget how many blessings we have and how the simplest things can mean the world for someone else.
—Andres Andrieu ’13

I had heard students speak of their experiences with De Colores but never imagined that a weekend trip could have a lifelong impact on me. On my first trip, I, a stranger, was fed, hugged and made to feel like I was family. At the U.S.-Mexico border, we participated in Las Posadas, the re-enactment of Joseph and a pregnant Mary seeking shelter in preparation for Jesus’ birth. The theme of welcoming the stranger took on a new meaning for me. After I graduated from LMU, I joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Now, after getting an M.A. in social work, I work as a child and family therapist with families who find themselves on the outskirts in some way. My experience of being welcomed has opened up in me a desire to welcome the unknown in my life and work.
—Maddy Goodreau ’06

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