The benefactor liaisons bring the message of St. Francis Mission to donors around the country, sharing news, information and key needs with supporters of the Mission far and wide. Last week, we introduced you to Davanne Piccini, one of the new benefactor liaisons at the St. Francis Mission. This week, we introduce you to Michael O’Sullivan, the second liaison to join us in 2012.
Tell us a bit about yourself – where you are from & where you went to school.
Originally, I’m from a suburb of Chicago. I graduated in 2010 from Marquette University where I majored in Advertising.
What is your background with the Mission?
I got connected to St. Francis Mission by way of Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). When a Jesuit at MU told me that a JVC placement as a radio DJ opened up, I didn’t ask any questions–I sent JVC a message, explained my background (I’ve been deejaying since 2006), and asked to be sent to South Dakota. I went through the interview process and was, very happily, placed with SFM.
What did you do during your time as a Jesuit Volunteer?
While I was on the ground at the Mission, I started out working as an afternoon DJ for KINI. The more I talked with Fr. Hatcher about my ideas, the more things I was able to add to my responsibilities. I stayed for two years because 1) I loved the work I got to do on a daily basis and the people I got to work with and 2) because I wanted to get some of the things I helped start more established for when I did leave. I don’t regret staying for an additional year for one second. I learned a lot about the culture, the Church, and myself.
What made you want to work for the Mission after your time as a Jesuit Volunteer?
At first I wanted to work for the Mission simply because it was through an organization that I had applied to (JVC) and with a position that I knew I would love. It was a double win for me–getting to do the post-grad service/social justice work that I had known for years that I would do, all while doing something I knew that I already loved and was good at. As my first year at the Mission progressed, my reasons for wanting to continue working for the Mission changed. I wanted to affect change, to become a part of a community that has faced many injustices, and to help empower that same community. I came to really believe in what the Mission did and continues to do. And to be perfectly honest, many days I would go back in a heartbeat if given the chance.
Is there a program (or several programs) you feel most connected to?
I want to say that I feel a special connection to all of the programs, especially after working with all of them in some capacity, but when it comes down to it, I feel most connected to the radio station. KINI was my second home on the reservation. I spent more hours there some weeks than I did in my own house. The crew (even the station cat) became family and when I was there, I always felt like I was in an actively creative environment, and I really liked that.
What would you like people to know about the Mission?
I want people to know that St. Francis Mission, although similar to many other Native ministries, is very unique. Its model of encouraging local leadership is not only needed in the community, but effective. Also, the staff is truly wonderful. I wish that more people had the opportunity to visit the Mission at some point and get to spend some time with staff members because I believe that they would not only be impressed, but feel very welcomed.