I’m new here. I’m sure my co-workers are tired of hearing me say it, but it is true. After spending 11 years representing the oil & gas industry and now serving as the Director of External Affairs for Catholic Services of Acadiana, I may as well have gone from drilling rigs straight into aerospace engineering. This transition has been beautiful and exactly what I believe God had in mind, but let’s just say that asking questions has become my thing, and at 37, it is both a journey in learning and humility.
It’s safe to admit that there is much about poverty, hunger and homelessness that I didn’t know before working at CSA and have not experienced personally. I had always heard about folks who had no place to rest their head, however seeing it up close in your hometown is different. Witnessing it changes you.
Driving up to the office and seeing those who are suffering, those who have literally spent the night on the hard concrete, all of this has made a lasting impact. For instance, the sound of rain on my roof typically stirs up feelings of peace and comfort, especially when it is cold outside, and living in South Louisiana, it rains a good bit. Now the sound of the rain brings to mind the people who are sleeping outside in those conditions, a concern for their physical safety leaves me pondering social injustice and our response to the basic human needs in our community.
What has been most powerful throughout this journey is personally interacting and getting to know some of the people that we serve. Names. Faces. People with hopes, dreams, families and stories of their own. Some of them openly recount past chapters of their own experience of homelessness and are now giving generously of their time to serve those who are currently suffering. Inspiring does not accurately capture the weight of these situations, because it fails to denote the humility and courage involved, both are virtues that I aspire to embody as a husband and father to three boys. Each one of us has inherent value, worth and dignity as scripture recounts - we are what God was and is most excited about. They are included in this,
as are you and I.
I joyfully contemplate this wild tapestry that God is weaving for all of us, and from this new point of view, it is both educational and deeply engaging. Though my role here is mainly external and developmental in nature, there is no doubt that in following the call of my heart, I am learning about how to live life fully from those I serve.
Ben Broussard serves as the Director of External Affairs for Catholic Services of Acadiana. Ben endeavors to educate the public, government, media and stakeholders on the importance of CSA’s work on behalf of those experiencing homelessness, hunger,
poverty and disaster in Acadiana. He is also responsible for fund development, ensuring that CSA has the resources to continue providing services to the most vulnerable. Ben leads the Catholic Charities Disaster Response in the Diocese of Lafayette in preparing for and responding to disaster. Ben is married to Simonne Guerin Broussard, and together they are raising three boys: Noah, Joel and Andrew.
Reach out to Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org