Earlier this month we shared writing by the students in Sister Mary Therese’s freshmen religion class as they reflected on their summer reading of Father Greg Boyle’s book “Tattoos on the Heart.” We continue today with two additional students contemplating what they learned from reading about Father Greg’s life and work at Homeboy Industries, the gang intervention program based in Los Angeles.
By Marta Maynes
Starting something new is always hard, but entering into the unknown realm of a new school year can be even harder. Before I started my journey at FSHA, I was excited, scared, and anxious. After reading “Tattoos on the Heart,” I realized I wasn’t alone when I felt these feelings.
A major theme in “Tattoos on the Heart” is change. With the help of Father G, homies decide that they want to change and become better people. The process of change is hard. Homies feel nervous, afraid, thrilled and ready to start a new chapter in their lives. This is exactly how I felt starting high school. It was a mix of emotions, and didn’t know which one to feel. Reading Father G’s book let me connect and understand with what the homies were feeling.
Another thing I have taken away from “Tattoos on the Heart” is the virtue of compassion. Father G introduced me to a whole new view of compassion. G opens his arms to everyone, and no one is turned down or looked down upon by him. In the book, G meets Lula, a boy who is very shy and has never known what love was like. By showering him with love and compassion, Father G transforms him into a confident, outgoing young man. G risks his own life several times to save homies. He has an infinite amount of love to spread, and makes it his mission to do so. Father G is truly a role model to me because of his boundless compassion and love to all he meets. I hope to carry G’s methods of compassion as I begin my journey at FSHA.
I learned the value of compassion and how it can transform one’s world, and I learned how much faith means to others and how much it really means to me.
While reading “Tattoos on the Heart,” I really connected more with my faith. When I saw how much faith impacted the homies’ lives, I was in awe. Faith showed the homies that there is something to live for. Faith got them out of their darkest and hardest times in their lives and opened their eyes to the world they weren’t seeing. Before this book, I saw faith as something that is just present in my life. I didn’t depend on it to survive, but reading how others used it to live was an eye-opening experience. I never thought something could be so important until I saw how much the homies valued faith. In high school, I hope to expand my faith and understand it in greater depth.
Through the many lessons I learned from “Tattoos on the Heart,” I learned that I am not alone whether I feel happy, sad, angry, or excited. I learned the value of compassion and how it can transform one’s world, and I learned how much faith means to others and how much it really means to me.
By Briana Escobar
“Tattoos on the Heart” was the last book I read this summer, which was a great way to end the season. I was excited when I started the school year because I enjoyed reading the book. I’ve realized that FSHA has a really open-minded outlook on things. The mere fact that “Tattoos on the Heart” was required reading shows that the school wants us to look at life with open eyes and an open heart. FSHA has created a safe and comfortable environment for girls to grow and speak their minds. We have a lot of class discussions, especially in religion. After reading “Tattoos on the Heart,” all of us had been greatly moved and talked about how we didn’t want to judge people as harshly anymore and wanted to help those who needed it. Watching “G-Dog” made the work of Homeboy Industries that much more real. We got to actually see the homies struggle and see Father Greg interact with the homies and we saw their connection.
This first month at FSHA has showed all of us how nurturing the school is.
Our “Tattoos” project was really sensitive and raw. We had to write about something that had affected our lives, which was often very emotional and personal. All of the girls were very sensitive and kind about the others’ projects. I have really enjoyed my time at FSHA so far. This first month has showed all of us how nurturing the school is. Most Catholic schools aren’t as open minded and supportive. I feel comfortable sharing my opinions and I know that I won’t get made fun of for my views on a topic. Even this assignment shows how much the teachers care about us. They care how we’re doing and what we think; they’re always trying to improve and make sure every girl is comfortable and having a good school experience. We get both a great education and a great environment for learning, and I really like that. I’m excited about spending four wonderful years at FSHA.