Immersion Trips


“Students must let the gritty reality of the world into their lives to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering, and engage in it constructively.”

– Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, The former Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Immersion Trips

University Ministry immersion trips provide experiences of direct service rooted in relationship, engaging in the Works of Mercy.  They offer students the opportunity to work in the service of the common good, encounter new realities, and reflect on their experiences in the context of a diverse community.  By focusing on the Works of Mercy, students become the leaders that Detroit and our world need: persons for others.

What are Immersions?

Immersions are key experiences of a transformative Jesuit and Mercy education rooted in social justice.  These experiences include manual labor, cultural learning, relationship building, and daily prayer and reflection.  The Works of Mercy are actions of service rooted in relationship.  They offer a life-long path for our students to become persons for others, and we believe that performing them changes the world. 

The Physical Works of Mercy

  • Feed the hungry.
  • Give drink to the thirsty.
  • Clothe the naked.
  • Shelter the homeless.
  • Visit the sick.
  • Visit the imprisoned.
  • Bury the dead.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy

  • Give courage to those in darkness.
  • Counsel those who hurt themselves and others.
  • Share knowledge with the inexperienced.
  • Comfort the sorrowing.
  • Deal patiently with the dealers of injustice.
  • Forgive those who hurt you.
  • Pray for everyone, living and dead.

Spring Immersions

March of 2014, during spring break, students traveled to five locations throughout the United States to engage in direct service. Students built community, reflected and shared work with communities affected by injustice. They immersed themselves in an issue of social justice. 

  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Detroit, MI
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Salem, WV

 Summer Immersions

Right after finals in 2014, students will traveled to an international location and a mystery location within the United States to engage in direct service. Students immersed themselves in a new culture or cultivated their sense of openness and trust. They built community, reflected and shared work.

  • El Salvador, Central America : Jesuit Fr. Dean Brackley said of El Salvador, "First, it will break your heart, then you fall in love, then you're ruined for life." The history of El Salvador is a painful memory still lived very much in the present. The people of El Salvador still struggle to heal emotionally from a devastating civil war in the 1980s and continue to struggle in the midst of globalization. The story of the people of El Salvador is full of resilience and joy despite their despair and tragedy.
  • Mystery Trip : Without knowing where they were going or in what type of service they wouldl engage, students cultivated their openness and trust, committing to service and accompaniment wherever it led. We asked that you come as you are, with a heart prepared to enter an unfamiliar place. No details were given until the week before the trip.

Winter Immersion

  • New Orleans, LA : The winter of 2014, UDM students traveled to New Orleans, LA for disaster relief. During this trip students accompanied those who have been affected by natural disasters. In August 2005 and again seven years later, New Orleans and southern Louisiana were ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Isaac.New Orleans and the surrounding area, particularly Plaque mines Parish to the southeast, experienced harsh weather, flooding and high wind damage severely impacting the community.

fb iconFor pictures from past immersion trips, please visit our University Ministry Facebook page.