Our Lady of the Road (OLR) is a laundromat café in downtown South Bend that is run by the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker and open to the community. People are invited to come in and have breakfast and coffee, get their laundry done, take a shower and get clothes.
I had the opportunity to spend the summer after my sophomore year living in that community and working at OLR. Part of the charisma of the Catholic Worker movement is a return to the land and a more intentional caring for God’s creation, so sustainability is a focus of the ministry. Unfortunately, the main source of Indiana’s electricity is coal and Our Lady of the Road requires a large amount of energy to operate.
For my project, I plan on working with my advisor to design a solar array, and working with William Jordan’s Let’s Share the Sun Foundation to have the solar array implemented on the roof. To be able to have the array installed, I plan on talking to different companies, explaining the mission of OLR and asking for donations of solar panels. I will also reach out to Notre Dame alumni who may be interested in supporting this project. By having the solar array installed, OLR will be able to get electricity from sources that align with its values.