By: Adriana Viale.
My four year undergrad was spent at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. There was no CCO presence on my campus, but there was a catholic student community that was fairly active. Even though the closest CCO campus was two hours away in Halifax, a few students had managed to get involved by participating in the summer Impact missions throughout the years. The summer after my second year of university I was part of the Impact 2012 mission in Halifax. Going into the mission, I had a very clear understanding of what my faith was all about, but the idea of sharing what I believed with others was a completely foreign concept. Through formation and discipleship that summer, I was equipped with the tools to share my faith, and as I grew more and more in my faith, I found that I couldn’t hold back any longer. The Holy Spirit had set my heart ablaze with the desire to share the Gospel message!
When I went back to campus, I had this burning desire to build our catholic community at St. FX, so along with one of my really great friends, we set out to set the campus ablaze! My last two years at university were spent growing our community, starting a Women’s community house, and helping to raise leaders. I remember thinking a number of times how much I wished I didn’t have school work to worry about so that I could devote all of my time to ministry work on campus. I also thought about how much our campus would benefit from having full-time missionaries working with the students.
In my last year at St.FX while filling out an application form for grad school- since that seemed to be the most logical thing to do- I felt as if something was missing, as if there was something more I should be looking into.
Later that week, while talking to my Dad about the future, he encouraged me to look at all my options rather than only what I thought he and my mom would want me to do. It was at that moment that I truly allowed myself to be open to whatever it was that God was calling me to do. Since I wasn’t on a CCO campus, I wasn’t very familiar with the roles and requirements of campus missionaries, but the idea was very appealing to me. I told God that if becoming a CCO missionary was something I should discern, He should somehow let me know!
Later that week, I found myself at daily mass listening to Matthew 9:37, “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few””. Father then explained the Catholic Church’s missionary identity and that we are called to evangelize in our everyday life. It was as if he was speaking straight to me and I realized that I had nothing to lose by applying to staff.
By opening myself up to God’s call, I felt free to follow my heart. For so long I had desired to give of myself fully to campus ministry work. It was this burning desire that lead me to an organization that not only reflected my zeal for souls, but also allowed me to give back. Even though I had to give up many things: my career, choice of living location, friends and familiar faces, I knew He would provide me with everything and everyone I would need to do the work he was calling me to. Thinking about the unknown no longer intimidated me. I felt more and more confident about my call with every new step of the application process and later on when I was hired and being trained. I learned that even though the plan I had for my future was good, His was better. Even though His plan wouldn’t be easier, I knew it would bring me the outmost joy.