I was born and raised in a loving and faithful Catholic family as the oldest of three sisters in Niagara, Ontario. Growing up, my parents exposed my sisters and me to many opportunities to participate in our faith including twelve years of Catholic Education, active involvement in Parish life and bringing many Catholic young adults into our lives who witnessed the faith to us in profoundly impactful ways. Despite knowing of God’s love and being well-versed in my faith, I can now see that I really considered my faith as simply a “rulebook” to live my life and thus I never viewed God as someone who I could know personally.
The summer before I entered University, I was at an all-time low in my faith. At this time, I deeply struggled with the idea of perfectionism. I felt I needed to be the student with the highest grades, the athlete involved in the most sports and the individual most well-liked by my classmates and that only then would I be accepted and worthy. In this place of believing that I had fallen short in all these worldly expectations, I was left feeling extreme inadequacy about my identity and at this point, placed God the farthest out of my life that He has ever been.
In my first year at Brock University, I ignored any real opportunities to be involved with the Catholic Chaplaincy on my campus, using my academics, family obligations and my commitments as a Varsity Lacrosse player as excuses to not attend Chaplaincy events. Going into my second year of University, after a profound encounter with Christ at a Steubenville Youth Conference, I attended a beginning of term Chaplaincy event where I was asked to take a CCO faith study called Discovery. Knowing at this point that my heart was yearning to find real purpose, I agreed and signed up. Throughout the study, my understanding of the faith which I had lived my whole life by was given radical new meaning. In a one-on-one conversation with my faith study leader at the end of the study, I was invited, for the first time in my life, into a personal relationship with Jesus. I was so taken aback and told my leader that I couldn’t possibly have Christ at the centre of my life because I wasn’t perfect enough for Him. I actually said those exact words, out loud. As my leader lovingly reminded me of the lessons we had learned in the study, I realized that my heart desired to have an identity that was not defined by any expectations I met or failed to meet. My heart desired to be loved not for what I did, but for who I was, which I finally realized was simply a daughter of God. In that moment, I made the concrete decision to invite Jesus to be at the centre of my life, and I distinctly remember walking out of that conversation and taking a deep breath as if breathing truly for the very first time.
This decision led me to not only continue taking CCO faith studies on my campus, but I also had the opportunity to participate in a mission trip with CCO to Scotland in the spring of 2019. Coming back from mission and having been saturated in CCO materials and culture for three and a half weeks, my heart was set on fire with the desire to tell others about Jesus. I knew then that nothing would ever be as fulfilling and life-giving as being “on mission”.
Over the next two years I had the blessing of becoming the CCO Connect leader on my campus receiving coaching from CCO missionaries and leading faith studies for our Catholic community. During this time, I fell more and more in love with the Lord but also with CCO’s particular mission of evangelization on University campuses. Attending a recruitment event hosted by CCO in December of my fourth year of University, the Lord powerfully took what I recognized as a call to CCO’s mission to the next level, calling me, through the testimonies of other missionaries, to seriously discern applying to Staff.
By God’s Divine Providence and great mercy, I applied and was accepted to Staff, and I could not be more excited and humbled to be serving as a CCO missionary at the University of Winnipeg this year. The powerful declaration of St. John Paul II that “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure” was spoken to me very early in my journey of faith, and I could never have imagined this adventure would take me in all the unexpected and wonderful directions it has! I am eternally grateful to those who have accompanied me on this journey, and I could not be more excited to embark on this new adventure!
ONGOING PRAYER REQUESTS
Please pray for the students at the University of Winnipeg who we will encounter in our time at the University. Pray that they will encounter the Lord’s personal love and mercy for them and respond with an abandoned “yes” to the call to take part in the renewal of the world!