It has been far too long since I've posted on here! I'm finding myself much busier this year as a returning Mission Leader, but I am loving being back on-campus at the U of M. August and September have come and gone, and now the temperature is beginning to drop and the leaves are changing. Fall is upon us, so I wanted to take a look back on warmer days and all that happened at the beginning of the year...
Fall Leadership Day
Catholic Students United Leadership Day occurs at St. Lawrence at the start of every semester, and this year it was once again a success! It was the first time that all of the student leaders had been together since school let out for the summer, so it was great to see everyone again. We are very blessed to have such dedicated, committed students working with us to bring their peers closer to Christ. Our day was featured in The Catholic Spirit, the news publication of the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis. You can read more about it here!
Household life has been an absolute joy this semester! Going into this year I was a little nervous about leading a Household, but the Lord has continually equipped me with grace and has blessed our life together. This picture is from our women's Household retreat in New Auburn, Wisconsin. It was a great two and a half days of building sisterhood, praying together, and generally just goofing off. These women are really such a gift. I could brag about them all day. They're just the best!
It's hard to believe that such a crucial part of the year is now just a month-old memory! This year's Catholic Rush Week was filled with fun activities like tailgating, a Labor Day barbecue, handing out ice pops on-campus, and the grand finale: a USA-themed house party, featuring a mechanical bull in the driveway! We met a ton of students in those first couple of weeks and have been working to build relationships with them ever since. Please enjoy this picture of my awesome team from the house party. When we first saw this picture we couldn't stop talking about how good-looking we are. #humbleandblessed
Women's Nights Begin
We had our first Women's Night of the year last weekend! It was a luau theme complete with a tiki bar full of fun tropical drinks, Hawaiian leis for all, and a limbo contest that made me realize how little I have stretched in the past few years. We also had mini terra-cotta pots for women to paint, complete with a free succulent to take home! The night was a lot of fun, and our core women really stepped up to welcome the newer students into our environment. As women, we are often taught to be distrustful and competitive towards other women instead of viewing them as sisters who can be on our side. Our Women's Nights provide a refreshing alternative to this negative mindset, and that's what I love so much about them!
First (and Second) Day of School!
There's not much story here; I just think these pictures are hilarious. An SPO Mission Leader trend that has emerged in the past couple of years is taking 'first day of school' pictures of your household. Obviously, because I'm me, I made our house participate in this newfound tradition. Eventually, most of their moms asked to be sent the pictures! The next day, our house decided it would be fun to take a second day of school picture to capture the reality of collegiate living. I laugh every time I see these pictures!
Patroness for the Year
How could I not bring up St. Teresa of Calcutta?! Her canonization was such a happy day. We bought flowers in my house to celebrate! I firmly believe that she's been interceding for nearly every part of this year; not just in my own life, but in the lives of the students. She was picked as the patron Saint of Catholic Students United this year, and we often ask for her intercession at the end of Gopher Catholic Night. Her prayers are blessing everything that we've got going on this year.
At the start of this year, in honor of her canonization, I started re-reading "Come Be My Light," which is a collection of letters from Mother Teresa in correspondence with her spiritual director. It chronicles her later life, from the moment she first heard the 'call within a call' to the start the Missionaries of Charity, to the deep spiritual desolation that she felt for most of her apostolate. The author who compiled the letters speaks of her commitment to being "'an apostle of joy,' even when, humanly speaking, she might have felt at the brink of despair." I see this call in my own life and in the lives of the students I am walking with.
Life is crazy. There's always something to do, there's always another appointment on the calendar, and there's always someone who needs to be served. However, in spite of all of all the business, we have a call to joy that is greater than our earthly circumstances - a joy that lasts, because it's rooted in the Source of all joy. If St. Teresa can serve the people of Calcutta with so much joy and happiness, even though internally she faced a deep spiritual darkness, I can gladly do whatever the Lord may ask of me in a given day - no matter what I'm feeling.
We've got a lot of exciting things coming up in the next couple of weeks: the Catholic Students United Fall Retreat is coming up, and after that, our staff is taking a few days to be on retreat as well. Please pray for both of these occasions: for the students who will be on the fall retreat, the leadership team, and the small group leaders; and for our team as well, that we get some much-needed rest and quality time together. May God bless you abundantly until next time!
To Jesus Through Mary,
My name is Rebecca. This blog is a documentation of my life as a missionary with Saint Paul's Outreach - in Minnesota, Florida, and everywhere in-between. Thanks for stopping by!