Each morning, I have the same routine before classes. I make some tea, take a shower and change, get my softball bag ready for the afternoon, and head off to class. Sometimes, I have my nose in a book trying to finish up the assigned reading before class, but usually I walk out of the residence hall with my head up, admiring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. On the way to class, I read the same banners every day. These banners hang off of the lampposts and each read “Faith”, “Reason”, “Service”, and “Community”.
They remain there as a simple reminder that these are our school’s core themes.
In preparation for the year 2020 (the year that the school will celebrate its 125th anniversary as an institution), President Roy Heynderickx has announced that each year leading up to the event, the school will revisit each of the core themes. President Heynderickx has officially deemed this year to be the “Year of Faith“.
Well, what does that mean to me? Everything.
Before coming to Saint Martin’s University my knowledge of the word faith was very narrow, but the more time I spend here on campus, the more my own definition expands. It is incredible to realize how much personal growth that a person can experience in college.
As a part of the Benedictine Scholars Program, it is my job to serve as an ambassador for the Benedictine traditions and values that the school was founded upon. For the past few months, the scholars have researched and have redefined what each value means to them. It is very interesting to hear all of the different inputs from other scholars who come from different religions and backgrounds, and these discussions have really opened my eyes. By
working together and discussing all of our ideas, we are able to find ways to preserve these values that are so near and dear to the university. Overall, faith is having trust in something bigger than ourselves, whether it is in people, politics, social, or in a higher being. People of all faiths have gathered at our University not just for their religion, but for the culture that is cultivated at Saint Martin’s University. As a young Catholic adult attending a Benedictine Catholic university, my faith in my religion has been carried to a new level since I first arrived in Lacey. With having an Abbey Church on campus, it has become easy for me to access the faith-guided resources that I need on campus. We often become so lost in what material possessions that we have or the drama that fills our lives, that we forget about our purpose in life, which is to be the best people that we can be. Being able to participate in programs for interfaith dialogue, and becoming educated on the faiths has really expanded my views on the world that surrounds me. I have always been interested in learning about what others believe in, and being able to have the resources to meet and welcome others of different religious faiths is what helps make Saint Martin’s University unique! Along with this, being able have personal conversations about life or the symbolic meaning of a piece of art with Father Kilian is incredible! There aren’t many college universities that give you the opportunity to know monks on a personal level! Faith has guided my life. My faith brought me to this institution, and has given me opportunities to succeed.
In the residence halls, faith is present. Some of my friends in the halls are Catholic, just like me! On Mondays, we go to Uprising to have a bible study, and to sing praise and
worship, and on Sundays, we walk to the church to celebrate mass together. Campus ministry also gives students the opportunity to participate in the mass by being greeters, altar servers, eucharistic ministers, and even lectors. Everyone of all faiths is welcomed on campus. We desire to learn more about each other because it brings us all close together. On campus, faith unites the community, and promotes goodness and positivity through the halls.
Students on campus also have the opportunity to participate in service immersion trips as a way to strengthen faith in God, while also giving back to the community. These service immersion trips are available to all students, and promotes the Benedictine Values of “respect for persons” and “hospitality”.
To me, faith is knowing that no matter what happens in life, my God is in control. One of my teammates and my Norcia mentor, Lindsay, once told me, “Don’t doubt yourself,
because God created you just the way you are, and He is the one in control. When you doubt yourself, you are doubting
God”. Having a faith, whether it is in a religion, people, or something else is important because it guides you. It isn’t a tangible thing, but rather, it is more of a feeling. Faith is a response to God’s love. Overall, faith isn’t what you believe in, but rather, it is how you use it.
I’m glad that I every morning, I start my day off being reaffirmed that faith is an important factor of my life in all aspects. I have faith in my classmates, that we will help each other to be the best students that we can be; I have faith in my softball teammates, that they will have my back out on the field; I have faith that my God is guiding me through all aspects of my life; and I have faith that Saint Martin’s University will bring out the best in me.