by Kim Kircher, B.A. in English ’12
When I first walked into St. Peter’s at the start of my freshman year, I had no idea of the tremendous impact it would make on my life. During these past few weeks as graduation day drew near, I realized that while I love Baylor and am going to miss it terribly, saying goodbye to St. Peter’s is what I dreaded most.
I had no idea that a place that wasn’t home could feel exactly like home, but St. Peter’s became just that for me during these past four years. If it wasn’t for St. Peter’s, I probably would not still be at Baylor. During the first semester of my freshman year, I enjoyed Baylor and made good friends, but I did not feel completely happy here. At the start of my second semester, I looked into transferring to another university; during that time, I started to go to St. Peter’s more because it was the only place I felt a sense of peace. Looking forward to daily Mass and the chance I would have to spend time at church is what got me through those days.
Out of a desire to nurture this spiritual growth I was feeling and to become more involved at the center, I signed up for its spring retreat, Bear Awakening 7. That’s when I was completely drawn into St. Peter’s; that retreat had an indescribable impact on me. It fueled my fire for God and planted the seeds of friendships that have flourished during these past few years. Although I have made wonderful friends of varying faiths here at Baylor, the bond I share with my friends at St. Peter’s is closer; it’s a family. There is something so special about sharing one’s faith with one’s friends and believing the same things. The chance to form friendships through attending Mass, serving in ministries, and staffing retreats together is an incredible gift, and I am so thankful that St. Peter’s is here to provide this opportunity for students.
My days left in Waco are numbered, and I’d be lying if I said my eyes didn’t fill with tears at the thought of leaving St. Peter’s. There is something so special and rare about this place that is difficult to put into words. At the beginning of April after the weekend of Bear Awakening 10, for which I was blessed to serve on the leadership team, the reality that I would soon be saying goodbye to this place and these amazing people hit me hard. I cried for several days. What would I do without this place? The spiritual guidance I have received from Father Anthony and the love and support from everyone in the community has helped to shape me into the person I am today. It is here that I truly realized the beauty of the Catholic Church and how strangers can become family through their shared faith in Christ. I had grown and learned so much at St. Peter’s that I couldn’t bear the thought of not coming here.
However, I’ve realized that I’ll only be saying goodbye to St. Peter’s in a physical sense, and this realization is a huge comfort. The relationships that I have made, and the fire for God that St. Peter’s has fueled, will not vanish because I will not be attending this church anymore. They have formed me into who I am and prepared me for what God has planned for the next stage of my life. I have the tremendous blessing of starting law school at St. Louis University in the fall. I know that God has called me there for a purpose, and I will take the spirit that fills St. Peter’s with me. No matter how far away I’ll be, St. Peter’s and everyone here will always be in my heart and prayers.