Hello, friends! My name is Grace and I’m a sophomore Journalism New Media student with a minor in Creative Writing at Baylor University. I’m a “cradle Catholic,” which means I was raised in the Catholic faith from birth by my parents. I grew up loving my faith and learning about it – because I was homeschooled, my mother made learning interesting, so my faith never seemed boring. Coming to Baylor, while a challenging experience, has shown me how universal and welcoming the Catholic faith is.
During high school, I felt convicted that I was supposed to go to a Catholic college. Despite visiting many colleges, I couldn’t tell which one was the right one. When I finally felt confident that God was calling me to my small, local college to which I received a full scholarship, I announced it at my graduation with great peace. I felt sure that God was calling me to start from small, humble beginnings to show that you could also be successful in that environment. When my best friend came back from orientation at Baylor during the summer, though, I suddenly realized I wasn’t truly happy about my choice.
After many more tears and sleepless nights, I finally trusted God and chose Baylor. Although it was terrifying, my decision only strengthened my faith in Him and His grace – I am only here through His doing. Even after the fall freshman class was full and I no longer had a scholarship offer, God opened doors and allowed me to be re-offered my scholarship and be accepted a second time into Baylor. He did all this literally two weeks before classes started.
During my freshman year, I found a warm, loving family here at St. Peter’s. At the first Mass of the school year, I knew instantly that I was “ home.” Though I was in a different town, state, and setting than my real home, one thing remained constant and steady: my faith. It was and is so wonderful to go to Mass, hear the familiar words, and participate in the prayers that have formed my life since childhood. After Mass on the first Sunday of the semester, several older students at St. Peter’s invited me to lunch with them despite meeting me only minutes beforehand. I was overwhelmed with their kindness and fellowship that day and the weeks following.
During my freshman year, my faith was once again tested. I learned that it was highly unlikely that I would be able to return to Baylor for the second semester. This was something very painful and difficult to grasp. At first I wondered why God would bring me here, expand my horizons, and place certain people at Baylor in my life if He was only going to take it away from me. It broke my heart to imagine not returning to Baylor. However, God showed his goodness once again, and I was able to return. I struggled immensely with spiritual dryness that semester, though, and I felt like a failure – both in school and in my relationship with God. However, I was able to go on the Bear Awakening retreat, which was such an amazing weekend. I felt renewed in my faith and in my trust in God. A fire had been lit and I was determined to keep it burning!
Being surrounded by the young men and women at St. Peter’s who are deeply devoted and on fire for their faith has had such a positive impact on my life. Through them, I realized that it is possible to “be in this world, yet not of it,” and how I can witness to others simply by being a student.
Being firmly rooted in the wonderful, strong faith community of St. Peter’s has helped me through some difficult situations, and helped me realize how much I love my faith. It truly is my greatest treasure. While it can be discouraging to encounter opposing viewpoints about Catholicism, both in the classroom and on campus, I am grateful for these opportunities to share my faith and speak up. This, I feel – like other Catholic students at St. Peter’s- is one of the reasons why God called me here. The Catholic faith is alive and strong at Baylor University!