Lost & Found (Spring Appeal Letter)

Young woman in a canoe on a lake

Our recent Spring Appeal letter, written by community member Jessica Smith.

I was afraid.

A kind of electric panic that creates a melee in your mind. I was realizing I was lost, and my mother is nowhere to be found. I was four years old and lost in the grocery store, which in all likelihood was 10 rows wide but seemed like a massive warehouse-like expanse to my tiny self.

I found my mother that day in the grocery store. It was a peaceful resolve, but I never forgot the feeling of what its like to be lost amidst a crowd of people in a place so big.
I recall a similar feeling when I think back to my teen and college years. I spent a year at the Art Institute of Seattle and three years at Seattle Pacific University. The feeling I had then, instead of being a dramatic anxiety, was a persistent hum of personal lethargy.
Despite putting one foot in front of the other in school and life, I was spiritually aimless. I never totally left the Faith or stopped attending Mass, but I wasn’t frequenting confession. I was far from a life of virtue in my relationships. I fell in love, but eventually realized it wasn’t enough.

The summer after my junior year my boyfriend and I broke up. I got an invitation to a unique year-long academic program, which included a conference in England. It was there in Oxford that I had life changing conversations and met friends, one who invited me back to the sacrament of confession.

It was an undeniable moment of grace.

I’m grateful for that grace. It truly changed my life. But I wonder—why did it take three years in college (two in a Christian college) and a trip halfway around the world to restore my soul and regain direction?

Since I’ve been in Waco at St. Peter Catholic Student Center with my husband John, the Center’s Director of Development, I’ve been struck by the incredible gift that the student center is to students and the whole community—its closeness to campus, the availability of the center (open 14 hours most days), the sheer number of prayer and sacramental opportunities, formation opportunities (RCIA, talks, Bible Studies, small groups, Laudate, and so many more), service opportunities, and spiritual direction.

I see students wrestle admirably as they make choices.

I see the 50+ students regularly attending daily Mass, which is such an inspiration! God continues to call more and more of the thousands of Baylor Catholics to deeper lives of holiness, trust, and friendship with Himself and each other, and students are saying “yes” to Him.

Many students feel lost like I did, but I didn’t have the same opportunities that our Baylor Catholics have— especially so close to campus!

John and I pray for students often and constantly give thanks for Fr. Daniel as he gives a powerful witness for students. He’s a big part of why the student center is flourishing.

Your support—your prayers, encouragement, and financial gifts—provide a compass for students learning, discerning, and setting the course for their lives.

We’re grateful for our benefactors and ask for your continued support to fulfill the mission. Please consider a $1,000, $500, or $250 gift to help us reach more souls seeking Jesus and walking with Mary in a challenging world.

Make a Gift Here

PS—We’re praying for you! If you have any particular prayer intentions, feel free to email them to johnsmith[at]baylorcatholic[dot]org.

(Photo: Jordan Bauer via Unsplash)

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