Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Finding My Faith at SMC

Hello blog!

Today I want to blog about something I've been thinking about for awhile: my faith journey at St. Mike's.

Growing up, I went to Catholic schools. My family isn't very religious, but I received the sacraments and was Confirmed. Religion was always there, but I did not have to seek it out. I had periods of really liking the religious presence in my schools, and periods of really disliking it. My faith relationship before college was really all over the board.

When I came to college, I wasn't sure exactly what role my faith was going to play in my life. Would I ever go to church? Would I be actively involved in the faith community? Would I ever go to mass?It was really up to me.

On my tours, I get asked a lot, "how religious is St. Mike's really?"

Well, the answer truly is that you get to determine how active faith is in your life. College in general is all about becoming an adult and learning to make your own decisions and your faith is not excluded from this.

When it came to my personal decision, I decided I would see what VITA, the campus ministry group, was all about. VITA had a social the first week of my First Year and I decided to attend it. It was held in the Upper Room of the Chapel, and we had snacks and learned exactly what VITA did. It was a community unlike any I had experienced before: VITA can be described as a "faith in action" group.

Me (right) at the very first VITA social I attended!

I was so warmly welcomed that I knew I had to come back. Most of VITA's programming is on Wednesday night with LINK and Dessert and the Divine. LINK meets most Wednesdays and is a large faith sharing group. On any given week, about 10-20 people gather to talk about their week and reconnect with God. Dessert and the Divine meets once a month to share some delicious desserts and come together as a group to have a discussion. Connections, which meets on Thursday evenings, is a small, scripture based, faith sharing group. VITA also puts on socials throughout the year like Pumpkin Carving and a Girls' Night!

VITA Girls' Night family style dinner!

All dressed up for Halloween at LINK!

I quickly made great friends in the VITA community and found myself in the Upper Room most Wednesdays during my First Year. VITA is perfect for me for a few reasons. It is student led, which I particularly like. Though my faith is stronger than it has ever been, it is nice to be surrounded by people who are on their own faith journeys. VITA is made up of my peers. They are some of the kindest, most welcoming people I have ever met and I am so happy to be friends with so many of them. It's a diverse group of people: we have people in all parts of their faith journey in all years. We even have some people who don't identify as Catholic or Christian who join us for the conversation and it's always a great time.  I see God so easily in the friends I have made here.

This year, I was given the opportunity to be on the leadership Team for VITA. I lead Dessert and the Divine (along with the super awesome Kate!) once a month. I feel so blessed to be able to help lead the group and create the awesome environment in which my faith blossomed. I was super nervous before leading my first meeting but everything worked out and I'm really excited to lead one again next week. I find myself really blessed this year to have such a phenomenal team to work with.

VITA Team 2013-2014
(L-R) Tim, Maura, Colleen, Emily, Kate
Kelly, Lauren, Alex, Katie

I hope this (somewhat long-winded) blog post sheds some light on what your faith life can look like at Saint Michael's College. I would love to chat with you if you have any questions about it, so feel free to contact me!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Fall

Fall has finally arrived at St. Mike's.

The air is crisp. Alliot has had pumpkin cookies. The leaves are getting crunchy and ripe for stepping on-- one of my personal favorite fall activities on campus.

Yesterday, I took my first trip to the nature trail, located behind the 300s Townhouses. It's a beautiful trail, and well removed from campus. I went into the woods for the purpose of taking pictures with a group, but left feeling very refreshed and in awe of the beauty of my campus.

I am so very lucky to get to spend fall somewhere so beautiful.