SPO is proud to share the note of thanks sent in by SPO Alumna, Rachel Schlater. You can help SPO continue to shape the lives of students just like Rachel through pledging yoursupporttoday!Dear Friends,
I am a graduate of the Ohio State University as of June 2010 and I lived my freshman, sophomore and senior year in Bethlehem, the Saint Paul's Outreach women's household on the campus in downtown Columbus. I have my degree in Spanish and now work in communications for the state pro-life organization of Ohio. Perhaps motivated by the nostalgia invoked by the passing of another autumn quarter, I have the desire on my heart to express my gratitude for the impact that Saint Paul's Outreach has left on me and for the good work that God continues to bring about through it.
Through SPO, I learned to pray.During my years in household I learned that prayer is central to life because it was evident in the members of our community. I find that now, even though there is no one knocking lightly on my door at 6A.M. for morning prayer, it is ingrained in me that prayer should be part of every day. When I grow weak from going days without sitting in silence to pray or taking a moment to give glory to God, I know from those years full of household habits that the remedy is to revert back to prayer. Simply prayer. One-on-one time with God. SPO helped me to learn that life should revolve around time spent in prayer.
Through SPO, I learned to have fun.Good, old-fashioned fun. Fun that opens eyes. SPO stands out because it beautifully accomplishes the challenge of blending the discipline of faith with the spontaneity of college life. The Catholic way of living is full of joy in every moment. During college I discovered ultimate-Frisbee pros, coffee connoisseurs, slack-liners, climbers, guitar players, beer-brewers, blooming artists and countless other holy people doing what they love to do. Everything was sanctified because there was no denial that Christ's truth resides in places that we could never know, places that need discovering. Because of the invigorating way that we lived our lives in household, I learned that being a Catholic person doesn't necessarily mean walking the straight-and-narrow; rather, it means picking up a map, and zig-zagging through the discovery of all the exhilarating folds of God's creation. I learned that accepting the discipline of faith is really opening the doorway to glory. While it's difficult to teach that to a college student, I learned it well through (and with) my peers in household.
Through SPO, my knowledge of the Truth deepened. It's an invaluable treasure to know hard facts about Catholicism. After graduating, I got a job in an area outside Catholic ministry where I'm called upon daily to pause and revert back to what I've been taught about the truth of the Church and why I believe it. I refer to the memories that were planted in me at home and in diocesan classrooms, and then solidified and matured at One Gospel talks and Formation Program meetings. I even remember things I learned from conversations with household roommates and friends who also yearned for truth. Though I don't hold a degree in theology, I benefit from those years of being surrounded by people who do. I find that now, when approaching hard life decisions, the ability to know the facts about the truth of Jesus is inexplicably helpful.
These are only a few of the blessings that fill me and form me thanks to my time involved with Saint Paul's Outreach. I hold the memories and formation received during my experience very close to me because they helped me mature from being a Catholic teenager approaching college, to being a Catholic adult approaching the world. I am moved into thanks not only by the plenitude of grace that continues to flow from that time of my life, but also by the good works that continue to germinate from the group of people still within the mission. I know that conversions will continue to happen through SPO. I know that God's word will continue to be made manifest through SPO.
I pray for the efforts of all the Saint Paul's Outreach chapters throughout the nation, knowing in faith that the goodness that SPO helped foster within me will continue to fill up other longing souls.
Rachel M. Schlater