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My first year at UBC brought about a big change in my life. Before university being Catholic was normal. My parents were practicing Catholics, and took me to church every Sunday, we would pray as a family, and were involved in the community. I attended a Catholic school where I learned more about Jesus and had friends who were also practicing their faith. I would hear all the time that Jesus loved me, and He naturally held importance in my life. I experienced His love through my family and friends and never really questioned that love.   After I graduated high school I moved away from home into residence on a big campus where I did not know anyone. I was used to an environment that had Christian morals and guidelines, and my experience of university was not like that. I no longer had anybody to go to church with or talk to about my faith. I continued to go to Mass every Sunday because I had been taught it was important, but I never really met anyone there. Over the next few years I found living out my faith and sticking to the morals I had grown up with difficult. I often felt different and alone because of my faith, and felt like I never really fit in. I stilled tried to do what was right, but my relationship with Jesus was not my top priority. Instead I threw my energy into my classes and focused on getting good grades and tried to find my purpose and worth in what I could accomplish.   Then in my fourth year at UBC, we got a new campus ministry director and I began to be invited to different catholic events. At these events I started to meet other Catholic students and was given opportunities to really look at my faith. I began to wonder why I still went to Mass each week. Did I really believe what I had been taught so long ago? I also began to question other things that were going on in my life. Early in the winter semester of that year, my Grandpa got sick and was put in the hospital. He passed away a few weeks later. During this time my dad lost his job due to the recession. It was also the middle of midterm exams, and so I was under a lot of stress from my classes. I was feeling lost and didn’t know where to turn.   Luckily I was then invited and went to another Catholic outreach event and theme of it turned out to be suffering. There they talk about how Jesus suffered on the cross and died for each one of us. They talked about His mercy and forgiveness and how He is always with you. I realized then that I wasn’t alone in my suffering. I knew Jesus was real and that He really did love me! This made me want to get to know Him better again.   So over the next few weeks, I began to get more involved in other Catholic outreach events at the university. I began to form strong friendships with the other Catholic students I had been meeting and these friendships helped make living out my faith easier. They helped keep me accountable for my actions and challenged me to build my relationship with Jesus through prayer and the sacraments. Through retreats, conferences and faith studies I have been able to grown in my understanding of Catholic teaching. The more I have explored my faith the more I have realized how much God loves me and realized all the ways He had worked in my life. He never left me or stopped loving me, even when I didn’t pay much attention to Him. For the first time I felt like I truly belonged and knew I didn’t have to do anything to gain His love. Christ had already freely given it to me. This was life changing for me and has led me to where I am today working as a full time missionary where I get the opportunity to share the love I have experienced and continue to experience with others.  


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