“Entering college, I was looking for a lot of answers. I knew how I wanted college to look in my head, but when I got here, it didn’t fit what I had hoped for. My friendships weren’t meaningful and they didn’t seem to be heading that direction. I started to feel hopeless when it came to finding some sort of community. For the first time, my parents weren’t there to make me go to church, and even though I went most weeks, I felt like I was faking my faith.
During my first month, I was asked by a friend to go to something called “Gopher Catholic Night,” a weekly outreach event with speakers and worship that Saint Paul’s Outreach helps to run. I was unsure, but decided to go.
I remember that night really clearly. I was a stranger walking into a brand new situation, and the missionaries and students of Saint Paul’s Outreach embraced me like no one had yet at college. They wanted to get to know me. They asked meaningful questions. They were joyful and fun and all knew each other, and I wanted to be a part of whatever they had. Now, looking back, I recognize Christ was working through them.
At the end of the night, a missionary named Meg invited me to join her small group. I didn’t know her at all, but I accepted, thank God. Each week, Meg, myself, and a few other freshman girls – who are now my best friends – met for an hour and talked. Through Meg’s unconditional love and service, I started to see what a life with Christ would look like.
In October, I was invited on my first retreat. After a weekend of praise and worship, speakers, and a small group led by another SPO missionary, I was starting to take a deeper look at my life and faith. I had always wanted a relationship with God, but I had never known how and I didn’t have the support of a community. But things were starting to change. Returning to campus after the retreat, I found that the Mass had come alive! It had totally changed. I walked in and knew half the room, and I felt so loved by the Father and by this community.
I began to attend more Saint Paul’s Outreach events, growing closer to God and also to these wonderful, holy men and women. I met them at women’s nights, where we drank tea and worshipped, and at service projects, and this past October I helped plan the Fall Retreat that started my journey. I made the huge decision to live in an SPO women’s household, and although I was nervous, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
These decisions have shaped my college career, who I am today, and who I will be in the future. I’ve found that my purpose is to truly know Jesus, and to shine His light to the world and spend forever in Heaven with Him. The Lord has used Saint Paul’s Outreach to change my heart, and I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Danielle, SPO Student and Recent University of Minnesota Alumna