“God used the GIVEN Forum to teach me how valued I am in the Church and how to be receptive to His plan and gifts. By discovering my individual gifts and talents in a supportive and welcoming environment I was able to let go of self doubt and recognize how valued and needed I am in the Church.”
Please share a little about yourself – feel free to include a fun fact!
Hi! I’m an educator and Pittsburgher with a passion for all things JPII and Pittsburgh’s favorite dish, pierogies! I teach high school religion while studying for my Master’s Degree in Theology. When I’m not pouring over curricula or next semester’s syllabus I’m either playing soccer, traveling, or spending time with my family and friends. I’m passionate about the Appalachian region, Divorce Ministry, and interreligious dialogue.
Describe your professional work. How were you led to this? What are you passionate about?
Currently, I work as a high school theology teacher and campus minister. I am blessed to be able to teach at my alma mater, where my students get to hear me say “when I went here!” at least once a week. I cherish the moments spent in prayer and accompaniment with my students and deeply value the authentic joy they bring into my life.
“I cherish the moments spent in prayer and accompaniment with my students”
What are the personal strengths that you’ve been given and how do you utilize them?
God has blessed me with a strong worth ethic, a compassionate heart, and an ability to bring people together. I utilize these strengths daily in my classroom, but God has also used them to help form my Action Plan, Peace of Home. Peace of Home is a Lectio Divina specifically for teens suffering from their parents’ divorce. It was born out of my own personal struggle with my parents divorce in my late teens and the lack of resources provided by the church. God has used not only my strengths, but my woundedness, to reach out to teens suffering today.
What women inspire you, and why?
I have a group of holy women who inspire me, including St.Clare of Assisi, St. Martha of Bethany and St. Mary Magdalene. However, I’m most inspired by my Auntie Joan, who spent her life serving Christ and his church with a deep faith and true authenticity. From an early age Auntie Joan taught me the importance of allowing my faith to permeate every aspect of my life, providing a model for me to follow for years to come.
Are there friends and mentors that you depend upon? How do they support you?
Of course! My friends and mentors support me daily through encouraging texts and phone calls, as well as weekly ice cream runs!
What is the best advice/encouragement you’ve received about vocational discernment?
On a retreat a priest once told us to let go of the need to have everything figured out because that’s not how the Spiritual Life works; it has twists and turns. For someone who is a major planner, this is definitely a challenge! But, I’ve found myself coming back to this wisdom often in order to better recognize God in the twists and turns.
“Let go of the need to have everything figured out because that’s not how the Spiritual Life works; it has twists and turns.”
Prayer is essential for everyone, but especially for women who are active in the life and mission of the Church. Do you have any favorite devotions or prayers?
I am particularly devoted to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Czestachowa. In addition, I am devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
“Remember that you are never alone, Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives. – John Paul II “
What were your key takeaways from the 2019 GIVEN Forum?
God used the GIVEN Forum to teach me how valued I am in the Church and how to be receptive to His plan and gifts. By discovering my individual gifts and talents in a supportive and welcoming environment I was able to let go of self doubt and recognize how valued and needed I am in the Church. One of the most memorable takeaways from GIVEN was a simple clenched fist release exercise that symbolizes letting go of what I am holding on to in order to be open to receive what God is giving me. I still use that exercise today!
What was your GIVEN action plan? Describe its mission, audience, and impact.
My Action Plan is Peace of Home a Lectio Divina for teens suffering from their parents’ divorce. Through a closer look at the Holy Family, teens can discover community and firmly root themselves in the Gospel during this traumatic time in their lives. Through self reflection and journal prompts, teens are encouraged to express their feelings, build a relationship with Christ, and form community within their parish/school.