The following is an excerpt from one of our new Fall 2016 titles, Portraits of Faith: Young Adult Catholics Share Their Stories. This book contains a collection of 15 essays by young Catholics from across Canada, and offers a series of portraits from this vibrant demographic. On November 15th, we will be hosting a book launch with the Sisters of St. Joseph, where you will have a chance to meet some of the young adult authors.
By Elisabeth Duggan
At every moment of every day, God is present. As I reflect on my life, I see that God and I have been on an incredible journey: God is the constant, guiding and accompanying me as my path unfolds. They journey is never easy; sometimes the road is rough. Yet at every stage he has helped to make me the person I am today.
All that I am is a reflection of God’s handiwork. From an early age, I was made aware of my faith through my parents. My parents nourished in me the seed of faith planted at Baptism, and they tended it for many years. All of my childhood reflected the faith I was called into at Baptism. Then, as I moved into adolescence, I needed to realize more fully God’s handiwork in my life. Since my faith was already a strong part of my life, I continued to move in that direction. However, I met with much opposition from my peers who did not share the same sentiment. This was a great struggle in my faith for a couple of years. What was I to believe? Why did my friends not hold the same desire I had for God? It was a period in my life where I was either going to grow stronger in my convictions or they would disappear completely.
All of these questions and hardships I faced caused me to wonder. I was a rather scary time, because what I loved and felt called to follow did not seem real to hose around me. Then, in 1997, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to attend World Youth Day in Paris. I was there that I began to see my desire to grow in the love of God. The most powerful experience for me during my World Youth Day pilgrimage was our journey to Lourdes and its healing waters. To this day, I will never forget kneeling down in front of the grotto where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette and praying the Rosary. What a powerful sense of peace! I felt the presence of Jesus wrapping his arms around me. It was at this moment that my faith began to be transformed into something new. The strength of this spiritual experience was only heightened by standing in a crowd of over a million other Catholics. Great strength entered my heart and gave me the courage to move forward – resolved to live God’s call in my life. The big change that came out of World Youth Day was learning that we only grow in our love for God through the support of others.