July 5, 2019

Serra Club Vocations Essay

Teen hopes to ‘set the world ablaze’ through her love for Christ

By Theresa Sherman (Special to The Criterion)

Theresa ShermanSt. Catherine of Siena once said, “If you are what you should be, then you will set the world ablaze.”

This is a goal all Catholics should strive for, but first we must figure out who we are. How do we know who we are supposed to be?

Everyone’s journey starts out differently. I am a cradle Catholic. I grew up surrounded by people on fire for their faith, and I know I am incredibly lucky for it.

Who knows where I would be right now if my family never planted that mustard seed within me? I still remember little moments from my childhood of my whole family praying the rosary at night, as my younger brothers and sisters and I looked through our basket—yes basket—of prayer cards.

After my family moved to the great state of Indiana, and I had grown a little older, I started going to a summer camp with Regnum Christi, just as my sisters had done. Then, after years of my coaxing, my sister and youth minister started a Challenge Girls Club at my school in my eighth-grade year. I would go on to become a team leader for Challenge in high school.

I believe my faith began to thrive after I started high school. I started going to youth group once a week. I was also confirmed, with St. Thérèse of Lisieux as my confirmation saint, and one of my sisters as my sponsor.

If there is anyone who has helped me grow in my faith the most, it is her. She is an ever-burning flame for the Catholic faith, not needing words to spread it. It is because of her that I am currently considering giving a year to mission work after high school.

Last summer, I had the privilege of being a summer missionary in Cincinnati with nine other high school girls from around the world. There, I not only gained leadership skills and lifelong friendships, but a strong friendship with Christ. I was on fire for him every day, and I can still feel my heart burn for him. I have gone on numerous retreats since and have led a few as well.

These experiences have given me the chance to see many people live out their various vocations. I have seen great examples of marriage and parenthood in my parents, grandparents and oldest sister.

One of my youth ministers went on to discern religious life with the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity. I also got to attend the wedding of one of my youth leaders and saw another go to the seminary. One of my best friends is also about to join a cloistered Carmelite convent.

My family gave me my faith roots. School has given me knowledge of it. Experiences have given it depth. I may not know what my own vocation is yet. But I strive to say “yes” to the little things so that whatever God calls me to do, I will have the courage to respond with a “yes.”

(Theresa and her parents, William and Sheryl Sherman, are members of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington. She is a home-schooled student who recently completed the 11th grade and is the 11th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2019 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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