One of the best parts of working at the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason is the variability of the work we do. Not only are we developing projects, singing in two ensembles, and event planning, but we also have many opportunities to travel in our work. Since arriving in August, we have gone to Lourdes, France on pilgrimage with the Archdiocese of Dublin, Wexford and Our Lady’s Island to visit the Wexford House of Brigid community, and Kylemore Abbey to participate in liturgy at the Gothic Church.
I am a person who appreciates the chance to try new things, and I have certainly had my work cut out for me in that respect. Living in community, planning a retreat for secondary students, and even learning about sound engineering have all been exciting new adventures.
When I consider all of this newness and the time-consuming nature of the work I do, it has been particularly important for me to take time for myself to assess the spiritual and emotional side of my transition from student life in America to working in the Irish Catholic sphere. Fortunately, I have been highly encouraged to do so. As a member of Teach Bhríde, I am expected to enter into spiritual companionship during my time in Dublin. Simply put, spiritual companionship involves meeting with a trained Catholic individual who helps you explore your relationship with God and find where He is working in your life. These are deeply personal topics to discuss, and I will admit that the level of honesty and vulnerability required for such discussions strikes me as a bit daunting. Even a year ago I would not have felt comfortable in such a situation.
But funnily enough, an idea recently caught my attention and led me to realize how much spiritual companionship could add to my life. It was the Jesuit concept of seeking to “find God in all things.” As soon as I heard that phrase last winter, something clicked. Immediately I thought of my ongoing attempt to increase my trust in God and His plan, and I knew that the more time I spent deliberately searching for Him in both the mundane and extraordinary, the more I would find Him and the more I would trust Him.
Now that I am finally here in Ireland, after half a year of preparation, I find myself willing to be vulnerable in the way that spiritual companionship demands. I am increasingly excited by the opportunity to share with another person the ways I have witnessed God’s work, and I look forward to finding a deeper appreciation and gratitude for it.