There are no adequate words to describe my Loyola experience. As a writer, for the first time I feel as if I am wordless.
Vernon already expressed much of my parting sentiments in his article: Don’t Say Goodbye . . . say Thank You. Therefore, I go another direction and speak to the students who are new to Loyola’s Spiritual and Pastoral Care Program, or who are still discerning if it is a correct fit for them.
My life before beginning my MA was in a serious rut. I thought I would die of boredom and lack of fulfillment if I did not take a step. However, I did not know what that should be.
As I knelt in prayer, asking God to please provide divine guidance, I heard pastoral repeatedly in my head. “What is that?” I wondered. I Googled pastoral and found my way onto Loyola’s Spiritual and Pastoral Care website. I knew I was home.
As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him (1 John 2:27, New International Version).
Loyola has anointed me. I have humbly been part of many great formational experiences: Alpha Sigma Nu, Emerging Scholars, Professional Seminar Paper, wonderful MA professors, exceptional staff, spiritual and learned classmates, Graduate Assistantship experiences working on CACREP and Continuing Education Programs, coursework, service-learning, retreats, and more!
I have just been appointed a Lay Ecclesial Minister for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, specifically as a Director of Religious Education for a local Catholic Parish. Loyola has sent me forth to minister to God’s people.
Listen to your instincts, to your intuition, and to your God. You may not have your post-Loyola future all figured out, but that is the beauty of it. If God is truly the center of our lives, then we strive to follow God’s plan, not our own.
John Lennon said it well, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I planned to go to Loyola, and, with God’s grace, the rest just fell into place.