Engaging Embody From A Distance

Embody Summer 2020

French cross with center red rose
Artwork: Rose Androwich

The Saint Mary’s College Youth Theology Institute Embody: Beauty, Justice, and Faith in Action looked very different for summer 2020, but it was nonetheless engaging. Each year for the past five years, Embody has welcomed between 30 and 60 young women from around the country to campus for a week-long experience including theological lectures, prayer and worship, and community service opportunities—not to mention bonding time with their peers and college student mentors! For summer 2020, Embody welcomed the engagement of 23 high school girls from around the country who participated via virtual sessions and a program book!

We designed the program book with a variety of prayer resources, stress relieving activities, and theological learning exercises. The prayer resources invited students into different styles of Christian prayer. For example, scripture passages related to love of God, self, and neighbor enabled students to enter into lectio divina, divine reading that better helps them contemplate the Word of God. To relieve stress during the particularly challenging pandemic, the Embody program book featured a number of Saint Mary’s College coloring pages as well as comfort food recipes. Students were also invited to read excerpts from Pope Francis’ Laudato Si journal on various themes, and take a gifts self-inventory as part of the theological learning exercises.

The Embody 2020 online gatherings featured past Embody participants who are currently students at Saint Mary’s. Katy Stalter ’20, Jackie Rojas ’21, Erin Grimes ’21, Claire Lingenfelter ’21 and Eliana Sanchez ’22 discussed love of self, God, and neighbor and finding God’s grace in the beauty of prayer, nature, and relationships. Program Director Arlene Montevecchio lectured on the theological exploration of vocation, and Campus Minister Elizabeth Palmer shared her personal journey of faith and love.

Participants of Embody 2020 submitted various “homework” to the Embody Director for inclusion in the live sessions. Among the submissions, Devi DeYoung, a junior from Hackett Catholic Prep in Portage, MI submitted a gratitude bullet journal. Rose Androwich, a senior from Fenwick High School in Berwyn, IL shared a coloring page that she decorated. Both submissions were shared on social media!

We are grateful for the young women who participated in Embody 2020 and look forward to meeting more high school students for our summer 2021 sessions! While the uncertainty created by the pandemic remains, you can be confident that Embody will continue to provide enriching opportunities! For more information and to receive updates from Embody, please visit saintmarys.edu/embody.

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