SEEKing God on Campus and Beyond
By Kaitlin Emmett '20
Who am I? How do I use my talents? Where is my place in the world?
Exploring these questions are a signature part of the Saint Mary’s education. They are asked in a variety of ways and through different experiences—on campus and off.
This past winter, 11 Saint Mary’s students, joined by Notre Dame and Holy Cross students, traveled to Indianapolis during winter break to attend SEEK, a five-day national conference attended by almost 20,000 college students. Held every other year by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) the purpose of this conference is to explore life’s bigger questions.
Students participating in the SEEK Conference encountered Christ by attending Mass, Adoration, presentations by keynote speakers, and entertainment events. Amanda Fischer '20 was inspired by the many speakers she listened to and enjoyed discussions on topics of love, St. Joan of Arc, the female genius, and how to pray the mass like never before.
Claire Conlon '20 recognized the connection between the mission of SEEK and the mission of Saint Mary’s. “My experience at SEEK led me in the direction of answering those three questions. It fostered that development and growth through the various opportunities they had in adoration, confession, daily life, and sacraments,” she said. The conference events allowed her to see God in the ordinary—something she says she has also learned through her time at Saint Mary’s.
This correlation was also apparent to Amanda. “SEEK helped me with answering these questions by affirming my strengths and talents that God has given me. God definitely has plans for me to use my talents to build up His Kingdom, especially on campus.”
Amanda’s ideas for doing this work include doing it through her relationships with other women on campus. “How awesome would it be to get a whole squad of girls together to become closer to God? SEEK really cultivates that. I’m definitely hungry for it, and everyone else at SEEK is hungry for it too.”
Fostering relationships with God and others
Both Claire and Amanda became involved in a Bible study group of fellow SEEK attendees that meets on Notre Dame’s campus. The casual gathering has been a way for the students to continue the conversations from the conference as well as to continue cultivating the relationships that formed at SEEK.
Even though SEEK is a Catholic conference for those who practice the faith, Colleen Lynch ‘21 took what she learned and applied it to her relationships with students who were not at the conference with her. “I think SEEK brought a new perspective to my relationships here,” she says. “You meet so many people who are passionate about their faith here at Saint Mary’s, even if it’s not Catholicism.”
Colleen realized that her place on campus and in the world is among others of a different faith. Fostering these interfaith relationships are just as important to developing her own spirituality.