As Catholic campus ministry grows & thrives, it is natural to see young people exploring different Vocations and to discern where the Lord is calling them. We are grateful to witness this happening at the University of Minnesota with many of our students. Here you can read Vocation stories shared by some of our recent alumni & students, particularly those who have discerned a calling to Priesthood or religious life.
Ashley Osten (ICP ’16)
I met the St. Lawrence Newman Center right away my freshman year of college. I knew I wanted to get involved when I went to college, but within the first week of school at a BBQ by the Freshmen dorms, I met Saint Paul’s Outreach (a group that collaborates with the Newman Center), and I was hooked! For the next four years, this became my home.
Because the Newman Center provides a variety of opportunities to get involved with, I was able to participate and lead in many different ways. My freshmen year, I went on the Spring Break mission trip to Pittsburg where we did a variety of service projects. It was beautiful to serve God’s people, and from that trip, I met two other college students who have become some of my best friends. Involvement with the mission trip also led me to being a part of the student executive board for the Newman Center the following year. This position was really what I needed to take my faith seriously and live it out! I knew if I was going to be leading in this way, I didn’t want to be hypocritical in my words and actions anymore. Especially after my sophomore year, I knew I wanted to continue being a part of a community that I was able to walk towards Christ with in all aspects of my life. Thus, my junior and senior years, I spent a majority of my time with others in the community. I participated in SPO’s household program, led women’s nights, led and participated in many Bible studies/small groups, and did service projects, played sports, celebrated holidays, etc, all of which was offered through the Newman Center. I absolutely loved it all and am so grateful!
Alongside the leadership positions which really pushed me to grow in my faith, I was abundantly fed spiritually by all the resources of the Newman Center, Saint Paul’s Outreach, and the gifts of the Catholic Church. I was given spiritual direction, retreats, formation on prayer and living out a Catholic Christian life, mentorship, community and deep friendships, and opportunities to participate in Mass, confession, and adoration nearly every day. I really was able to encounter the person of Jesus and fall in love. And in all that I had received during my college years that led me to a deepened relationship with Jesus, I was able to come with courage and joy to ask the question that had been on my heart for many, many years but was terrified of: was I called to religious life? Well, long story short, I just entered with the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, an order of religious sisters. Without God leading me to the Newman Center, I honestly don’t know if I’d be here right now. But, praise God that I am! What a beautiful opportunity I have been given to explore this vocation and the depths of God’s love.
Ashley entered with the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus (New Ulm, MN) in August 2017.
Shannon Conroy (CLA ’15)
St. Lawrence Newman Center was a place where I came to know my faith in a deeply personal way. As a freshman, I was surprised and inspired when I saw other students my age living out their Catholic faith. During my freshman year I went on a retreat, and it ended up having a lasting impact on me. After this retreat I started to pray regularly and sought out any opportunity I could to learn more about God. Father Jon and others at the Newman Center gave me encouragement, support, and advice as I discerned God’s will for my life. I am so grateful to Father Jon for his support and counsel in my time of discernment.
Shannon entered with the Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia (Nashville, TN) in August 2017. Prior to this, she worked for two years at the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul as a development associate.
Please pray that this ministry continues to bear great fruit such as this! To learn more about ways you can support the Newman Center’s work, visit here.