"A foundation of faith... Returning home from my senior service project at Clelian Heights School for Developmentally Disabled in Pennsylvania, I was asked to reflect on my experience and give witness in religion class. I remember my stories of how being with people with developmental disabilities encouraged in me the slow process by which my thinking, 'I'm no good,' became 'I am actually very good. God made me so.'
...Guides my life: As I return to St. Louis after graduating from Xavier University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, I see how I have been guided by these words in all my being and work. In the dark, cold moments of winter, I did not see how my work would ever be good enough to fill two galleries for my senior thesis show this past April. And yet, when I gave it over to God and continued my work, the show inspired and connected me with others and continues to do so through my website and blog, www.mysoulmagnifies.com. Another practice I learned from Clelian Heights came in handy at this time: the simple, humble, grateful acceptance of God’s gifts and the praise for using those to the best of my ability.
A foundation of faith… Little moments of faith added up to quite a bit throughout my time at Cor Jesu… moments of silent reflection in the chapel, moments of celebration of First Friday liturgies, moments of saying the Sacred Heart prayer before each class.
...Guides my life: Moving into my adult life, I find myself relying on these simple, yet beautiful ways of connecting with God. When I come face to face with my fears throughout each day, I am reminded of the prayer: Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in your love for me. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you. When I am filled with gratitude on a crisp, autumn first Friday, I head over to Mass. When I hear of an opportunity to explore meditation, I eagerly enter into the invitation.
A foundation of faith… Cor Jesu taught me to look and listen for God in everything, even in conversations amidst of sea of yellow lockers. Indeed, God planted a seed in my heart even there, as my ears perked when one of my classmates excitedly described this newer field call Art Therapy.
...Guides my life: Ever since that day when I was a junior in high school, I have been working toward finding ways to use my creative endeavors with people that I may serve. I have helped start art programs for people recovering from strokes, and I have taught art to people with Cerebral Palsy. I even organized community art events, initiating the painting of a car in the style of Van Gogh at an art festival. Now, back in St. Louis, I am pursuing a Masters of Art Therapy Counseling at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.
A foundation of faith… Continually supported and challenged by my caring friends during my time at Cor Jesu, I quickly learned that faith is nothing if it is not put into action every day with the people closest to us. Whether it was throwing an elaborate, themed birthday party or apologizing for the silly little things at school, my friends were the concrete evidence of God’s working in my life at CJ.
...Guides my life: I am blessed to keep in good contact with many of my Cor Jesu friends and even find my life being tied together with one friend in particular— the two of us decided to live in an apartment together as we both continue grad studies in St. Louis this year. This reconnection again allows me to share my faith in a concrete way, like during conversations while grocery shopping and in comforting hugs after a long day.
Truly, the foundations of faith built at Cor Jesu—both tangible and unseen—are alive and working in my life today!"
Ellen Schroeder, '06