Did you know that this year we have seven Newman Residents living upstairs, who dedicate a year to living together in intentional community, serving the parish, and helping with campus ministry? You may see them serving coffee and doughnuts after the morning Masses or setting up tables and chairs for Sunday Supper. The residents are a consistent presence at the Newman Center, whether they are welcoming students at Cate’s Cafe or helping with our weekly Undergraduate Night.
Being able to live at St. Catherine’s and belonging to an intentional faith community greatly benefits the students. Sophomore Vance Smith described how being a resident has helped him grow in his faith. “ When I was in high school I felt like I knew as much as I could. Since becoming a resident, I’ve grown a lot deeper in my faith and closer to God. I pray more, and now when I run I pray during or before my run. I never thought about making prayer part of a normal routine. We have prayer buddies and we try to pray twice that week. We do a lot of rosary walks and we also pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy.”
Carrie Jackson, a student at Salt Lake Community College, also saw an improvement in her prayer life. “I’ve grown in prayer because living here makes me think about praying more, and it makes it easier because I’m living in a church. I didn’t know about Compline before last year, and I learned about it before I moved in. I also like going and being able to sit before the tabernacle, weather I’m doing homework or praying a freestyle prayer, the Our Father, or the Rosary.
Living in a community also has its rewards and challenges. Scripture explains the importance of surrounding oneself with people who challenge you to faithfully live out your relationship with God. “As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Alicia Munoz, a junior, enjoys building relationships with her roommates and having them as a support system to live out her faith. “It’s beautiful to see all of us pushing each other and challenging each other to grow, and I see beauty in not getting along as well. Sometimes you have something to argue about. We don’t always agree on something, but we still love and respect each other, and grow in communion together.”
The residents encourage other students to consider living at St. Catherine’s next year. Vance’s advice to students is to, “Apply for it! Its deepened my faith a lot.” Alicia said, “Do it, just like Nike. You have fun, grow as a person, and grow in faith. You struggle and are not perfect, but what’s great is that they help you grow, challenge you, and call you out. I don’t know where I would be without being here. A year ago I didn’t think I would be living in a church. I’m so glad I am.”