We encourage you to browse these student reflections, centered around the 2012-13 theme of "Reflection and Discernment."

Tess Hart
Tori Zanaboni
Tim Dulle
Alex Schelble
Alyson Fuest
Kim Patterson

Emily Waibel
Ben Evans
Matt Beermann
Nick Blair

Rebecca Hinman
Janeisha Griggs

April Jecha
Megan Reid
John Bayer
Bridgette Pretz
Katie Robertson

Trinidad Raj Molina Khatoon
Stefani Paul
Nick Traxler
Allison Body
Rachel Pearson
Molly Sova
Phil Hageman
Brigid Verhoff
James Fister
Mary Schletzbaum


Tess Hart, '13, is studying economics, political science, criminal justice and English. During her time at the Rock she has served as a Resident Assistant and a Student Senator. In July she will be heading to Chuuk, Micronesia, to serve as a Jesuit Volunteer.  

It is hard to believe that this is my last week at the Nest, a place that has become home for me. I can look back over my four years here and see the moments that have helped shape me, the relationships that have helped build me, and the movements of the Spirit that have helped guide me. Through these things I gain the confidence needed to fly off, keeping always in mind the education and values that Rockhurst has instilled in me.

To me, the value of reflection and discernment is a matter of engaging one’s authentic self, listening to the little voice inside and the subtle signs the Lord leaves in daily life. Discernment is not rational deliberation meant to yield the most practical or advantageous decision from a worldly standpoint. Rather, it is the counter-cultural experience of being open to where and to what you are called. As I was discerning my own call to service, I was particularly struck by a piece of advice from a faculty member, which I believe captures why discernment is so powerful: “Follow your heart and your mind will come to understand, follow your mind and your heart may never come along.” Thus, reflection and discernment gives us the freedom to act, trusting in the Lord’s will rather than the imperfection of human logic. With this freedom in mind, I seek to soak up the experiences life provides, act based on my values, and then, reflect on how such things have affected me. Ignatian discernment is an invaluable tool that I plan to take with me as I move on, and I invite all Hawks to embrace and engage in this powerful process during their time here and beyond.

Tori Zanaboni, '16, is from St. Louis and loves the Cardinals! She is a freshman nursing major, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha and a member of a CLC. Next year she will serve as an Orientation Leader, Social Mentor, Ambassador and Frosh Get-A-Way Leader.

I spend many minutes of the day looking forward: looking forward to events, to tests, to new experiences, and to bananas foster in the cafe.  However, over Easter break, I started to reflect on my state of mind at the present. I asked myself, “As I am looking forward every day, is the present quickly passing me by?” My answer to this question was “yes.” Priorities flood my mind and schedule each morning when I open my planner. Some events I look forward to and others I just dread as each minute goes by. However, after reflecting on this state of mind, I have realized that God does not ask us to split time for work and play. Instead, all of our activities should promote, share, and give God’s love. Therefore, I have decided to try to live my life fruitfully. By that I mean, I am trying to be present each day, event, meeting, class, and meal. Instead of looking forward to all the things I should be doing, I want to live each moment to the fullest. As the school year winds down, I pray that I can slow down, smell the newly bloomed tulips on campus, and realize that each busy day is another gift from God.

Tim Dulle, '13, is a Catholic Studies minor. He is active in CLC and a brother of Alpha Delta Gamma. He will continue his studies and adventures next year at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in Boston, Mass.

At Rockhurst, Hawks can have so many different experiences. My days at the Nest have taken me up to Hancock, Michigan, all the way down to El Salvador, and as far east as Washington, DC. I have chopped wood for the elderly, spoken broken Spanish with children, taken advantage of many leadership opportunities in Greek Life, and grown in my faith with my CLC and at student liturgies.

As profoundly grateful as I am for all these opportunities, I readily admit that they would mean very little without one thing to tie them together: Reflection. Ignatian Spirituality teaches us to “Experience-Reflect-Act.” Without reflection, our dizzying array of experiences become empty memories with no capacity to guide us to new and better ones, or help us discern our true vocation.

As I “fly away” this spring, I will take with me the knowledge that Rockhurst has not only offered me great opportunities, but taught me how to reflect on my experiences to discern my future direction and goals. I know that my degree will be valuable, but I truly think my ability to critically reflect may serve me better. I hope my fellow Hawks would feel the same. Ad Dei Gloriam.

Alex Schelble, '15, hails from Omaha, Neb. and is a biochemistry major on the pre-med track.  She is on Rockhurst’s tennis team, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha and an Orientation Coordinator.  She plans to attend medical school after graduating from Rockhurst.

I have never been very reflective. I tend to live life on the go, stopping only to eat and watch an occasional episode of Law & Order SVU. I run from class to tennis to meetings to the library throughout the week; so, it’s sometimes hard to catch my breath. This semester, I interviewed with the Pre-Health Committee, because I will be applying to Saint Louis University School of Medicine this May. I sailed through the application until the last page. “Write an essay on this question: Why do you want to be a doctor?”  I had never reflected on why, I just always knew that’s what I wanted to do. I like people. I like science. Well, as great as that sounds, it probably wouldn’t cut it for my personal statement. Upon reflecting on my personal experiences with death and sickness as well as shadowing experiences, I began to formulate “why.” Asking myself that elusive question of why I wanted to become a doctor strengthened my belief that medicine really is my calling. I believe that reflecting on life experiences is essential in answering this difficult but important “why.” I don’t think you can move forward without understanding this question.

Alyson Fuest, '15, is a biology major and is from St. Louis, Mo.  She is a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, a former Frosh Get-A-Way leader and a current CLC member and leader.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” –Neale Donald Walsch

This quote became a reality for me when I embarked on my spring break service immersion trip to the Dominican Republic. I was very anxious to leave my comfort zone and be opened to the unknown. Through much encouragement and support, I was able to open my heart fully to the experience.

Our group was blessed by the opportunity to stay with host families. I felt fully immersed in the culture and with the people there and, therefore, was able to experience so much selfless love as well as so many tremendously happy spirits. Reflecting on this experience has left me speechless, at a point where words cannot even describe my love for the Dominican and its people. Being so fortunate to have been presented with this experience has left me with such a happy heart.

The most incredible part of my time while in the Dominican Republic was their lifestyle. The people seemed to just go with the flow and make quality time for all of the important people in their lives. Spending a week without any electronics really showed me how to be fully present and connected with everyone with whom I was surrounded. It was such a peaceful way of life, something that I wish our culture was a little more like and something for which I now strive. All in all, I was so honored to be a part of such a remarkable experience.

Kim Patterson,'13, is from Omaha, Neb., and will graduate in May with a B.S.N in nursing and a B.A. in Spanish.  She is instrumental in many Rockhurst activities, including Relay For Life, the first annual Bone Marrow Drive, Alpha Sigma Alpha and CLC.  She will joyfully be serving pediatric cancer patients as a nurse at Children’s Mercy after graduation.

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence."

This semester, my clinical rotation was in hospice.  During this six week nursing rotation, I experienced one of the most honest reflections of my life.  This particular Tuesday was spent on the fifth floor of a musty apartment in Westport.  The sun shone through the windows upon the reclining patient in an overstuffed armchair.  The room was decorated with rosaries, pictures of the Pope and a variety of religious literature.  I sat down on the adjacent sofa after performing an initial assessment in hopes of conversing about the emotional struggles that accompany the physical symptoms.  To my surprise, it didn’t take long until the patient began questioning me.  “What do you think it would be like to die without a faith?”  “Why do you want to be a nurse?”  “Are you proud of how you’ve lived?”  After pondering the questions asked of me, the patient presented a copy of “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann, which is Latin for, “desired things”.  It offered solace in her final days and could provide guidance for reflection in our unpredictable number of days as well.

Emily Waibel,'14, is studying elementary education and psychology. She is from St. Louis, Mo., and is involved with Christian Life Community, Relay for Life, Social Media Committee member, Gamma Phi Beta, past Orientation leader and mentor and a homecoming committee member.

Being at Rockhurst, I feel I have been able to participate in a vast variety of clubs, committees and now a wonderful sorority. I’ve always felt called to be a leader and to give the gifts God gave me to those around me. I always enjoyed being around people and helping in whichever way I can. One of my favorite things about being at Rockhurst, I’ve been able to be active in my career by volunteering at several after school programs and work one on one with several students during my practicums and service learning projects. I know I would not have these opportunities if it were not for Rockhurst and being at Rockhurst I’ve grown into a strong, empowered and capable woman. Through my time at Rockhurst and being involved, I’ve become a more outgoing and stable person. Through my volunteering and working with students, I’ve recognized that I must continuously reflect on how my gifts are being shown and constantly look for ways to improve and grow through understanding the importance of working together.

Benjamin Evans,'14, from Neosho, MO, is a transfer student majoring in either psychology or biology.  He plans on going to occupational therapy school and will be graduating with a bachelors in 2014.

Over spring break 16 of us Hawks spent the week serving others in Guatemala by doing the little things that needed to be done. We did not build the biggest building or perform miracles. We did the little things that would make a difference in people's lives. While sitting in the airport waiting to board the plane to Atlanta, I was talking with an elderly gentleman from Cleveland, Ohio. He had been going to Guatemala for six years now doing the same thing. He enlightened me with a story that he also shared with his group.

He started by saying that while in Guatemala he was becoming frustrated because he didn't think that he was making a difference while being down there, and he didn't see a purpose because he was not getting any satisfaction by helping the Guatemalans. He was fed up with going down there when he realized on a flight home a few years ago that it REALLY did make a difference. On the elderly man's flight, the flight attendant was a Nicaraguan that had missionaries come to his town when he was a boy, and the groups of churches and schools rotated in and out. The flight attendant told this elderly gentleman that his life is forever changed because of the missionaries from the churches and schools that came and did the little things.

That last statement that he made, sent chills down my back. It had summed up the trip for me, right there in the Guatemala City airport. I wanted to share some of my companions' thoughts on the trip were because of their time spent reflecting on what they got from the service trip.

  • Sarah Crudden-- "I may not be able to make the biggest tangible difference by participating in missions to developing countries, but by putting myself out there and keeping an open mind to the world, I have grown to appreciate the beauty of other cultures and to appreciate/realize all that I have been truly blessed with."
  • Chris Stibbs-- "I became more aware of the life surrounding me and the ways I could benefit others through the things I am passionate about."
  • Luke Murphy-- "I would say that I learned that I have taken for granted the truly blessed and fortunate life that I have, and the people of Guatemala certainly helped show that material things are not necessary to lead a happy life."
  • Erin Armstrong-- "That God comes in strange forms but He is there you just need to have faith."
  • Angie Wieser-- "I need to live in more solitude not so focused on the material world. If the Guatemalans can live on so little, so can we."
  • Neil Smith-- "There are a lot of things that keep me from happiness, some of which are luxuries that I would be better off without."
  • Meghan Fessler-- "I learned that I am never alone in a journey I may be embarking on. God placed some awesome people with me this week who happen to be venturing down the same path as I am and now we can walk this journey together. If it was not for reflection we would have never known that others were going through the same experiences. "

Matt Beermann, '16, is from St. Louis, Missouri majoring in business marketing with minors in Spanish and theology.  Matt is involved in Campus Ministry as a member of the contemporary ensemble and leader for both CLC and Frosh Get-A-Way.  He is a member of Alpha Delta Gamma, a Rockhurst Ambassador, a resident assistant and an orientation leader.

I have been asked many times on retreats "How do you see God?" So, I question what can be so pure, so innocent and so powerful.  A child. I can see an infinite power in the image of a child. A child, so small, can make a huge impact on this world. A child has constant love, because they do not know what it means to hate.  A child is seemingly perfect, a reflection of God’s presence among us.

Children often say to their parents right before they are tucked into bed, "I love you, mommy and daddy." In the midst of all of the challenges that college presents, I know that God, like a child whose love seems unfailing, is always there with loving support and guidance.  God, the child-like figure, says to me and to each of us, "I love you. No matter where you go, what do, who you hang out with or what interests you have, I will always love you." 

Nick Blair,'16, is  from St. Louis studying finance and management.  He is involved in Campus Ministry and DSP.  Nick loves reading and, to quote a viral video, “doing hood-rat stuff with his friends.”

Disillusionment.  We often use this word as a synonym for “disenchanted” or “baffled.”  However, author Parker Palmer uses it to describe the times we “break through illusion and touch reality.”  Many times, we are disillusioned involuntarily.  Maybe a loved one passes, and we see through the illusion of absolute security and realize we should focus more on relationships in life; or, we might fail a test and see the reality that we should be concentrating more on our studies.

I began creating illusions for myself as soon as I set foot on campus last fall, when considering anything from my major to what I wanted to do with my life.  Reflection has been my own intentional form of disillusionment.  Rather than touching reality only for brief moments after life tragedies or those involuntary moments of disillusionment, sitting down with God daily and taking a look at my life from a different perspective allows me to see through the illusions in my life.  It helps me to keep a clean lens through which I can view my life, free from the illusions I create.

Rebecca Hinman, '13,  is majoring in nonprofit leadership studies, political science, and theology from Olathe, Kan. Rebecca is a CLC leader and participant, student coordinator of the Kansas City Urban Immersion program, a member of VOICES for Justice and the Senior Giving Committee. Outside of school, Rebecca volunteers at the SFX food pantry, works as the Program Manager for the Human Rights Office of the diocese, and is busy planning her wedding on June 1.

In a very typical “second-semester senior” fashion, I have spent more and more time reflecting upon my stint at Rockhurst. It is oh-so-easy to take for granted the little things Rockhurst has taught you that you will utilize in the “real world” upon graduation. Something I will take away from my undergraduate career are the benefits of reflecting and discerning. It is easy to feel like our world is demanding that we plow through life full speed ahead with no sign of slowing down. Too often, we don’t see the need to slow down until God slams on the brakes for us. This can happen through the surprising kindness of a stranger, the blessings of a warm, sunny day in February or through beauty of a moment of silence in a very loud world. These moments are an invitation from God to breathe, reflect and count your blessings. My Ignatian education has helped me become more intentional in recognizing God’s subtle invitations for reflection and to joyfully accept them. Rockhurst has made me more in-tune with God’s plan for me and has encouraged a fruitful prayer life that I will proudly take away with me in May.

Janeisha Lennelle Griggs,'14, the oldest of 8 children, is from Saint Louis, Mo. She is a pre-medical student majoring in biology, with a minor in physics of medicine. Janeisha is very involved as a member of SAA (Student Alumni Association), a student caller and training assistant for the Rockhurst Phonathon and an active member of the pre-med fraternity Phi Delta Epsilon.

When a person first comes to college, the experience could be very overwhelming; it is an entirely new world to explore.  As freshmen, we are learning the ropes, getting to know our classmates and becoming comfortable with the university itself. As sophomores, we are closer to finding our niche, as juniors and seniors we are building for our future career paths. Each year brings new experiences and knowledge unique for that time but one thing they all have in common is: finding ourselves in the midst of all the hustle and bustle.

For me, as a Rockhurst student, intentional reflection means so much! First, it means taking time out of every day or a few times a week just for me! In this time, I contemplate who I am as a person, my decision making, the individuals I surround myself with, my goals in life and my actions toward achieving those goals. This reflection time keeps me grounded and humble as I go throughout my week.

Let me share with you one of my favorite quotes by Leonardo Da Vinci, “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death”. This quote really sums up my experience with intentional reflection. I believe that without it, a person could become lost, living with no purpose. Reflection helps me to find myself; it helps me to visualize what I want in life, and how I want to impact others, and not only am I just thinking but daily reflection encourages me to act! “Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living”.

 I hope all of you take the time to intentionally reflect, it makes a difference! 

April Jecha, '13,  is a psychology major from Wichita, Kan. She loves country swing dancing, being an RA and she believes that real Love is what matters.

Who am I called to be? And where am I called to go?

I have no idea.

Well, maybe I have more of an idea now than I used to. But I know myself a little better because I have learned that I desperately need to let some things move me: to allow God to work in and through me, answering the longing of my heart for real Love within the small happenings of daily life.

I would say that the present moment contains God’s presence, but in reality it is God who contains the present moment. And when I express gratitude for all He does and is, I notice the things that move me toward Him, the things He uses to call me to the life of Love that He made me for.

When I forget all worries about the future, which are plentiful as a college senior, and focus myself on the present moment, I find answers to the desires of my heart. I find answers to those questions: Who I am I called to be? And where am I to go? I am to go wherever God moves me to.

Megan Reid, '14, hails from Wahington, Mo., and is majoring in biology and Spanish and minoring in psychology.  She is the service chair for VOICES for Justice, a CLC coordinator and leader and a Frosh Get-A-Way leader.  There is little question that if Megan could send the rest of her days working in the great outdoors that she would be blissfully happy!

Before my time as a Hawk, I never made much of a conscious effort to spend time in quiet reflection. Out of all the core values that make up the rich Jesuit tradition of this community, Reflection & Discernment was the one that I have struggled with the most. Giving myself a chance to stop, rest, and spiritually “marinate” in the activities of the day would make me feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.

Yet, these are the times that I have felt the deepest connection to God and the most at peace with anything that lay before me.

To me, moments of reflection are more than thinking back on my day or week. They are doorways in which my mind can wander through and ponder who I am and what that means to the world that I live in. During my year and half at Rockhurst, I have begun to harness this positive thinking that comes out of my time in reflection and use it to discern how I can fully be the person I feel God is calling me to be.

John Bayer, '14, is majoring in both psychology and French.  He is from St. Louis, Mo., and is currently a Resident Assistant for the THV/OCH communities.

This past winter break I journeyed to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I knew only one thing about the U.P.: it was supposed to be quite cold and snowy.  So before I left, I packed . . . three pairs of wool socks, a few sweaters, and seven shirts each with their own sentimental value given to me by: a brother, a friend, a job, a school, Vincent Acquisto, a mother, and a father; boots and a coat both picked out by a salesman named Bo, my grandfather’s coffee-stained tie, a pair of worn out jeans, black dress pants, a water bottle, a cell phone, and a blue duct-tape wallet.  All of this I hoped would either keep me safe on my journey or warm in the cold.

At the beginning of any journey (whether it is a new semester or simply a new day), take the time to look at what you’ve “packed.”  Will it keep you warm in the “cold” or “safe” on your journey?  If you have forgotten anything, don’t worry.  If there is one thing that I learned on my adventure, it is that God will provide.

Bridgette Pretz, '12, is a senior from Granbury, TX.  She will graduate in December with a major in chemistry and a minor in theology.  During her years at Rockhust Bridgette has been involved in CLC.  If she could travel any area in the world she would go to eastern Europe and soak up their culture and art.

Within my life, the core value of reflection and discernment is simultaneously one of the most beautiful and most challenging values.  I see great beauty in this value because it is a continual process that allows me to grow and build on what I have learned from prayer and experience; yet, it challenges me, because to get to this point I must allow myself to quiet my mind and heart and allow God to guide me.  

When I find myself in need of refocusing on what God has in plan for me, a verse from Proverbs comes to mind.  It says: “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the decision of the Lord that endures” (Proverbs 19:21).  This verse gives me great comfort when I am in the discernment process, because it recognizes that it is normal to have goals and desires within my own heart but also reminds me that God’s plan is the one that will remain.  With this realization, I can offer up my own desires to God and ask Him to shape my heart to desire what he desires for me.  

Katie Robertson , '16, is an exercise and sports science major from Overland Park, Kan. She is a student senator and Rockstar and is involved with R.A.K.E.R.S, SAB and Campus Ministry at Rockhurst University.

Who is He to you? Who is He to you? This question echoed in my ear as I sat in church early that Sunday morning. It kept vibrating in my mind as I left church and throughout the day. That simple question instigated a curiosity in my life as a Christian.  Finding God and then seeing Him in all things is an important task in being a follower.

To me, God is a faithful father. He has built each and every one of us with a plan and a purpose. God may set forth our path, but it is our job as individuals to choose our steps. Thanks to Him, I have been extremely blessed with a passion for people and serving others. Pursuing that in various directions has been the highlight of my life thus far, and I pray that – God willing – I can continue. 

We are taught from a young age to be leaders, to start revolutions and to “be the change.” But if we look at the bible, aren’t we truly called to be disciples or followers of Christ? So for my life, I don’t want to be a leader; I strive to be a follower of something greater than earthly things.

Trinidad Raj Molina Khatoon III, '14,  is studying philosophy, Spanish, writing and theology. Kansas City is his hometown, where he loves First Fridays, Town Topic hamburgers and his hundreds of homeless friends. At Rockhurst, he is involved with a CLC and the Knights of Columbus; although, he currently lives in La Libertad, El Salvador.

What Calls Me?

I’m not sure.
I am very sure.

What am I called to do at some point in the future?
I definitely couldn’t tell you,
or myself.

I do know where I am right now, though.
(I live in El Salvador, by the way.)

People used to ask me last year,
“Why would you go there?”
Because I so love the world, I suppose.

I spend a lot of my time here on top of an active volcano
with a family in the campo,
which is what Americans would call
poor peasant land.

And I’ve been adopted.

I’ve lived here.
I’ve slept here.
I eat their meals.
I make their tortillas,
which my Salvadoran mother appreciates because the men don’t cook here.
I am their new son.

Next week I’m even going to kill one of their chickens
because it’s finally fat enough to eat now.
My Salvadoran family has been anticipating my murdering of the chicken
for a few months now.
So have I,
very excitedly.

I love this volcano.
It’s quiet and still,
leaving only time for Leisure and Love
and especially
Fulfillment in Life.

This is where I am right now
at my favorite place on earth,
and this is where I belong,

Stefani Paul, '14,  is majoring in communication and sciences disorders and psychology.  She is from Bainbridge Island, Wash., where she loves her Saint Cecelia Church community.  At Rockhurst she serves as desk manager for Corcoran hall, a CLC leader and the RAKers President.  Additionally, Stefani enjoys American Sign Language, photography and swimming. 

College is that time of your life when you are establishing who you are as a person.  As I always like to remind myself “God has some big plan for me” and in the end it’s all going to work out.  I am someone who learns from experience and strives for excellence.  I know that if I humble myself and slowly let go of my attachments to the material that I’ll grow closer to knowing God each day.  When I do things that address the real world and real issues, I am reminded of who God created me to be.  Volunteering at Operation Breakthrough took me off campus for a few hours each week.  Seeing the innocent faces of loving children from low-income backgrounds was truly touching.  It made me realize that life circumstances are often out of our control; however, being faithful to God is in our control – it’s a choice.  I believe that if we persevere, face the challenges life throws at us and place our hearts and trust in the Lord, we will slowly know ourselves, know the Lord and open hearts to what is to come.

Nicholas Traxler, '13, is studying political science and nonprofit leadership studies. He is from Mankato, Minnesota. Nick serves as the treasurer of his fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, and president of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association on campus. He also considers himself an amateur American Civil War historian.

The college years are characterized by some of the most fun you will have in your life. Living with friends, constantly enjoying their company, and living out your newfound independence equates to four years of fun and excitement. While we students are quick to cultivate the areas of our lives that equal fun times and exciting moments, we have a tendency to set aside or disregard completely our deepest desires for direction and purpose. Sometimes, too, we are guilty of tuning out God’s voice. Where do we go from there?

For me, when I begin to tune out my deeper desire to listen to God’s loving direction, I begin to feel like a dried out sponge. I am unable to absorb new experiences and be flexible with life’s many opportunities and challenges. Why then do we fear listening to our loving and forgiving God? For me, it is because I resent when God doesn’t give me answers. God, instead, helps us enter into life’s questions themselves. This can be a challenging notion for college students, who are constantly seeking “the answer” and “the truth” in life and on assignments.

My friends and classmates, I invite you to respond to God’s messages, even if they’re not on your cell phone or Facebook. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, even if His message is “Be Patient…”

Allison Body, '13,  is an English and theology major and art history minor who is involved in CLC, the Rockhurst Review, and Alpha Sigma Alpha, among other things.  Despite the lack of fellow Catholics, Allison loves Prague—it is the most beautiful place she has ever seen and she will never stop wanting to return there. 

Ironically, I am living in a desert of 100 spires.

I am studying abroad in Prague—called “The City of 100 Spires” for its beautiful churches—in the overwhelmingly atheist Czech Republic.  As of right now, I’ve not met a single practicing Catholic.

But the desert has always been the place to figure things out, and as a senior in college, I cannot escape the question of who I am called to be.  Before coming here, I thought I had a plan for my life.  But here in my spired desert I am seeing things differently, hearing callings that I’ve never heard before.  I love learning, dialoging, writing—and God.  In a European world that thinks it has become too sophisticated, too wise for the “hocus pocus” of Christianity, could my gifts be of service?  Am I humble enough, hardworking enough, and aligned with God enough to put those gifts to use?  The solitude of the desert allows me to reflect on these questions.

And even still, I have wandered through the Vatican at night, prayed in an empty cathedral, stumbled across adoration in a building I didn’t even recognize as a church.  I am finding enough water in the desert to keep going, keep discerning. 

Rachel Pearson, '16, works at Trader Joe’s and in Campus Ministry as a photographer. She is a member of SAB, Student Senate and CLC, and is a Relay for Life Team Captain and a Rockstar. She enjoys long walks on the beach, a nice cup of coffee, and her St. Louis Cardinals.

God’s plan, what is it for me? We have a free will to do what we wish with our lives, and what if the path I have chosen isn’t what I’m called to take? In the previous years, the sciences were always something that I was good at. I received fairly high grades and it came easy for me. So when it came to college, why would I not major in a science? Frosh Get-A-Way was the first retreat that I ever attended, and I was skeptical about it to say the least. As the weekend went on and I engaged in the activities, I learned that I really don’t know who I am or who God is calling me to be.  Who’s to say that Biology is the field for me? There are so many more doors in my life that I have yet to even open and walk through. So how can I make a decision of what I want to do with my life if I only stick with what I am comfortable with? After some self-reflection time on Frosh Get-A-Way, I realized that maybe Biology isn’t the path that God is calling me to take. Maybe God is calling me to do something more with my life than simply what is most comfortable. So how do I find out who God is calling me to be? My next move is putting all my trust in God and remaining to open all of those doors that He has made available for me.

Molly Sova, '14, is a an Omaha native and a nursing major.  She serves on Alpha Sigma Alpha’s e-board and was the junior coordinator for this year’s Frosh Get-A-Way retreat.  She is active in Christian Life Communities, Campus Ministry and service to the community.  Last year, she participated in the University’s spring break service-immersion trip to Belize.

The first month of school has quickly come and gone, and it has been full of new beginnings and changes. I have had to force myself to take a step back from all the craziness and reflect on two very important questions: “Who is God calling me to be?” and “What is God’s plan for me?” I thought that coming into my junior year here at Rockhurst I would have these questions answered by now or, at least, close to answered; however, to my surprise, I am far from having these questions answered.

I had the privilege of being a leader on Frosh-Get-A-Way.  Throughout the retreat, I saw the freshman being open to whatever was thrown their way. Seeing them being so open to new experiences made me reflect on my willingness to be open to new experiences and to the changes that come along with these experiences. I decided that I needed to start to trust more in God’s plan for me. Instead of wondering what He has planned next, I have started living more in the moment. In doing this for the past couple of weeks, I have come to realize that I need to trust more in God’s plan, no matter how challenging it may be. By doing this, I can become more of who God is calling me to be. Slowly but surely, I will discover who I am and what God wants for me. But until then, I am going to continue to live in the moment and to trust in the path that God has laid out for me.

Phil Hageman, '13, is a senior from Omaha, Nebraska, studying economics and pre-physical therapy.  He is a Frosh Get-A-Way leader (the one and only three-peat in the history of Frosh Get-A-Way), the president of Ambassadors, a member of the running club and Pi Kappa Alpha.

“Who is God calling me to be?” Finding the answer seems simple, right?….Wrong.  Trying to figure out who God wants me to be or what He wants me to do has not been easy.  Early on, I quickly realized that like many other good things in life, discovering who God is calling me to be would not come immediately nor easily.  At first, I struggled with determining if the life I was living was the one God wanted me to live.  However, as time went on and life brought new experiences, I felt as though I was coming closer to finding the things in life that truly make me happy.  It was through discovering these things that I feel I was able to come closer to finding the person God is calling me to be.  Through reflecting on these things, I came to understand that God wants me, you, and everyone else to be happy; therefore, finding and experiencing things that truly bring joy and happiness to you and others, does the same for God.  I’ve learned that reflecting and discerning upon the person God is calling you to be is an experience.  It is a process and gift that should be embraced and enjoyed.  There is no roadmap to discovering God’s plan, but from openness and the patience and courage to trust in the slow works of God, I have come to find a sense of peace and calm on my journey towards discerning God’s ongoing plan for my life.

Brigid Verhoff, '14, is from St. Louis, Missouri, and is majoring in Biology and Theology. She is a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, a leader and participant in Christian Life Community and will serve as a Frosh-Get-Away leader.  

The most daunting question I have been asked to answer is “Who is God?”  I believe that question can’t necessarily be answered in words but rather it needs to be answered in deeds. It takes a whole lifetime to answer that simple three-worded question, and the only way that someone can begin to answer “Who is God?”  is to begin to work towards finding the answer. If you don’t want to know God then you don’t have to, but God is going to fervently try to know you, even if it doesn’t seem like that. The actions and deeds don’t need to be something extravagant but rather something that you can learn and grow from. Continuously doing Christ-like deeds molds the consciousness to be more aware when those negative actions do take hold of our lives. The way to know that the conscious is being shaped is to reflect and discern those actions to see if Christ was present or if He was absent. So you ask me “Who God is?”  God is that person who helps when someone drops their books in the hallway, He is the person who smiles at you on your way to class, He is that late night conversation when everything seems to be crumbling beneath you. God has many faces and all you have to do is take a step back and look around at the people in your life. He’s not as far as you may think.

James Fister, '14, is a History and French major from St. Louis, Missouri. He is a Resident Assistant in Corcoran Hall and gifted musician who plays with the Contemporary Ensemble at 6 p.m. student Masses

I had an opportunity this past weekend to reflect on the complexity of my own life. This past Sunday, my family was visiting a friend of ours, Fr. Tom Molini. Before dinner, Father said Mass for the six of us. I had never been at such a simple Mass, but, as Fr. Molini went on to tell us in his homily, that is the way Masses were celebrated by the original disciples of Christ; small groups would celebrate the mass in the privacy of their own homes, among friends. Just as there need not be a beautiful cathedral or a massive congregation for a Mass to be celebrated, I began to reflect on what could be simplified in my own life but still retain its inherent worth. Perhaps playing video games with a friend can turn into meaningful conversations; perhaps those daily Twisters from the Pub can turn into eating more nutritional and filling meals; perhaps waiting for 6pm on Sunday to pray can turn into a simple prayer each night. These are a few small ways I believe God wants me to simplify my life, and in doing so find more meaning and value in my actions.

Mary Schletzbaum, '13, is from Atchison, Kansas, and will graduate with majors in global studies and psychology and minors in biology and economics. She is president of VOICES for Justice, a member of Christian Life Communities (CLC) and will serve as a Frosh-Get-A-Way leader. During the summer of 2012, she spent nine weeks in Tanzania teaching health education and sustainable agriculture as part of a service-learning program with Global Service Corps.

Sometimes we limit our futures by staking claim to our lives as if we have absolute control. Future plans tend to be based on security and are followed until an event inevitably shifts the path. Then, what?  Four years ago I moved into Rockhurst with a plan for success. The plan evolved, naturally, to integrate my talents with what moves me most. With the help of St. Ignatius' daily Examen I have reflected on this transformation and realized that who I am called to be is one who is transformed everyday into an improved version of my yesterday self. This calling is different from wanting to be someone; being called is acknowledging the shifted path and finding peace in the mystery ahead. This calling comes gradually in the middle of lectures, during days of service, or at the breaking points of late nights, revealing how today can be lived with a greater purpose. To receive who we are called to be is to receive ourselves with love at all stages of this transformation. To receive what we are called to do is to trust our transformed selves to follow the Spirit as It guides us down the uncharted path ahead.