The stories that come out of college campus Newman Centers continue to inspire and astonish me. There are college campuses that are seedbeds of vocations (Thomas Aquinas College, Franciscan University at Steubenville and Christendom College come to mind) but it is hard to challenge the vocational record of an active Newman Center on a college campus. Newman Centers all over the country have many beautiful vocation stories, showing that students immersed in Catholic Life truly do discover and live the vocation that God has planned for them.
This past spring break, six students from the Newman Center at the University of Nebraska traveled all the way to Chicago to spend a week with the Little Sisters of the Poor. They served meals, drove residents to doctor’s appointments and generally just visited with the men and women that the sisters serve. One sophomore said the trip inspired her to attend daily Mass for the first time in her life. Another said the trip helped him to focus on the needs of others instead on “the me” and he felt happier and more at peace because of it. “We never expected” said a senior, “that we would build strong relationships with the sisters and the residents.”
At another Newman Center at Missouri Western State University, a then-freshman and her fellow “Newmanites” went to a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students-another great organization) conference where her faith was ignited and she seriously considered religious life for the first time. This past February, she joined the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara.
Take a look at the Witchita State Newman Center list of vocations. There are many priestly vocations, four women in religious life and one man who joined a Benedictine abbey.
Read this vocation story from a young man who attended the Newman Center at Oklahoma State University. Weekly events there included Monday night rosary, Tuesday night Bible study, Wednesday night student Mass, Thursday faith immersion, Friday free lunch, Saturdays of home football games, the students sold food for tailgating parties and Sunday night was Mass and dinner. God willing, this young man will be ordained in three years.
Another young man from the University of Illinois is now studying for the priesthood. At the Newman Center, he said, he found wonderful friends, priests, and religious that “I could never have dreamed existed.” St. John’s Catholic Newman Center is the only residential Newman Center in the country. Cardinal Francis George called it “one of the most important apostolates” in Illinois.
At Texas A&M University (see photo above) where there is the St. Mary’s Newman Center, 37 Aggies have entered formation for the priesthood and religious life in the past 4 years!
If you know of a young person who is planning to head to college, check out ones with strong Newman Centers. Their eternal life may depend upon it!