I was in middle school when my mother first mentioned the name “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.” Not long after that, our dining room table was decorated with colored pencils, paper, scripture booklets, and tiny wooden structures. This, along with the continuously repeated exclamation, “Oh, these would be perfect for the atrium!” was enough to convince me that whatever my mom had gotten herself into was to become a part of our family forever.
My personal journey with this work began in 8th grade when I assisted in the Level I atrium. I found myself enjoying the atrium just as much as the three-year-olds. I even dabbled in some pouring and spooning works with my fellow Level I attendees, because why not? It began as simply something to do but transformed into some of the most peaceful moments of solitude and contemplation–something my middle school self was greatly lacking. And thus, I became I child of the atrium.
I began my Level I training course as a high school freshman and have had the privilege of continuing my training through Level III for seven consecutive summers. As a current college senior I find myself pleasantly surprised that a third of my life has been influenced and enriched by this work. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd has inspired me in enumerable ways and is undoubtedly one of the greatest things I have done in my young life.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is unique in its encouragement of each individual to read, ponder, and question scripture as well as our religious rituals. It reinforces actively engaging with our faith in order to come to new understanding and to grow deeper in love. But what stood out most to me was this overwhelming notion that one could wrestle with God and wonder with God. To a young teenager and a young woman this is the greatest gift Catechesis could have given me. During these formative years of adolescence, I have been able to study, participate, teach, and grow within a faith and a community in a way much different from the majority of my peers. Over the past seven years I have sat amongst men and women still grappling with the same questions I have. As we sat in our various church spaces we questioned, we prayed, we learned, and we loved together. It was an incredible blessing to be welcomed into such a thoughtful community. In many ways I have this work and Catechesis to thank for allowing me to grow comfortably into my own faith and to find a voice amongst my peers. But most importantly, it is through this experience that I have found a true home in the church.
To all who have joined me in this journey, all the spaces that have shown me hospitality, all the people I have met along the way, and all who have made it possible, words cannot tell you how grateful I am. I cannot wait to see where this work will lead me.
Peace and Love,
St. Peter’s Catechesis Intern