Young alumni are sharing how they are succeeding after high school in our #becauseofCJ series. Through your gift to the CJ Annual Fund, you make this happen for all students. As Samantha Evans '18 shares her thoughts and reflections on how the CJ community helped deepen her faith and encouraged her to participate in faith-based groups, please consider joining others today in supporting the mission of CJ — thank you!
"Dear CJ Community,
Thank you! It is after spending time away from CJ, even if only a couple minutes down the street at the University of Dayton, that I have acquired a deeper appreciation for this community. After two years of college, I have realized that there are no classrooms quite like those at CJ, no teachers are the same and no set of classmates. During my time here I was given the opportunity to deepen my faith and participate in smaller faith communities. This was a key experience that helped me to decide to live in an intentional faith community this school year.
Each year during religion class I was put into a sodality. During my sophomore year, I was grouped with several classmates that I came particularly close with. We shared in deep conversation, but also provided comfort to others when needed. My four companions in class pushed me to think about things from a different perspective, which then pushed me to decide what I believed in and how I would live out my faith.
Participating in Marianist LIFE after school was another opportunity that introduced me to others and talk about my faith. I formed strong bonds with the other people from CJ that went on LIFE week the same year that I did. This was one of my first intentional faith communities, because we chose to live our faith together outside of meetings. These people became some of my best friends as we continued to grow closer and share more. I found a support system here that was established upon faith, and I learned that this was something I would continuously need to foster.
Here I am, several years later, in an intentional faith community at UD with six other girls. Throughout this year we will host events for the entire university community to invite others to deepen their faith. We have also set aside time each week to share in prayer, conversation, and food as a community. This is something that I find great value in after my experience of faith communities at CJ. My time at CJ taught me the importance of who to surround myself with and how to find these people.
Another way that CJ has helped me to find my faith and comfort in it was from prayer at the beginning at most, if not all, of my classes during high school. Teachers would take time to pray with us before class. I did not realize how special this way until college when it was missing. Now during my junior year, I have my first class in college in which we have structured prayer every day, something which gives me a sense of comfort in such a chaotic and unfamiliar time.
CJ instilled a deeper appreciation for prayer and structured faith communities in me. Without the CJ community and wholesome experience this year would be very different for me. Even in this unpredictable and ever-changing time I know that I can turn to my faith, something I learned at CJ. Thank you to the faculty and staff and my classmates for helping me to value my faith more and grow in it."
Samantha Evans, Class of 2018
-- This story was published on November 20, 2020.