By Nick Servi, The Circuit.
Seven Benedictine College students are becoming Focus missionaries after graduating in May: seniors Peter Reimer, Patrick Schmitt, Catherine Kluempers, Kendra Stewart, Jordan Canella, Mary Downey and Marie Putbrese.
The seven seniors applied to FOCUS online and spent a weekend of fellowship with other applicants while being interviewed by the FOCUS missionaries at BC. Each applicant received a phone call within two months telling them whether or not they were accepted.
The women had their FOCUS interview weekend in the fall semester and the men had the opportunity to have it in either the fall or spring.
Putbrese has been involved in FOCUS since her freshman year at BC, participating in FOCUS mission trips, bible studies and other events FOCUS sponsors on campus.
“I decided to become a missionary because I want to do ministry,” Putbrese said. “I came to BC as a theology major because I see truth in the Catholic Church and I want to help others see the truth.”
“I wanted to be involved in FOCUS because I saw how helpful it is for college students,” she continued. “Students make decisions that can change the rest of their lives. By helping someone in college, you can help them with their life. I want to be able to help in that way.”
The new FOCUS missionaries will spend a month for staff training at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida and then two months visiting mission partners—people they asked to support them through prayers and financial gifts—during the summer.
FOCUS missionary Meagan Gitchell says FOCUS looks for faithfulness, zeal, teachability, indomitability, professionalism, leadership and being a team player in the students applying to be missionaries.
Gitchell believes it is important to help all the applicants decide if they are meant to be missionaries.
“I think it’s a beautiful gift to enter into the temple of souls and to help someone discern if the Lord is calling them to be a missionary,” Gitchell said.
Gitchell believes her own experience as a missionary helped bring her closer to God.
“My ‘yes’ to FOCUS was my ‘yes’ to Jesus in the most radical way at the time,” Gitchell said. “It’s been the best ‘yes’ of my life. Walking with the Lord has brought me more joy and freedom than I could have possibly imagined for myself or the other people in my life.”
Other seniors are becoming missionaries with different organizations.
Senior Sam Halligan is going to be a missionary at Damascus Catholic Camp in Ohio, which runs Catholic Youth Summer Camp.
Senior Greg Rynda will serve as a missionary with Family Missions Company, a lay Catholic organization.
Senior Elena Weaver is serving with Youthworks in Detroit.
Senior Anna Maestas is serving with Christ in the City.
SPO missionary Will Carey believes the seniors this year are going to do incredible things after graduation, regardless of whether they become missionaries or not.
Seniors Alaina Knapp, Emily Kane, Augustine Calvino and Danielle Medina will become St. Paul’s Outreach (SPO) missionaries after graduating in May.
Calvino has been involved with SPO since his freshman year at Benedictine College and believes his time with SPO increased his faith life.
“SPO is a community of people which intentionally pursues relationship with the Lord and one another while seeking to invite others into those relationships,” Calvino said. “I encountered that community during my freshman year and quickly found a consistent depth of brotherhood and prayer that was amazing and new to me. I experienced being valued and loved by the welcome that these men and women had for me.”
“It was by their example that I began a committed prayer life and was encouraged to step outside my comfort zone to be a missionary for Christ—to spread the love I had received to others,” Calvino continued. “By continuing in the community life of SPO over the last couple years, I have grown deeper in the areas of prayer, commitment, selflessness, and confidence in being loved.
Calvino accepted being an SPO mission leader after graduation because he wants to share that experience he had in SPO with others. “I look forward to the opportunity for greater freedom to live for and trust the Lord in an undivided way as a mission leader,” he said. “I look forward to the grace that Christ will pour out through me to bring his children conversion.”