When times get tough, it’s nice to know there is always someone to lean on for support, advice, and to guide you through.
For Keuka College junior Maria Wayne, her “someone” is God, along with her strong Catholic belief.
“The lives of the modern human are filled with noise,” says Maria, a child and family studies major. “Distractions fill our days with multitasking activities, leaving little time for spiritual nourishment. The life of a college student can be particularly daunting in this way. For me, religion and spirituality are safe havens from those problems. Faith is a stronghold to lean on, and when everyone else is busy, I know I can turn to God and be fulfilled.”
Maria says she comes from a deeply religious Catholic family, and she has always relied on her faith to get her through the struggles of her life, and move her toward her goals. So when she had the opportunity to use her Field Period® and attend the Catholic Worldview Fellowship course in June 2017, she took advantage of the chance to delve deeper into her faith.
The Catholic Worldview Fellowship seeks to contemplate reality from the standpoint of faith, and aims to provide a life-changing experience where students discover and develop their God-given talents, as well as view their lives and futures through the lens of the Catholic faith. Fellows spend three weeks at Schloss Wissen, a German castle with origins dating back to the 14th century, and one week in Rome—the epicenter of Catholicism.
To assist with the financial cost of this trip, Maria received a Spiritual Exploration Field Period® Scholarship, which challenges students to work either in an overtly spiritual or religious organization, such as a church, church camps, or religious charities. The student must also demonstrate that this Field Period® will engage his or her own spiritual beliefs in a clear way.
“Rome is an important place to learn about the Catholic faith, as the Pope lives in the Vatican and there is a huge amount of Catholic history found there,” says Maria. “Rome was a whirlwind of activities and places to see, and the Vatican is awe-inspiring for anyone I think, regardless of one’s faith. It is beautiful and there is so much to take in.”
And while Maria understands the importance Rome has in the Catholic church, she believes her time in Germany was more impactful.
“Our time in Germany was a retreat away from the world, and we prayed and meditated together daily, had classes, and spent time getting to know one another,” Maria says. “On the weekends, we went to the cities of Aachen and Cologne, and one day I went to the Netherlands with a few of the Fellows. The experience here was very moving, and is something that truly cannot be described to other people unless you are there.”
And Maria believes her time abroad “definitely” helped strengthen her faith.
“It answered many questions that I had concerning my faith,” she says. “For the first time, I felt at peace with my life and what I believed, which is a truly wonderful feeling. This is important to me because my family is very faith-based, and it plays a huge part in who I am, and who I wish to be. Being surrounded by people who helped me answer my questions—both about my faith, and myself in general—was truly life-changing.”
Traveling with the Catholic Worldview Fellowship was important to Maria, because spiritually, she found it to be “an amazing experience.”
“This trip allowed me to learn more about my faith, and in doing so, have a deeper grasp of the church,” says Maria. “I also realized that change and bettering of oneself cannot be solved in a month-long trip such as this, but it certainly helps one see things in a new light. To grow, sometimes we must be taken out of the norm and placed into something completely different. This trip did just that, and by learning about other cultures, I think it will help me to be more compassionate to others.”