November 5, 2018
St. Catherine of Siena once said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
My name is Mary Briganti. I am currently a senior at UNO, working towards a degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Nonprofit Management.
Coming from a private school background, it was a shock my freshman year when it was difficult to talk about my faith with others, let alone live it, at a public university.
My sophomore year, JPII Newman opened, and Catholic life at UNO exploded! We now not only have a place to celebrate Mass together, but a place of greater involvement to create a Catholic Culture where college students are encouraged and invited to participate, learn, and grow together.
It became more common for me to run into other Catholics on campus and I was able to dive deeper into friendships with them.
Something that never ceases to inspire me is the courage that students at Newman have to reach out to their peers, both residents and nonresidents from study rooms, common areas, dorm rooms and the Omaha community to form friendships with God and others. They welcome them to dinner with speaker events, community nights, movie nights, and activities that inspire growth.
This last year, I transitioned from a community member to a resident of Newman Hall and experienced so much more spiritually. I became closer to other faithful college students who were all striving to challenge each other to follow Christ.
I had access to a beautiful oratory for Mass, and confession each day, and I developed a deeper faith life through personal and communal prayer, spiritual direction, retreats and Bible study.
JPII Newman not only gave me these many opportunities for personal and spiritual development, it also taught and encouraged me to become more of a confident leader as I entered into my career in the pro-life movement. Though this year has been a challenging one for me, I have learned that the most growth happens in struggle.
I have encountered God in such a concrete way and my relationship with him has moved from a surface level to a deep friendship.
God has called me to JPII Newman for a reason. He wants me to continue to grow closer to Him in a tangible way and to help others do the same. He is asking me to answer His call to love and to holiness daily in ways I never expect. He is asking me to continue to be bold, to be faithful, and to be not afraid of what He is calling me to do. Most of all, He is calling me to be uncomfortable because we were not made for comfort.
We were made for greatness.
Which brings me back to that quote from St. Catherine of Siena:
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
I pray that you continue to answer God’s call to be who he meant you to be. I pray that you are unafraid to set the world on fire.
Mary Briganti | Senior, UNO & Resident, Newman Hall