May 6, 2019
Omaha, Nebraska. The last place on earth I ever imaged myself going for graduate school. Prior to moving here, I could not even point out Nebraska on a United States map.
Home is in a city just north of Detroit, Michigan. I am a non-traditional student and have worked the past seven years in various Detroit-area hospitals as an x-ray and CAT scan tech in emergency departments. I have many exciting, scary, sad and joyful stories to tell of the amazing patient interactions I was blessed to have during my radiology work. Although very good, Radiology was never my passion, and I felt I needed to follow previous career dreams that I had suppressed. God called me to Omaha to pursue those dreams.
I accepted the offer to attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Athletic Training Master’s program. Next, I began looking for apartments and searching for Catholic young adult happenings. During my search, I was looking at the archdiocesan website and saw information about a Newman Center that offered housing.
A mix of living and Catholic stuff, exactly what I was looking for. It seemed like a good location in proximity to school, and they said they offered daily sacraments, so I was sold. I signed my contract before ever seeing the building.
July 2, 2017, I arrived at the JPII Newman Center to move in. The building was impressive! Everything so nice and new and modern. My mother and I cried when we saw that my floor’s lounge was named the “little way” lounge in honor of St. Therese. My parish back home is a St. Therese Basilica; thus, I felt that much closer to home. Small details made a large impact. St. John Paul II crucifixes hung over the entrance of every apartment, common spaces had names reflecting saints, and residents all shared a love for their faith.
During the past two years, I have been blessed to be involved in community events, be a lector, serve as service community chair on the parish council, co-lead a blood drive, and be big sister to my amazing brother and sisters in Christ that I met through the community. I get to walk downstairs and go to Mass!!! What a gift to be a lay person but have the perks of community religious life with daily sacraments!! Last year, during a prayer team meeting, I was given the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. Although I have had a very amazing spiritual life, praying in tongues was unlike any prior experience. I can best describe it as my heart literally being ripped open and pouring itself out to its creator. It was a conversation of love that I will never forget.
May 3, 2019, I will be graduating with a Master’s degree (hopefully with a 4.0gpa) and will be a ceremony marshal, carrying a gonfalon banner. Two years went by so fast, and I will miss everyone so much. I am so grateful for my two years spent at the JPII Newman Center. Please keep me in your prayers as I begin my next adventure with Christ in Salt Lake City Utah for a seasonal internship with Major League Soccer team, Real Salt Lake.
Christine Center, ATC | UNO Graduate ’19 & JPII Newman Alumna