When I was preparing to study abroad at the University of Edinburgh for the spring of 2019, my one constant prayer was, “God, please bring me one Catholic friend.”
I was incredibly anxious to be leaving my Catholic student community at my university in the states, and felt I would be satisfied with just one good friend whom I could share my faith with. Not only did I find one Catholic friend, I found several, all thanks to St. Albert’s.
My time abroad was critical for my faith in ways I did not expect. For the first time in my undergrad career, I felt that I finally had time to invest in my own spiritual journey, which meant attending a mass or two throughout the week, sharing midweek meals, and joining the Young Women’s group, led by Lilian. St. Albert’s provided a unique opportunity for me that I did not have elsewhere: I could encounter people from all over the world who share my Catholic faith.
In particular, my Young Women’s group was an incredible experience that showed me what a community of loving, faithful women can look like. I found myself being challenged in what I believe and how I live through discussions, and met some incredible joy-filled women I am lucky to still be in touch with today. Even in weeks without formal discussion, we would sit together over a cup of tea and share lots of stories and laughter, solidifying the friendships I formed. My experience in Young Women’s Fellowship was so formative that I brought a bit of the structure and learning back to my own women’s group I led at my university in the US. I wanted to provide the same accountability, consistency, and encouragement that I found with those women.
St. Albert’s for me was a safe haven, a place where I knew I could always go and be with amazing students. The connections I made at St. Albert’s are long-lasting and far-reaching: this past summer I met up with two students from the CSU back in the states, and I now am participating in online Young Women’s Fellowship with alumni! The CSU at St. Albert’s modeled for me what the experience of the universal Catholic church ought to be: they extended their arms open wide and welcomed me, and walked along with me on the journey of faith and friendship. Although my time in Edinburgh was short, the people at St. Albert’s made my experience abroad incredibly meaningful for which I am forever grateful!
Liz Murphy was an exchange student in Semester 2 2018-2019. She has just graduated from Washington University and will be joining Anheuser-Busch full time in their Commercial Training Program.