Monica Korol and Fr. Joseph Hattie, associate chaplain of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College. Photo by Monica Sifert

Spiritual direction puts student back on course

By  Monica Sifert, Youth Speak News
  • September 29, 2017

All through high school, Monica Korol struggled to find reasons why she should practice her faith. After being nominally Catholic her whole life, she started to become suspicious about Catholicism.

At age 16, Korol came across a quote from Socrates in Grade 11 while reading Plato’s Apology: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” This idea prompted Korol to think more about her faith, and ask some tough questions.

Unfortunately, she felt that her Catholic high school in Strathmore, Alta., did not supply many answers to her questions.

The pursuit of understanding more about her faith continued after high school, when Korol moved to Saskatoon, where she obtained a business certificate from Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

The friends she left behind in Strathmore were a big influence and encouraged her to attend Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College (SWC) in Barry’s Bay, Ont., to develop more of a foundation in the Catholic faith.

“Loneliness really opened me up to the grace which brought me to SWC, and which eventually led to my conversion,” said Korol.

Two years ago, at age 19, she began her first year at SWC, studying theology, philosophy, literature and history.

“I was always pretty curious about Catholicism,” she said “I never had a clue what the faith was really about until I attended Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College.”

Korol was introduced to spiritual direction through associate chaplain Fr. Joseph Hattie and says it has helped her find a different way to build a relationship with God.

Although Hattie said that for some students it takes a year or two to seek spiritual direction, Korol sought support shortly after arriving.

“I would say that 85 per cent of students have some problem of being aware of what they should be doing, but do not appreciate their relationship with God enough to be continually building up good habits in their faith,” said Hattie, who has been at SWC since 2011.

Korol studies literature and philosophy, working towards a bachelor’s degree in Catholic Studies, while continuing to draw inspiration from the chaplaincy and her prayer life.

By discovering what it truly means to be Catholic, Korol now takes her formation and love for learning the truth with her in her final year at SWC as a student and Residence Assistant on campus.

“I believe that the liberal arts studied from a Catholic perspective, in other words for the pursuit of truth for the sake of living well, is what a Catholic should be,” she said.

(Sifert, 21, is a third-year Christian Humanities student at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College at Barry’s Bay, Ont.)

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