Vocational journeys: a sister’s young adult ministry in the Windy City

by Katie Mitchell, FSPA

Sister Katie Mitchell, left, with Catholics on Call group - photo courtesy of Catholics on CallMy ministry as a FSPA in Chicago puts me in daily contact with a wide range of young women and men. They gather on Chicago’s South Side at Catholic Theological Union, but they come from New York, Boston, Los Angeles and all across the country to reflect on their vocational journeys. These are young people who are discerning life as a sister, brother, priest or lay minister in the church. They are young women and men who are serious about their faith and have carved out several days to reflect on the possibility of a life of service in the church.

At Catholics on Call, these young Catholics have the opportunity to listen to and dialogue with speakers, hear others’ stories about their callings, visit ministry sites, have discussions and meet with mentors and peers. All of this is done in the context of prayer. For several years, I have been blessed to be a mentor, presenter and theological facilitator for Catholics on Call. It has been a joy to journey with these young people as they seek direction in their lives. I have seen young women and men find their place as lay ministers, and I have followed others who have entered religious life or the seminary.

Sister Katie Mitchell, back left, with Saint Mary Young Adult Catholics groupThey gather on Chicagoland’s North Side at Saint Mary Church, coming from the Chicago area and other parts of the United States but also from Colombia, Spain, Haiti, Mexico and other countries. Many, but not all, are students at Evanston’s Northwestern University. These are the young people I minister to as part of the Saint Mary Young Adult Catholics, a group which I began a year ago when I started ministry in faith formation at the parish. SMYAC gather frequently for faith sharing, Bible study, prayer, presentations on relevant topics, service projects, and for community and fun. SMYAC is for both single and married young adults––all at different places on their faith journey.

In addition to these ministries I am a member of CAVA, the Chicago Archdiocesan Vocation Association, and am the contact for vocation ministry at Saint Mary Parish. I am also completing my doctor of ministry degree at Catholic Theological Union, focusing my thesis project on evangelization with young adults.

As I seek to be a loving FSPA presence and give to others wherever I am, I receive even more as I witness the enthusiasm, authenticity and joy of these young people seeking faith, community and discipleship.

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