Christendom Grads Stay Focused on Missionary Work

January 9, 2004

Mary Claire Almeter wanted to do something important with her life after graduating from Christendom College in May of 1997. Throughout her four years at Christendom she had taught religious education classes at a nearby parish and had been involved with the College's pro-life ministry. But she still wanted to do more to fulfill the College's mission "to restore all things in Christ."

In 1998, Mary Claire learned of the newly-established Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) organization based in Colorado. The intent of this organization is to design a campus-based ministry that would foster among college and university students a deep conversion to Jesus Christ within the framework of the Roman Catholic Church. Their mission is fulfilled through small group Bible studies, personal discipleship, large group leadership training, and Christian fellowship.

Mary Claire was the first of seven Christendom grads to enter this particular missionary field. In fact, the founder of FOCUS, Curtis Martin, believes that the graduates coming out of Christendom College are duly suited and prepared to serve as missionaries because of their grounding in the fundamentals of Catholicism, Catholic apologetics and moral theology, Church history and philosophy, and their overall love of the Truth.

“In FOCUS’ work of evangelization with university students, we have found no better place to recruit new staff than Christendom College,” says Martin. “The graduates have an evangelistic fire and the intellectual formation to proclaim the faith with great effectiveness.”

Elisabeth Boever and Sarah Akers graduated from Christendom in 2000. They too, like Mary Claire, had the idea of going out into the world and spreading the Good News. They initially ventured to New Hampshire where they taught second and third grades respectively in a small independent elementary school. After a year of getting their feet wet, they yearned for more. They wanted to touch more lives and influence even more people. So they decided to join FOCUS. Now, Elisabeth, in her second year with FOCUS, serves as Campus Director at the University of Illinois and Sarah is in her third year serving as Campus Director at Benedictine College in Kansas.

“As I discovered the ways others had invested in me throughout my life, I came to the realization that I needed to share this opportunity,” says Boever. “There is a tremendous amount of benefit that comes in sharing the knowledge of the faith, and I am continually challenged to learn and grow. As FOCUS staff we strive to be a living witness of Christ in the lives of the students.”

Members of Christendom’s Class of 2002 Christine Wright and Katie Almeter also joined the ranks of FOCUS upon graduation. Christine is now the Campus Director at George Mason University in Virginia and Katie is a missionary at Illinois State University.

“College campuses are true mission grounds as so many of America’s college-aged students are spiritually starving and desperately in need of the Truth. After four years at Christendom, I feel better equipped in my own faith to go out and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Ben Akers and Heather Rankin graduated in 1998. Ben thought about a vocation to the priesthood and entered a seminary. Heather contemplated the religious life and visited a number of convents. After a short time, both of them realized that the religious life was not the vocation to which God was calling them. In 2000, they joined the staff of FOCUS and began dating each other. In August of 2002, Ben and Heather married and continued to work as missionaries at the University of Colorado, where Ben now acts as Campus Director.

“Christendom had a profound effect on my life because the Truth was presented in such a beautiful and coherent way,” says Akers. “College students today deeply desire the answers to the really big questions of life. By sharing this same Truth in a way that college students can understand, I've seen hearts change and have even witnessed conversions."

With the College’s mission and motto “to restore all things in Christ” always before the students at Christendom, it is no wonder that, besides entering the work force as lawyers, law enforcement officers, computer specialists, accountants and such, many graduates choose to work in the lay apostolate as missionaries and teachers, or enter the religious life serving the Church as priests, brothers, and sisters.



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