For rising senior Johanna Burke, her past three years at Christendom College have given her a new passion for learning.

During her public high school education, Burke admits that she viewed learning as mostly a means to an end, whether that end was to achieve an A on a paper or simply a good job upon completion of her education. While her high school offered challenging and quality education, she knew that something was missing: a passion for learning for a higher end.

“My philosophy class Contemplation and Philosophical Life made me realize why I am so blessed to be at a place like Christendom,” shares Burke. “We covered the art of philosophy and how wisdom takes a lifetime of commitment, a real docility to the Truth, and good teachers. I learned just how easy it is to fall into error. I realized, in a very Socratic way, that the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. This created in me a true desire to continue reading and pursuing Truth.”

Burke’s experiences in public high school helped create in her a desire for pursuing Truth and wisdom in a Catholic environment.

“At times public school could be a very toxic environment,” she says. “I knew it only became worse in college. I grew tired of that negative, destructive culture and the way that people interacted.”

Burke’s strong Catholic views were often in the minority at her high school, and although her beliefs were challenged at times, it only served to impel her toward a further knowledge and grasp of Truth.

“At public high school, I understood what it meant to have my views challenged, and I knew my views had to be fortified by the Truth,” continues Burke. “I knew that it would be very beneficial for me to make like-minded friends in a community where I wasn’t the token Catholic, where I could actually learn and absorb my faith and see it lived out.”

This story appears in the summer 2018 issue of InstaurareSee more from the issue here!

For Burke, attending Christendom College has allowed her the freedom to explore and claim her faith. Helping her achieve that freedom was Dr. Phil Crotty, a friend and mentor to college president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell since his years studying in Rome. Crotty’s years of active support of Christendom started when the college opened its doors and, as a member of the 40th Anniversary Gala Host Committee, continues to this day. Crotty continues to support Christendom and its faithful students by contributing to the Sponsor a Student program, enabling students like Burke to succeed.

“Thank you so much, Dr. Crotty, for sponsoring my education at Christendom,” says Burke. “Christendom has given me so many wonderful things. I know that when I graduate, I will go on pursuing wisdom by continuing my education, nurturing my spiritual life, and cultivating rich friendships, all of which I have been able to do at Christendom.”

Burke believes that the formation and education that she has received from Christendom, especially through her philosophy classes, has given her a much deeper understanding of human nature and has inspired her to help others. While Burke is also considering campus ministry, she aspires to pursue a master’s in psychology and become a certified counselor so she can live out the principles she has learned at Christendom.

“After graduation, that’s when a lot of people put the books down,” reflects Burke. “But I’ve come to realize my love for all the things that I’ve learned at Christendom, and so after I graduate, I have no doubt that my attraction to these worthy pursuits will only continue to grow.”

Because of Christendom College’s complete rejection of federal funds, there is an average shortfall of $5,000 per student each year. Christendom relies on generous benefactors to help bridge this gap so that students like Johanna can thrive at Christendom. To learn more about Sponsor a Student, please visit www.christendom.edu/sponsor or call 540-551-9300.

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