The college years are often “make or break” when it comes to one’s Catholic faith. According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 80% of those who were raised Catholic ended up rejecting the Faith by the age of 23. Class of 2020 alumna Teresa Ford wants to change that reality. Starting this fall, she will be serving as a FOCUS missionary, helping students embrace the faith and encounter Christ’s love.
Christendom alumni have been working with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) for years now, including four Christendom alumni who served as FOCUS missionaries this past academic year. Ford, who hails from California, is now joining her fellow alumni in this noble call to help others. Equipped with a strong intellectual foundation, a passion for building community, and a desire to spread the Faith, Ford is an ideal candidate for this kind of mission work.
“I have been exceedingly blessed by the faith and personal formation I received at Christendom, and I feel compelled to share with others the gifts I have been given, the truths I have learned, and the love which I have received,” shared Ford.
When a team of FOCUS missionaries came to Christendom to speak about their ministry during her junior year, Ford was deeply moved by the personal testimonies they shared. Ford had been experiencing a strong desire to serve the Church through evangelization, and after learning about the acute need for the Gospel message on college campuses, Ford began to see that God was calling her specifically to this kind of ministry, which led to her applying and being hired as a FOCUS missionary during her senior year.
Now, Ford is preparing for her inaugural year as a missionary, completing online training with FOCUS over the summer. Ford recently received her campus assignment and is excited to serve the students at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she feels there will be ample opportunities to help students grow in knowledge and love of the faith.
Ford believes that her studies at Christendom will play an integral role in her ministry. As a philosophy major, Ford gained strong analytical and communication skills which will aid her when complex questions about the Faith arise. Moreover, the knowledge she has gained about human nature and ethics through the study of philosophy will be crucial as she ministers to students.
“I feel in particular the truths of human nature are going to be some of the most important things I can convey to students who find themselves in a culture that is so confused about the human person,” explained Ford. “It is so important to see that our Catholic faith is not a faith of arbitrary rules, but that it is a faith that understands the nature of the human person, and the commandments of our faith are there to help us become truly free, truly ourselves, and truly happy.”
Even more than the intellectual formation received at Christendom, Ford believes that the spiritual growth she has gained over the past four years will aid her as she helps others grow in their faith.
“The biggest blessing from my Christendom experience was the spiritual life I was able to sustain,” shared Ford. “Christendom made it easy to work the sacraments and time for prayer into my daily schedule. I have grown so much in my spiritual life during college, and there is no better preparation for life as a missionary,” shared Ford.
During her time at Christendom, Ford says she has found many mentors and friends who have been exemplars of Christian friendship — a role she hopes to play for those she ministers to at Franciscan.
The world needs great men and women who have a strong understanding of the Catholic faith and a passion for sharing it with others. Ford is set to do just that, fulfilling the mission of Christendom as a result — to restore all things in Christ.