“At this moment of history, Christendom can only exist in small and self-contained places. But the Christian in such a place never settles for it, never hides in it, for he has a message to bring to the world.” Christendom founder Dr. Warren H. Carroll wrote these words to the first students of Christendom College in 1977, aiming to inspire them to go out into the world and “restore all things in Christ.”
In the 45 years since, over 3,000 alumni have heard these same words, using them as a springboard into their vocations—including recent alumna Maggie Black ’23. From a young age, Black felt the relentless tug to change the political culture for Christ and saw the liberal arts education offered by Christendom as the foundation necessary to not only succeed but thrive in the political arena. After years of study and numerous internships, Black is now taking the next step in her journey as the legislative correspondent for Senator John Barrasso from her home state of Wyoming. She will use all of her skills and passion to become an advocate for positive change in the United States.
Black’s story begins hundreds of miles away from the Shenandoah Valley in Cheyenne, Wyoming. A fifth-generation Wyomingite, Black says her interest in politics started at home, as the latest happenings in Washington, D.C., became regular topics of discussion around the dining room table. Soon enough, she was reading political books, joining a civic volunteer group at her local high school, and learning as much as she could about the hot-button issues impacting the nation.
What started as an interest quickly became a passion for Black. Why? Because being a good citizen was not optional for her—it was a necessity as a Catholic.
“My love of politics was sparked by my passion for cultural reform,” says Black. “From my earliest memories of political issues, I have felt a deep desire to be a part of advocating for meaningful conservative solutions.”
This story comes from the latest issue of Instaurare Magazine, the official magazine of Christendom College. Read more from Instaurare here!
As Black advanced year by year through her public high school, she began to discern the need for the right college to set her up for success in politics. She turned to the Newman Guide for guidance and stumbled upon Christendom, whose 100% Catholic faculty both surprised and attracted her.
Seeing a full immersion in both a rigorous liberal arts curriculum and a vibrantly Catholic culture as the exact one-two punch she was looking for, Black applied and was accepted to Christendom for the fall of 2019.
“I wanted to attend college at Christendom in order to be immersed in the Catholic culture and for the preparation I knew it would afford me for my chosen career in politics,” recalls Black. “At the time, I was unaware how personally transformative it would be for me to attend a faithful Catholic college or how crucial my Christendom education would be in my future career.”
As Black began her studies at the college, she also began to explore ways to gain experience in politics along the way. She took an internship in the college’s town of Front Royal, Virginia, with a former town councilman, which gave her the experience necessary to apply for a summer internship with Senator Barrasso in her hometown of Cheyenne. Upon finishing her freshman year, Black spent those few summer months speaking with constituents over the phone to address their concerns and helping them with issues related to various federal agencies. For her, the most significant takeaway from the experience was identifying her personal goals and working diligently to achieve them.
“I did not have much on my resume at this point, but I knew where I wanted to be and that I would work hard in every opportunity,” said Black.
Her summer internship with Senator Barrasso snowballed into additional opportunities, both on and off campus. Over the next three years, Black took on roles at the college as vice president and president of College Republicans, founder and leader of Christendom’s Network of Enlightened Women chapter, participant in the college’s Shield of Roses pro-life group, the manager of the student call center in the college’s Advancement Office, and president of the Senior Philanthropy Board.
Off campus, she continued to spend her summers gaining greater experience in nearby Washington, D.C., taking on opportunities at the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council, serving as a Policy Promotion intern and as an Education Policy Research intern respectively.
As her resume continued to grow, her confidence did as well—especially in sharing her Catholic faith in these secular work environments.
“During my internships in the secular D.C. area environment, I have been given the opportunity to be an example to others,” says Black. “Even if I never see the fruits of my witness, I hope that God can use my life to direct others to Him. Working in politics, there is no end to the controversial topics that are discussed within the office, and it is natural to bring up important social issues in conversation. These moments are opportunities to reflect on how best to characterize my deeply held beliefs so that others might come to Truth.”
Throughout all these experiences, Black turned continuously to her Christendom education. When she first chose to attend the college, she saw its liberal arts education as the ideal way of growing her written and spoken communication skills. As she entered her senior year, and with multiple internships now under her belt, her gratitude for her chosen course of study only continued to grow.
Finally, as the months wound down on her time at Christendom, Black’s determined pursuit of her career goals paid off. Armed with all her experiences and education in Washington and on campus, Black decided to reach out to her former supervisor at Senator Barrasso’s office in Wyoming, who recommended that she apply for a position in the D.C. office. Black applied, was brought in for an interview, and—less than a week later—was offered her first full-time position as the legislative correspondent for the Senator.
Years of preparation, hard work, and sacrifice, begun around the dining room table and completed around the classroom table, came to fruition at that moment for Black. This summer, she will officially begin the journey she has been pursuing since a young age—a journey she hopes more Catholics join in the future.
Black fully understands the challenges that lie before her in Washington and beyond. And yet, she remains undaunted. Why? Because, since 1977, Christendom College has been educating students for this very purpose.
“Catholics, and particularly the lay faithful, are called by the Church to order temporal matters according to God and to share the Gospel with the world,” says Black. “This high call is one for which Christendom students are well prepared, thanks to their liberal arts education, to take up especially as it relates to the political sphere. Both the charge ‘Dare to be Great’ and the motto of Christendom, ‘Restore all things in Christ,’ include within them an exhortation to form and articulate political positions in a persuasive manner with the goal of changing the culture for Christ.”
Written by Zach Smith