Women of Christ Wednesday: Why Ana Plumlee Remains Catholic

Ana is considered a cradle Catholic, but says she is a revert, because she fell away from the Church for a brief time (still continuing to go to Mass!). Many of Ana’s friends joke that she knows half the priests in her home diocese, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, because it seems as if she knows every priest she meets! She is a Theology major at Notre Dame College in South Euclid, OH. Commonly seen on her college campus (or other places) in leggings and a hoodie and holding a rosary, Ana is a Chai Tea lover, an avid fan of the Harry Potter series, and listens to heavy metal, as well as Matt Maher. She fangirls over Pope Francis regularly. She also enjoys being with friends and family, playing violin, singing, rollerblading, reading, writing, and spending time with her three Labrador Retrievers and her cat. When asked who her favorite saint is, she says, “All of them!” but has a particular soft spot for St. Thomas Aquinas (after whom she was nicknamed, and it stuck!) and St. Pope John Paul II.

 

 

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I’m not a Catholic because I was baptized. I’m not a Catholic because I was born into a family that was Catholic. I am a Catholic because I choose to be. I am so blessed to have had parents who decided to have me baptized and raise me in the Church, but it was me who chose to stay a Catholic. I am a Catholic because I belong in the Church. The Church protects me. The Church loves me. The Church, rather than oppressing me as a woman, cherishes and frees me.

 

I am loved so much that someone died in the most painful way possible, on a horrifying day, killed for doing something that wasn’t even wrong. Someone became sin….my sin. His name is Jesus Christ. He bled. He was whipped, mocked, tortured. But he never fought back. He went to his death…his wrongful death…because he loved me, even before he knew me.

 

The rules? Yeah, there’s rules. But the rules are freeing. To be bound to be obedient is a very freeing thing. That sounds oxymoronic, but it’s really not. If I’m bound to be obedient to the Church, I don’t have to choose whom to obey….the secular world, or God? Every time, the choice is to be obedient to God. I have a set moral code. Obedience requires me to stick with it.

 

Not that I’m saying it’s easy. It’s actually really hard to be obedient. I’m not having a ‘holier than thou’ attitude…I’m a sinner, too, and I have broken my fair share of commandments and Canon Laws. I have done so many bad things….and let me say this: When I go to confession, it takes me more than the 5 minutes that I want to give it. I am so ashamed of what I do, because it’s not what God would want me to do. My humanity makes me go off the path, but I can’t use that as an excuse. Confession is when I take things like a woman, and go own up to my actions. Not in a way that makes it seem like I’m proud of it, but in a way that humbles me.

 

I am a Catholic because I have Jesus in the sacraments. Every time I go to Confession. Every time I receive the Eucharist. When I go to weddings, baptisms and confirmations. I see Christ in funerals. I see Christ at the Mass, during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I could go on and on about the Eucharist…..but I don’t just see him in the Eucharist……Christ is the Eucharist. It becomes him through transubstantiation. Which is a completely humbling and mindblowing thing. When I go to Mass every day, I witness a miracle, daily. Christ literally comes to Earth to dwell in me. Every time I’m there, I am brought to tears during the Consecration.

I am Catholic because I don’t have to search for father figures. Priests have been there for me every step of the way. They have challenged me during my spiritual upbringing. I would be nowhere without them. 

I am Catholic because I have a Mother. Mary is my mother. The Church is my mother.

 

I’m not a Theology major because I’m a Catholic, nor am I Catholic because I am a Theology major. I am a Theology major because people inspired me, and God called me.

 

I’m not Catholic because I get what I want from God. I’m Catholic because God gave me his all.

Why Remain Catholic: Voices from the Youth

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This is a follow-up to Captain Elizabeth Scalia’s #WhyRemainCatholic challenge.

I’m bringing in answers from some of my fellow Catholic women who are young and young at heart.

Madeleine McIlheranOnce I finally gained an actual understanding of our faith as opposed to the “meh” approach of many Catholic schools, at the age of 12, I KNEW it to be True, and could never again doubt the Truth taught by the Church. As a matter of fact, the assurance of the Truth to be so, was the only thing that anchored me when I was going through my worst bout of depression at 13-15, and it was the only thing that stopped me from attempting suicide. As a person who naturally relies almost entirely on logic, as opposed to emotions or faith, I believe when I know something is the truth, and the Truth of the Gospel is the Most Firm Truth I know of, at least to me.

Mekelle Sofie Cecilia-Thérèse JensenI remain Catholic because if I don’t then I have no hope in anything, and then no reason to live.

Olivia Swinford: Because once I truly encountered Christ in the Eucharist during Adoration, I knew there was no turning back. The Eucharist gives me the strength to get through my week and the reassurance that God loves me so much that He wants to put His grace inside me. Once I went to confession and truly confessed everything I was ashamed of and I felt God clear it all away, I knew there was reason for the church that Jesus started. I stay Catholic because without it, more things don’t make sense. I don’t encounter the fullness of God and Truth anywhere else.

Illyana Joannes Paulus MoralesThe Catholic church is where I found God I feel his presence there in Mass. 
I can’t imagine ever leaving the catholic faith for another place. If I did leave itd be because I don’t believe in him and I do believe.

Shalei Benjamin: One huge reason was because I felt like it was the right thing for me. When I was in grade school and high school (and both were catholic) we had to go to mass every week and had religion classes. While that was great in helping me in my faith, it didn‘t challenge me in my faith. Once I was in college, I was able to be on my own and choose what I wanted to be and I chose to be catholic because that’s what I felt in my heart to be true. And ever since I’ve been out of college, I’ve felt my faith become stronger

Alex ScherbBecause the Catholic hurch is the universal church and the church of truth. If I wasn’t Catholic I have no reason to live.

Elizabeth KirbyBecause, from a purely logical standpoint, my personal beliefs would go between Christianity or complete apathy. I definitely don’t believe in Islam, Judaism, etc., so personally it’s that choice for me. it’s Catholicism or nothing. Historically speaking, the Catholics were the first to put the bible together and the descendants of the original apostles. We don’t edit to fit the times. That is the TRUE faith.

Secondly, even though I’ve come so close to giving up, something always calls me back and the thought of leaving hurts my heart. The thought of ever walking out of church doors and never coming back again is physically painful. Even though I struggle way more than many other people and am sometimes only nominally Catholic, the pull to stay is always stronger than the urge to give up.

Nancy IbarraI remain Catholic because of the significance of the tradition that we have. I used to go to Catholic school and my mom would take me to Mass, but as a child I honestly never understood any of it. I thought I did, but it wasn’t until I drifted far away from my faith that I began to discover the beauty of what we have. 

In college, I began to be exposed to all these alternative methods of thinking in my coursework, and all of it eventually sounded silly. Contemplating on the question “is there a God?” made me realize what people meant by how could all creation start from nothing? From this point, I began to seek meaning in our traditions as Catholics, and what I found was nearly every aspect of our religion is either from scripture or thousands of years of tradition. Very few other religions can claim both of these origins.

Now, I have not delved into other theologies, but there is a presence of love and warmth that I always feel when I learn about Catholic religion that I have never experienced when even speaking to others on their religion. 

Lastly, I believe in “showing, not telling.” Catholic religion believes in this strongly. Thus, perhaps the most important reason for me to be Catholic is that we are called to evangelize in our actions, not necessarily our words. That doesn’t mean don’t stand up and say when something is going wrong. But it does recognize that people are not moved to Catholicism because of the grandiose words said at Mass, but by how Catholics live. How we take Christ’s flesh and blood and are sent forth to share his love to the world. No other religion can claim that one

Emily Allen: I guess the simplest answer is because it’s true. I mean, that seems like a “duh” answer, by I consider myself pretty open minded. I understand not everyone’s experiences match my own, and I always try to sympathize and respect their beliefs. But in all my sympathizing and researching, I have never found anything as true as the church. And like some days I struggle with church teaching on some stuff. Sometimes I only agree and submit to things *because* it’s church teaching. But I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t think it was 100% true.

More to come soon!