A while back I posted about a program designed to empower Catholic young adults and help to prepare them for leadership roles in the Catholic Church called ESTEEM. Today, the New York Times column "On Religion" profiles a student participant and her mentor in a piece called "Helping Catholics Remain Catholic in a Setting of Nietzsche and Beer Pong."
From the story:
In her [Yale student Marysa Leya] four years at Yale, which culminate in commencement this weekend, she never missed a Sunday Mass and joined in weekly discussions of scripture. As a typical underachieving Yalie, she also drew cartoons for the student newspaper, captained the club tennis team, participated in a Polish cultural society and, oh by the way, earned her way into Northwestern’s medical school with a 3.78 grade point average as a biology major.
For all that, perhaps because of all that, Ms. Leya has also become part of a nationwide pilot program designed to keep actively Catholic college students just as actively Catholic after the last mortarboard has tumbled to earth. The program, Esteem, has operated from the contrarian premise that a college graduate who is suddenly reduced to being the young stranger in a new parish may well grow distant or even alienated from Catholicism.
“I can’t imagine shirking my faith,” Ms. Leya said in an interview this week at St. Thomas More, the Catholic chapel and center at Yale, “but how do you keep it important around all the chaos of med school? How do I become a meaningful member of a new parish? How do I allow the kind of experiences I’ve had here to continue?”
For Ms. Leya, like about 70 other students on six campuses, Esteem has provided intensive education in the Catholic practice, especially the role of laity, and a handpicked mentor who combines professional success with religious devotion. In Ms. Leya’s case, he is Dr. Leo M. Cooney Jr., a professor of geriatric medicine in Yale’s medical school, and, as important, a veteran of his own spiritual walkabout.
Read the full article here.
Michael J. O'Loughlin