By: Sr. Mary Elizabeth
In early January, Sr. Mary Michael and I put on our cowboy boots (not literally) and headed down south to San Antonio, Texas! The occasion was the FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) SEEK Conference, which occurs every other year. This was our first time at SEEK, and boy, were we in for a jaw-dropping experience! We registered to have a table at this event to help promote vocations. Sister and I were surprised at the sheer size of it: 13,000+ college students! It was incredible, to say the least. We were moved by their enthusiasm, joy, and desire for truth. The conference took place in the heart of San Antonio, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, a short walk from the renowned Alamo.
To put this amazing conference into words is nearly impossible. SEEK is an opportunity for collegeaged Catholics to come together and hear amazing talks by well-known Catholic speakers, which for this conference included Audrey Assad, Fr. Michael Gaitley, Mark Hart, Matt Fradd, Sr. Miriam James Heidland, Scott Hahn, and so many others. It was breathtaking to attend Mass with several bishops and 400 priests presiding. We were able at certain times to join in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament together and pray the Divine Office in the middle of the convention center. Catholic fellowship was abounding!
Amongst our favorite moments from the conference was meeting all the young people who were unafraid to come up to sisters and speak with us regarding their discernment. There is so much HOPE in the Church! The talks were also very enjoyable. It was amazing to witness the longest lines for the Sacrament of Confession we’d ever seen in our lives! In fact, it was so long, that the local Fire Marshal had to regulate the line length because it was a fire hazard in the giant convention center! How incredible is that!? This event also gave us the occasion to visit our daycare and convent in San Antonio and our Mt. Carmel Home in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was wonderful to see all of our sisters, including some of our sisters who have recently been transferred there. What a blessing to spend time with familiar faces and meet new faces called to the same charism! We are all one family in Carmel DCJ!
During our two-hour drive to Corpus Christi, TX from San Antonio, Sr. Mary Michael and I enjoyed the different landscape in the south. The highway traversed across cactus and sage-filled areas! For us, this was a real sight in general, let alone in January! In Corpus Christi, we held their first annual Carmelite Day, which had about 20 attendees, both junior high and high school young ladies. It was a huge success and definitely not the last time we will be amongst them!
To close our visit to the south in mid-winter, we couldn’t help but take a walk to the beach, located just a few minutes walk from the convent! It’s definitely NOT like Missouri to see palm trees in January! It made me recall God’s infinite ocean of mercy, and how our sins are lost in the depths of the sea. Our God is so good! Just “sea” the pictures on the next page to catch a glimpse of the SEEK Conference, Carmelite Day, and the ocean!