I met the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown in spring 2015 when I attended a weekend retreat at the Motherhouse to take a break from the stresses of grad school. I wouldn't have guessed that this new connection would eventually provide me with the perfect setting in which to finish out my graduate career. Over those three years, I stayed in touch with the community through breakfast meetings, attending retreats with other young women, or joining gatherings via Zoom when I was remote.
After I completed a yearlong clinical internship in Indianapolis at the end of June, I was afforded the opportunity to spend a week and a half living at Angela's Villa. During that time, I joined the Ursuline's summer ministry programs held at Potter's Wheel by facilitating activities and discussions about friendship and communication with the middle school children, and by leading discussions with mothers. Engaging with those groups was an incredible experience, and I enjoyed every child and mother that I spoke with. However, during that time, I was unexpectedly hit with a close deadline to complete my dissertation. I am so grateful for that timing, as Angela's Villa turned out to be the perfect setting to finish the two-year project.
I was able to start my days off on a positive note by working with the children or mothers at Potter's Wheel, which always left me feeling inspired. Most days, I joined other young volunteers and Sisters for lunch, dinner or both, or joined the Sisters for morning prayer or Mass. All of these experiences kept me grounded. With all of the time in between, free from my usual distractions, I was able to write with complete focus in the house or at nearby coffee shops. More than anything, I felt great support from the Sisters and the other volunteers. Leading up to my dissertation defense, it was so nice to know that I had so many people praying for me.
That week and a half was more fruitful than I could have anticipated. I hope that other young women will continue to be as blessed by fellowship and focus as Angela's Villa as I was!