Growing Faith through Community and Service
"Coming to USD as a freshman, I was really nervous. I didn't know a lot of people and I was super homesick for the first couple of months."
Those words are certainly not atypical for a new college student leaving home for the first time. And for senior Mackenzie Maurer, it was a very real part of her early college experience. Thankfully, Maurer's faith and passion for service helped guide her to wonderful resources on campus, including a welcome and open community of people she now calls some of her best friends.
Faith is a large part of the campus culture at USD, as is the commitment to helping those less fortunate. Maurer became involved with University Ministry by attending the weekly masses on Wednesday and Sunday nights. From there, she participated in service opportunities and retreats like trips to St. Vincent de Paul and Tijuana, and annual faith-based events like the All-Faith Service. "[They] have really enhanced my spirituality because they have allowed me to see how God is reflected in my community and to incorporate a sense of service and justice into my definition of my faith," she says.
Like many of her fellow Toreros, Maurer sees the beauty of USD as a reflection of the univeristy's connection to truth and goodness. "It's a really beautiful community and I think God really shines through in it," she says. Often, students find themselves stressed about exams or dealing with personal issues and need some late-night clarity. Founders Chapel on campus is open 24 hours a day and is frequently used by students to reflect, meditate and pray. "I've walked in at midnight or 1 a.m. to just sit and feel God's presence," Maurer says.
When reflecting on her experiences at USD, Maurer knows how important it is to connect with the campus community: "I feel incredibly connected to the community at events like 'Take Back the Night' or the candlelight vigil for the LGBT community or 'March of the Toreros' where we all come together to show our love and support for other members of our community ... The people that you'll meet are there to make you feel welcome and included and want you to have the best experience at USD."
For more information about University Ministry, click here.
"I feel so alive when I'm working for change, and when I hear other people talk about justice and how they would like to change the world."