marywester

Mary Wester

Student Blogger

Biography

Hello! My name is Mary Wester and I am a junior Early Childhood Education major here at Franciscan. My hometown is Mount Prospect, a quick train ride away from the beautiful city of Chicago. I am one of seven with six older brothers looking out for me. When I’m not in the classroom, I find myself going for runs or taking naps. God has planted the desire to travel in my heart, and I hope one day I can incorporate that into my future career.

Schmiesing: Born in the Spirit

I grew up number three in a family of seven children. My parents met as students at Franciscan, married, and never left. I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘traditional Catholic”—no hand-raising, speaking in tongues, etc. All that was somewhat foreign, even though, as kids, we saw a great deal of charismatic worship on campus.

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Schmiesing: Praying with Strangers

Standing in the middle of the hallway of Franciscan University’s academic building, Egan Hall, I found myself with eyes closed, hands folded, and praying with a complete stranger. Two of my household sisters were next to me, but I still couldn’t get past the fact that it was normal to pray in public with someone I didn’t know.

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Hughes: Forming a ‘Disciple’

In casual conversations with friends at Franciscan, you’ll often hear stories about saints with crazy heroic virtue. Francis of Assisi threw himself into thorns at the first inkling of temptation. Teresa of Avila levitated during her deep conversations and unions with the Lord. Padre Pio, well, Padre Pio once woke up…

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Watson: Fitting In

Whenever you enter a new environment or a new culture, it can take time to adjust. Thankfully, one of Franciscan University’s households helped me to navigate this time of adjustment.

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Jernberg: Traunsee Lake

We ran into this unexpected lake and stunning location on our way from Hallstatt to Linz! A few of us were even brave enough to jump into the freezing cold water.

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Niemaszyk: European Backyards, People, and Backpacks

In New Hampshire, my backyard has a shed, a pool, a large grassy area, a tree with a swing…things that are ordinary for a backyard to have. So far, the places I’ve stayed in Europe have had extraordinary backyards, with astounding nature and famous historical sights to replace the ordinary.

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Vodola: Relearning the Power of Prayer

A few days after my eleventh birthday, I was admitted to the hospital with a ruptured appendix. It felt like someone had spilled boiling soup all over my insides, and it landed me in the pediatric ward for more than three weeks.

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Jernberg: Hallstatt

After an amazing weekend of driving through central Europe, we had to head home from Lake Bled to Linz. In Linz we would drop off our rental car and then take a train back to Gaming. On our way back we were able to stop for lunch in Hallstatt and were lucky enough to soak in the beauty of this amazing town while munching on kabobs, good bread, and brie!

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Crites: Seeing Pope Francis in America

Regardless of whether they are Catholic, Pope Francis is someone who absolutely amazes Americans. He is puzzling, he is baffling. So when he came to America almost a year and a half ago for the first time as pope, twenty-four-hour news stations followed his every move.

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Schmiesing: Households are Families

Here at Franciscan University, we have a unique system called “Households.” Commonly explained as a “Catholic fraternity,” these small groups of men or women are united by more than just a banner, color, or t-shirt. Households are families.

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Jernberg & Niemaszyk: Beauty

My friends and I took advantage of our first free weekend. We spontaneously planned a trip in two days and ended up spending time in 4 countries: Austria, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia. It sounds like a lot, and hectic, and not worth it, but it was totally doable and a great asset to our Europe experiences.

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Niemaszyk & Jernberg: Avalanches

The Carthusian monastery I’m currently living and studying in has steep, slick roofs and Austria has snow built up on every surface from recent storms: the perfect equation for an “avalanche.” At any time of day, heavy snow will unexpectedly slide off the roof and crash to the ground, disturbing the silence and even waking people from their sleep in the midst of the night.

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The Best Paper in the World: The Troubadour

I joined The Troubadour as a freshman during my first week at Franciscan University. I came in as a mass communications major with a concentration in journalism and had high hopes to become a mainstream newspaper journalist. It made sense to join the school paper. I had been a part of my school paper in high school and wrote a few articles so had some experience that would help me be successful, but my editors gave me the tools I needed to do well. Within my first year at Franciscan, I wrote over 40 articles on topics ranging from expansions on campus, student government, the March for Life, and more.

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Crites: Reasons Why Franciscan Professors are the Best

Because of the very broad core program at Franciscan, Franciscan students have the opportunity to take classes with a wide variety of professors from different departments. Within my first semester, I knew there was something very special about this group of people who have dedicated themselves to the education of their younger brothers and sisters in Christ. So what is it that makes them the best?

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Jernberg: Arrival in Austria

My friend Isiah Springer-Blacke and I hiked to the steel cross on Book mountain last night. We were surrounded by fog and clouds until about seven pm when the sky cleared up and the stars came out!

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Schmiesing: We Continue to March for Life

Sometimes it seems that the March for Life is the Catholic/Pro-Life thing to do mid-January. We make our signs, try to sleep on a bus, stand for a few hours in the cold, catch up with old friends, shuffle along Constitution Avenue, say a rosary, pack up our things, and leave.

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Niemaszyk & Jernberg: If You Don’t Like the Weather, Wait Five Minutes

A common thing for students to do before beginning their semester in Austria is to visit a country a week before classes start. A popular destination is Ireland where students are surrounded by the Cliffs of Moher, beautiful countryside, and Irish culture. Four of my friends and I decided to break this tradition and take a riskier trip: explore the beautiful country of Iceland.

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Schmiesing: Coming Home

Most students returning from Austria will tell you similar things: “It was a great semester.” “It feels so weird being back.” “I’m still processing.” It was no different for me. As soon as I was home and waking up in my bed, the whole experience felt like a dream. Had I even left?

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Crites: Father Michael Scanlan: A Francis-like figure

I didn’t have the pleasure of ever meeting Father Mike. He left Franciscan before I was a student, but he still had such a significant impact on my life that losing him felt like losing a close, personal friend. His name was present from the moment I stepped foot on campus. I can’t remember the first time I heard his name. It was probably on my tour as a prospective student as we walked past his portrait in the J.C. Williams Center.

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Schmiesing: Remembering Father Mike

Even though I grew up in Steubenville and visited Franciscan frequently, I don’t have any vivid memories of Father Michael Scanlan. But he was always there, usually as one of the many priests at the altar during mass at Christ the King or in the Field House for Household Life.

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Baker: Departure and Return

The day had finally come for us to return to home. After we checked our diving gear back in, the class loaded up the vans and went to the airport. I took a few final photos of the sea campgrounds to chronicle my stay here and never forget my time in Florida.

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Baker: Journey to Shark Island

The following day we were blessed with gorgeous weather and once again boated out to Looe Key where the crisp blue waters awaited our return. After returning from Looe and eating lunch, we got to witness the transplanting of a captured nurse shark to the holding pond at camp. Up until this point, I had never seen a shark of any kind this close but seeing its gills move and tail flail as it was moved to the point was a sight of slight fear and amazement.

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Baker: Salt Water, Snorkeling, and Sharks

The first full day at the sea camp we got right to it. By the early morning we were in the water taking swim tests, and snorkeling at the nearby shores. It had been a while since I had snorkeled so I quickly became reacquainted with the taste of galleons of salt water.

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Witham: The Highs of the San Diego Mission

What a week. The highs of San Diego Mission triumphed over any challenges that the enemy tried to throw our way. It was a week submerged in prayer, fellowship and evangelism. I found myself emptied time and time again by ministering to children who were starving for true Love. My greatest hope is that the people I encountered did not encounter the imperfection that I am but the perfection that Christ is.

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Doudna: Voiceless Children of a New Generation

As I walked briskly down Independence Avenue in Washington, D.C. last autumn while visiting a friend, the click, click, click, click of my heels added to the cacophony of the street vendors, construction workers, vehicles, and the throng of people who each added their own particular noise to the mix. Where were they all going?

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