I’ve gone to Catholic school for most of my life, but I’ve never felt a very strong connection to the faith until I came to Loyola.

In the second semester of my freshman year I signed up for a class called “The Bible and The Media” thinking that I could knock out a religion credit while secretly studying what I really love: Journalism. Sr. Terri Bednarz, the course’s teacher, had a different plan for me though.

Over the course of about 4 months, Sr. Bednarz dismantled everything I thought I knew about my faith and made me question myself as a Catholic. This was the only time anything like this had happened in my life and it was by far the most fulfilling religious experience of my life.

Every other religion teacher I’ve had in my life has been perfectly content with me staring at my feet in mass and being able to count the commandments on my fingers. Sr. Bednarz has me looking up passages in the Bible that have been attributed to different subjects such as climate change, gay marriage and abortion rights.

She didn’t want us just taking her word on what they meant though. The class spent the semester each picking a passage, finding it in the earliest available version of the Bible and looking through it in a historical context that is often lost in translation. We all presented our findings and discussed each passage heavily in class.

This was the first time I’d really been in a class where students not only discussed their studies and religion openly, but did so in an incredibly civil way. I can’t think of a single time Sr. Bednarz had to stop us or set us straight, if anything she could get a little more caught up and passionate in the discussions than us.

“The Bible and The Media” is clearly the religious turning point in my life that turned me from a believer to a Catholic. I follow an interpretation of the Bible that is my own, but still follows the Church. I finally feel ready to discuss my faith and live as  Catholic in the modern world.

Thanks to Sr. Bednarz I’m not apathetic, I’m not a “Jesus-freak,” I’m not a sheep, I’m a Catholic. And I can say that with confidence and pride.

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