by: Isabella Schatz
Growing up, I was baptized Catholic and went to Sunday School every week. I never understood why I was waking up early on Sundays to go to a class that meant nothing to me. My family never attended Mass apart from Christmas and Easter and for the majority of my childhood, Catholicism was a pretty foregin concept to me.
When I was 14, I was preparing for Confirmation and had the opportunity to go to Steubenville for my retreat. I remember feeling so out of place - like I had no idea what it meant to be Catholic. While I was at Steubenville, I got to experience Adoration for the first time in my life. The confusion I felt was very strong, however, once the Monstrance was in front of me, the confusion was gone. I fell to my knees in that moment, started crying, and knew - that was Jesus Christ. This was a huge turning point in my life.
I’ve been so blessed with the ability to go on multiple mission trips throughout the years but last summer I went to Mexico City both on a mission trip and to visit Our Lady of Guadalupe. One of the most amazing things I learned about Our Lady of Guadalupe is that, through the image alone and not just the Tilma, miracles have happened. This is important to know before hearing the rest of my story.
During this mission, our group stayed in a convent that had two floors. On the second floor there was a room with a long table and a full-size print of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There was one night in particular where myself and the other girls in my room were struggling. We decided to go to the chapel on the first floor around midnight to pray a rosary together. After we prayed, we decided to go upstairs to see the image. We walked into the room upstairs and sitting on top of the image was a stethoscope. The 5 of us circled around the table and prayed in thanksgiving for our faith.
One by one, each girl put the stethoscope on and listened for a heartbeat in Mary’s womb and one by one, no one heard anything. When I put the stethoscope on and placed it on Mary’s womb, I heard the faintest heartbeat. The sound became louder and it was so fast, much faster than my own heartbeat. I had everyone take their hands off the table and I looked under the table, but there was nothing. As soon as I realized I was hearing the heartbeat of Christ in Mary’s womb, I started sobbing. The joy that I imagine I would feel after hearing my own child’s heartbeat for the first time is the joy that overcame me. I passed the stethoscope to the next girl and each girl started to hear.
After returning home from this trip, things were different. Never have things gone back to “normal”. I am still only at the surface of my faith, but I am so excited to see what the Lord has planned for me and the people around me. I feel incredibly blessed to join this family at ChristLife and I am praying for the grace and strength to serve the Church and to do God’s will.