Seeking Simplicity - A Letter from Erin

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Hello Sweet Friends,

My name is Erin and I want to share with you a short story about my life. 

When I graduated college in 2011 I began a retail job in which I was surrounded by products. I soon found myself in a bubble that valued worldly items over people. While this became my work reality, at home I also became caught up in the desire to obtain new things without fear of excess- even comparing what I did have to others. 

It was during this time that I began to learn about sustainable living, the impact of my consumer decisions and what it meant to live a life of simplicity. I soon realized that God did not intend for me to continue down the path I was headed and that I needed to make a change. I can’t say that it was an exact moment in time that I came to this understanding but rather I felt a slow, steady hand leading me to live a more intentional, simple lifestyle. The Holy Spirit was at work.  

Since feeling that initial desire to reevaluate and simplify my life six years ago, I have been on a journey which has included deepening my prayer life, learning more about sustainable living and supporting companies that are making a positive impact on the world. 

As a Catholic woman, choosing this lifestyle has allowed me to focus more closely on my relationship with God and develop a deeper understanding of the things that I truly need in life. It has also helped me to see that there are so many people at work behind each part of my day- from the clothes I wear and the food I eat to what I watch and read- I need to be intentional with what I consume. For me, this is what a life of simplicity looks like- finding God in all things.

So, I want to encourage you sweet sister. Find the beauty in simplicity. Just as Saint Teresa of Calcutta lived a life of simple ways we too can discover Christ by choosing to seek simplicity. 

Peace sweet friends,

Erin


Get to know Erin

Erin is a 28 year old working at Catholic Relief Services on the Ethical Trade program and seeks God by embracing a conscious lifestyle. 

What do the first two hours of your day look like? 

As a single lady, my mornings are slow and quiet. I typically begin each morning with a short devotion or reading, often accompanied by a simple concoction of apple cider and water, and then catch my local bus to head into the city for work. I’m usually the first one to arrive on my floor so I turn on the lights, head to my standing desk and dive into emails and news articles. My mornings are simple - just the way I like it. 

What's your favorite part of working at CRS? 

Where do I begin? It is truly an incredible blessing and privilege to work at Catholic Relief Services (CRS). I walk into my office each day thankful and proud of the work that we carry out around the world and for my colleagues both in the U.S. and overseas. I have had the opportunity to celebrate mass with amazing bishops and cardinals, travel to projects overseas and speak to students and adults about the life-saving work the Church carries out around world. In my current role on our Ethical Trade team I find so much joy in learning and educating others about conscientious consumption.

What's one fear that keeps you up at night? 

As a 28 year old single woman I often struggle being one of the only ones within my close group of friends or family that does not have a spouse. While my heart yearns for marriage, I know God is working in His timing and I remain patient in prayer.

Tell us about the first time you experienced a strong sense of belonging in the Catholic Church. 

I believe God puts people in our lives during special times to teach us something.  For me, my year of second grade was just that. I vividly remember second grade because of Sr. Ruth. She as A Sister of Charity who taught me to love Jesus and Mary and ultimately, the Church. Throughout that year, I felt that I was connected to her through something bigger than myself- a love for the Church and a sense of belonging. 

Tell us about a woman you look up to. 

I briefly mentioned this woman in my story but since I was a little girl I have always had a strong devotion to Saint Teresa of Calcutta. I remember being so drawn to her as a kid and remember the moment in grade school when the principal came over the intercom to ask for a moment of silence upon receiving news of her passing. Despite my young age I knew the world had lost someone special. Since that time, I have learned a lot about this great saint and continue to discover more about her through colleagues and friends. 

Favorite character ever. Go!

I have always, always, always loved Julie Andrews so without question, Maria von Trapp. This will surprise no one you ask. Sound of Music was my favorite movie growing up. She can sing, she can dance, she can raise a family of seven children and climb every mountain God puts in front of her (okay, I had to- I can’t get the song out of my head). To me, Maria is the epitome of a strong, beautiful, Catholic woman. 

For those seeking a sustainable lifestyle, Erin recommends checking out the CRS Ethical Trade shopping guide where you will find a variety of great sustainable companies. An extra bonus about this list is that all of the companies have been vetted through Catholic social and moral teaching, so they do not support anything counter to the Church. Enjoy!