Grace in Mistakes - A Letter from Emily

Dear Friends,

About three years ago I remember sitting in mass on a particular Sunday & hearing a homily that changed my entire outlook. At this time in my life I was in a cycle of partying, un-fulfillment, anxiety & depression. I was grasping onto so many people & things that I knew would never bring me true happiness, but continued to cling to them despite that knowledge. I was going through the motions of attending mass every Sunday (I later reaped graces from this) ... but still, I was only going out of obligation. It felt like I "had to"... some call that "Catholic guilt." (I was someone who thought this too!)

It was on that night three years ago that one special priest touched my heart so deeply with his words that I wrote them down & have frequently reflected on them since. He said:

"It was through my sins that I learned the most & I wouldn't take them back... because it was through them that I realized I wasn't happy... & I wasn't the person that I wanted to be." - Father B, 1/26/14 

His statement struck me as such a merciful outlook. Prior to then I believed the Catholic Church to be so rigid & unforgiving. Because of this belief I had been living in fear. I felt oppressed & was ashamed of who I seemed to have become in contrast to what the Catholic Church expected me to be. I felt inadequate. Can anyone relate?! I knew the decisions I should be making, but continued to choose the alternative. All out of the fear that I couldn't be better & was already written off as "a failure" in so many people's eyes & in the eyes of the Church...

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... I could not have been more wrong!!!

I will be forever grateful to Father B for helping me to see what the Catholic Church stands for & what it actually means to be a woman of faith. It was his loving & open heart that touched mine & led me on a journey I could not have ever imagined.

The beauty of our faith is that where mistakes abound... grace & forgiveness flow evermore.

I must echo to all of you what Father B. shared with us that night...

It was truly through my mistakes that I was able to find my true self. I found my passion in mission work & in nursing, both of which still push me everyday to be more outwardly focused, more loving & more forgiving & accepting of others. In turn, they have helped me to love, forgive & accept myself.

If you can take one thing away from my mistakes let it be this:

Never let this world break you... Do not let the modern-day perception of the Church define your understanding. Try to seek out the truth. We aren't defined by our mistakes, but more-so by the little decisions we make each day, that bring us closer to eternal happiness, & closer to being a person capable of love, grace & growth. What more could we aspire to be?

Be brave "saints" (as Father B. would say) the world needs you.

- Emily

Get to know Emily

Tell us a little bit about yourself! 

Hi everyone! My name is Emily Staresinic. I am [26] years old... I am in a happy relationship. I just passed my three year anniversary of working in the Emergency Department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Currently I am a Registered Nurse. Through nursing, I have been enabled to travel on multiple mission trips to Africa & Haiti. I will soon depart for a three month stay in Malawi, Africa with Children’s Hospital to work at a Pediatric facility there.

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

I would love to say that my first two hours of the day are totally structured & that every morning starts with me waking up on time, starting out with prayer, working out & eating a healthy breakfast... BUT the reality is that some mornings I hit the snooze button one too many times, my breakfast ends up being just coffee… (ALWAYS have to have my coffee) & I end up rushing off to work.

However, the one thing I always try to make time for is to read through a devotional to start my morning right. I especially love Blessed is She (shameless plug!!). Reading a devotional or starting with a quick prayer helps me to focus my day & gives me something to think about or strive towards. My ideal morning though would be to sleep in, get coffee, sit & read or journal & then get out & enjoy the sunshine (when Cincinnati weather allows it :) )

What's your favorite part of being a nurse?

I love my occupation because every day I have the ability to impact a life. No matter how physically, emotionally, or mentally demanding the job may be, I can walk out at the end of the day knowing that I have touched someone or made a difference, (no matter how small). Even just getting a smile out of a sick patient is so rewarding.

What are the fears that keep you up at night?

The things that keep me up at night tend to vary, (I am a bit of a worrier). Most often I would say that it is questions about religion, or whether I am doing all that I can to be a better Catholic or follower of Christ. I worry about being the best daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, coworker, etc. to every person in my life. I worry about work & if I charted everything right or provided the best care. I worry that I won’t ever stop worrying! The short of it is… there isn’t one single thing that I worry about every night… but there is nothing that prayer & conversation doesn’t seem to fix for me. I am blessed with wonderful people who will always provide a listening ear & advice. I am also blessed with prayer. I will jot down the things that are worrying me, pray about them, & usually fall right to sleep.

Tell us about a woman you look up to. 

Hands down the woman I look up to the most is Mother Teresa. She is a total inspiration to me. Her ability to give so selflessly & constantly is something I can only hope to mirror someday in my life. One of my absolute favorite quotes from her is something I try to mimic in my daily life.She says: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love”. If we are all striving for that each & every day, I really believe we can see a change in the world we live in. Love is always the answer.