Isabella in New Jersey
Full name: Isabella Kristina Somera
Occupation: College Student
Location: Bloomfield, NJ
Educational background: BioChemistry PreMed, Theology
How does your Catholic faith affect the way you live your day-to-day life?
My Catholic faith is truthfully my foundation and source of light in a place of challenge. As a PreMed student in the science and technology field, the community I find myself in is rooted in competition, facts, and at times, atheism. It is difficult opening up in places where people prioritize science as their god, proven data as their bible, and experiments as their prayer. I wish I could share with my peers of how science points back to Our Creator in the sense where God perfected the world around us even to the smallest atom. I wish I could tell them that through studying the human body we could see how God intricately designed each one of us with intentionality, purpose, and goodness. I pray that through my friends’ discoveries and realizations in the field of science that they will someday realize that there is a God, a Master Scientist, who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omni-benevolent. He is the real Truth which we should chose to learn, apply, and uphold on our side of science.
Tell us about a moment in your life when your Catholic faith transformed your understanding of yourself, your purpose and others.
College is community where your opinions and values determine your friends. Finding and keeping friends with different opinions is difficult, but not impossible. Actually, all of my immediate friends (in my major) are either not Christian, non-practicing Catholic, atheist, or agnostic, and I love each one of them in their own unique ways. Our diversity allows us to have open discussions about our reasons and justifications to believe what we do. One day, a friend had said, “I can’t deal with people who are too Pro-life or too religious,” and in that moment I found myself hurt, upset, and angry. She knew my views as a practicing devoted Catholic, and I asked her if there was anything wrong with having those opinions. She immediately dismissed me with “Then, I can’t have this conversation with you.” I was hurt that someone who knew me so well would hurt my inmost values. I was angry that she so easily ignored having a follow up conversation about it. I felt dumb as she made me feel as if I was wrong in believing in life and the Giver of Life.
I had been praying asking God for ways to learn humility, patience, self-control, and generosity. And God delivered in a way which caught me off guard, offering me a moment to practice all of those virtues. My faith allowed me to be bold to confront her, humble to apologize and embrace her, patient to understand her, and generous to forgive her.
What lesson did you learn from that moment?
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11). I was reminded that because of practicing and proclaiming my faith, there will be people who will disagree and challenge it. And that it is a blessing - being able to even experience an ounce of persecution for Jesus.
How do you grow in your Catholic faith?
I love to read books, especially books written by or about the saints. They remind us that even in our human state of sin we can rise above temptation and be holy saints ourselves. I also try to attend Adoration and daily Mass on my campus at least once or twice a week. One of my favorite ways to grow in faith is to follow Catholic bloggers and Instagrammers! I love hearing how they apply their faith in their own communities and bring that to their own mini-ministries online. I’ve learned so much from these friends, and I’ve even began to share some of my own revelations from Christ. If you like, you can read them @gracetothehumble on Instagram. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!
What do you do for fun?
When I’m not learning about maths and sciences, I’m usually practicing calligraphy and making spreads in my bullet journal! I love making music and picking up new instruments, and I also enjoy taking pictures of anything that catches my eye. While I love to travel and adventure with friends, I also appreciate staying home to read a good book with a cup of tea. I spend a lot of time with my Youth Ministry, coordinating Praise and Worships, facilitating retreats, and just recently - spearheading an interdistrict conference with over 200+ people!
Three words that describe you — go!
Magnanimous. Thoughtful. Joyful