Thao in California
Full name: Thao Nguyen
Occupation: Technical Writer
Location: San Jose, CA
Educational background: BA in English
How does your Catholic faith affect the way you live your day-to-day life?
Catholicism affects every part of my day. At the very basic level, I pray. I wake up and pray (groggily), I pray as I drive, when people get irritating at work I pray (a little more hesitantly though, if I’m going to be completely honest), I pray before every meal, and every night, my boyfriend and I pray on the phone before going to sleep. But on a deeper level, Catholicism gives me the endurance and hope to carry on when the mundaneness of everyday life seems suffocating. It gives me the faith to believe that I can’t my cross alone when my anxieties become too strong. My Catholic faith pushes my to be a more patient and loving person than I was the day before. I try - and admittedly fail quite often- to incorporate St. Therese’s “little way” into everything by attempting to see the beauty, blessings, and offerings in all of the things that I take for granted.
Tell us about a moment in your life when your Catholic faith transformed your understanding of yourself, your purpose and others.
A few years ago, my anxiety became crippling, to the point that I couldn’t physically eat. I began to pray, but I felt a growing sense of despair and a growing sense that God didn’t want to help me. I felt like God had deserted me. My soul felt vacant. Every night, I would cry as I begged God to please come back into my life, to make me feel normal again. I said hundreds of rosaries, hoping that Mary would give me some comfort. The silence and nothingness I got in response was crushing. But even as anxiety and logic told me that I should give up on praying and succumb to the sadness, my faith pushed me to keep trying. because I was desperate to feel the peace that came from knowing God loved me again. And finally, it came to me; the relief was overwhelming and my faith in that moment was stronger than it had ever been in my entire life.
What lesson did you learn from that moment?
I went to confession during this time, and the priest told me things I will never forget:
Of all of the possibilities in the world, God chose to make me; He had chosen me. God made me in His image, and put within me a glimmer of the infinite. And because of that, my worth was inconceivable.
I had to learn that I have worth, and because of that, I can’t just wear a mask and pretend to be okay and that I can’t depend on other people to be my source of peace and happiness. That hurts both me and the people I’m depending on. True peace and happiness comes from having faith that everything I go through is part of God’s plan and trying to control everything is a rejection of the blessings and lessons he has in store for me.
How do you grow in your Catholic faith?
I try to pray at least one rosary everyday and attend adoration once a week. I read Christopher West or Archbishop Fulton Sheen whenever I can. The most useful way that I’ve found for growing in my faith is through conversations with my spiritual director or with my Catholic peers. This really pushes me to explore Church teachings and to explore my relationship with them and with God.
What do you do for fun?
I go to a lot of soccer games, I cook and eat whenever I have free time, and I’m always in the mood for shopping!
Three words that describe you — go!
Curious, headstrong, empathetic
Fill in the blank:
My morning routine consists of: Breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies!
I’m currently (ALWAYS) obsessed with: Lord of the Rings
I feel most inspired when: I’m near a body of water or a lot of trees, or after I’ve read a really good book.
My favorite part about my life right now is: all of the people in it.
The advice I would give to the millennial Catholic woman is: Go read Matthew 6:24!