Story

Mary Quirk

The experience at OBOC is unlike any other. There is a certain peace and welcoming presence at Saint Meinrad that has been unparalleled in my life. I felt, in the span of a few days, as though I had a real home.

 

Why did you attend the program?

My first time at One Bread One Cup was during the summer after my freshman year. I was only invited to go because someone else had dropped out of attendance and my parish had been allotted three spots. I initially agreed because I believe that there is not an opportunity that isn’t worth trying. However, I was simultaneously apprehensive because I didn’t know what experience I was in for. I only knew two other people who would be there, one of whom was my brother and the other his friend. I was worried I would be terribly out of place, but my fears were quickly put to rest upon arrival.

 

How was your experience during the event? 

The experience at OBOC is unlike any other. There is a certain peace and welcome present at Saint Meinrad that has been unparalleled in my life. I felt, in the span of a few days, as though I had a real home. Everyone I met had come to OBOC with an open heart, wanting to be the truest version of themselves, which made it incredibly easy to connect with people and form true bonds. Though I was nervous going into the week, I wholeheartedly embraced my time there and that made all the difference. Each day I woke up with a feeling of complete happiness and there wasn’t a single event that I didn’t enjoy.

 

What were some of the changes you noticed after? 

Coming back home from OBOC was like being woken up from a wonderful dream by a bucket of ice water being thrown over me. I felt blissful all week long and I hated having to go back to “reality” after my perfect week. When I was at OBOC, I felt like a different person. I was the person I wanted myself to be. It took me a couple of days and a tearful conversation with my mom to realize that the “me” I had been at OBOC was still in myself and that I had not only gone on the retreat for myself, but to be a service to my community. In the weeks following my return, I became more involved in my church by lectoring and helping plan masses. To this day, I think of the bright, excited, open-hearted person I was at OBOC and I strive to hold on to those qualities in myself. Indisputably, OBOC made me into a better and happier person.

 

What did you learn about yourself, the world, or ministry at this time?

Before One Bread One Cup, I believed in God. I never doubted his existence, righteousness and power. After One Bread One Cup, I loved God. I wanted to live my life in service to him and feel his love envelope me. Attending OBOC gave me the opportunity to bond with others in my position and discuss perspectives on faith that I’d never considered before. That opportunity, combined with the daily theological workshops, prayer time and several sacraments resulted in me finally feeling on fire for my faith.

 

Do you feel better equipped for the future after attending? 

Going forward in life, I am incredibly grateful to have grown from One Bread One Cup. I learned invaluable things about my faith, but outside of that I also learned a myriad of practical skills. I am a much better public speaker due to the training I received in my Liturgical Formation Sessions. Additionally, OBOC made me open myself up to new people and experiences, so I feel excited for the future because I now know how to remain true to myself and my values despite fluctuating environments.

 

What was the best thing about attending?

While there were countless amazing aspects to One Bread One Cup, the best overall part of my experience was the peace that I felt while there. The easy calm was a beautiful, wonderful gift and I have carried that peace within me ever since I left. It has given me a reprieve when I most needed it. 

What I felt at OBOC was evidence to me that all my worldly troubles would someday melt away, leaving just me and God and feeling forgiven and entirely accepted. I got my own tiny taste of heaven while at Saint Meinrad and it has made me endlessly comforted ever since.

 

How have you engaged in ministry since the program, or how do you plan to be engaged in ministry in the future? 

My first time attending One Bread One Cup, I was in the Proclamation of the Word Liturgical Formation Session (LFS). Following that I became a lector at my church. My second year at OBOC, my LFS was Preaching in the Liturgy of the Hours. Initially, I doubted that this would really lead me to much more than improved expression in my theater class, but I actually found a passion for preaching and went on to deliver witness talks at Confirmation retreats for my parish, events for other parishes in my town and even the 2019 National Catholic Youth Conference. Thanks to my time with my Preaching LFS, a whole new path has been opened to me and I plan to find a career that enables me to continue preaching to others about faith.

 

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to attend?

If you have the chance to go to One Bread One Cup, take it. Take it and do it up right. Fully participate in every workshop, take the time to be honest with yourself and God, contribute to conversation, be loud, be friendly, be kind, talk to new people, holler and run while playing Ultimate Frisbee, wake up early for prayer with the Monks, wear your goofiest hat and dance your heart out at the Crazy Hat Dance and never tell yourself that you’re less holy or at home than anyone else there. Almost everyone goes into a new situation and feels like a fish out of water, but if you immerse yourself in the experience you’ll find that, without even trying, you developed lungs and legs. OBOC was one of the best experiences of my life, and if I had been too timid and surrendered to the voice in my head telling me to go back to my room, I never would have become the person I am today. So take your chance and rejoice in it!

 

Is there anything else you’d like people to know?

OBOC offers an unmatched atmosphere of community love. I was enamored with the experience after my first year and upon returning for a second summer I was heartbroken. I was with a new group of people in the second year and I missed my old friends. I wanted to go home, but I knew that was an impossibility. So, after my first silently despairing hour, I made the decision to try to enjoy myself. I had an entirely new experience; it was different from the year before in every way, but equally as impactful and moving. I believe that is due to that unique atmosphere. I don’t know for sure what creates it, but it is my belief that everyone who attends OBOC comes with the opportunity to present themself as the person they want to be, and in doing so they let go of their judgement of other people and replace it with hope. Thanks to One Bread One Cup, I was able to have my hopes fulfilled.

Cole Hepp
St. Meinrad, IN
Elizabeth Perkins
Waco, TX
JaMyia McNeil
Tuskegee, AL
Kristi Phillips
Santa Barbara, CA
Hannah Castano
Kirkland, WA