By KAREN MUENSTERMAN
CONNECTING FAITH AND LIFE
Knowing that my contributions to the Connecting Faith and Life column are ending, I have spent some time reflecting on my years of writing for The Message. Looking back to the beginning of my writing journey here, my primary emotion is gratitude.
I am so grateful to Kathy Gallo, the former Director of the Office of Catechesis at the Diocese of Evansville, who first gave me the privilege of contributing to this column. Kathy and I discovered a spiritual connection during our very first conversation, which grew into a friendship that deepened through the years. She was a gentle mentor, a patient listener and a trusted confidant. She was aware of my life-long struggles with the Catholic faith; but instead of judging or shaming, she encouraged me to keep exploring, to keep questioning and to share my faith with honesty and as much courage as I could summon at any given moment – or for any given article. Thank you, Kathy! I hope your retirement leads you into new adventures in faith and brings you a small portion of the peace and joy our many conversations brought to me.
I am also profoundly grateful to all the readers of this column who have accompanied me on my journey in faith these last several years. Your words of support, cards, letters and emails have made me laugh, brought me to tears many times and helped me to strengthen my connection to our Catholic community. You have deepened my faith in the love of God and the teachings of Jesus.
You taught me that connecting faith and life goes both ways, and I’m grateful for your willingness to share your thoughts, doubts, tragedies, triumphs and life experiences with me. From you, I have learned that there are as many ways to celebrate and live out the Catholic faith as there are Catholics.
There is always a tinge of bittersweet-ness at the end of any journey, and I know that I will miss the sharing experience that writing in this space has given me. However, many years of meditation, mindfulness practice and centering prayer have also taught me that a breath going out is every bit as important and precious as a breath coming in. The end of anything makes a space for the beginning of something new. I am curious and excited about meeting new writers in this column in the future and seeing the places their journeys in faith will take us.
Thank you again for accompanying me on my journey through this column. I have treasured our experiences connecting faith and life.