Music and Faith.
When you hear from Sarah Barkley, you hear her passion for both. Sarah is a senior at John Adams High School in South Bend, a parishioner at St. Monica’s in Mishawaka and a cantor it seems at every church that will have her in the area. She sings at St. Matt’s Cathedral, where she went to grade school. She performs monthly at St. Anthony’s and she’s a member of the Notre Dame Children’s Choir. There are countless other ways she performs musically as well. She does it all while carrying a 3.87 GPA.
Sarah Barkley is our Redeemer Radio 95.7FM Student of the Month for May, presented by Ben’s Soft Pretzels. Our student of the month recognizes students who excel in the classroom, show a strong Catholic faith and are involved in extracurricular activities.
So what does music mean to Sarah?
“It’s so many things honestly,” Sarah explains. “It’s one of my favorite ways to pray. It’s a way to calm myself down as I’m sure many can relate to that by just turning on Spotify. It’s a way to communicate with people around the community and around the world. For me, I always think about the St. Augustine quote, ‘the one who sings, prays twice.’ We get to come together in music and pray and praise God in our hearts and voices and it’s a very beautiful thing to me.”
Sarah has been singing since she was a little kid and as part of the Notre Dame Children’s Choir, she’s traveled all around the Midwest, to Texas, New Orleans, California and even England. But one activity that holds a special place in her heart is right here at home, having the chance twice a month to go to Our Lady of Loretto at Saint Mary’s College.
“We’ll do some rehearsing and then we get all dressed up and we get to perform an afternoon Vespers service for the nuns and we get to kind of pray with them,” Sarah says. “Some of these nuns, I don’t know how much outside contact they really have. They share with us how much they love coming to hear us sing and pray with us and it’s such a beautiful thing and it’s one of my favorite things to do.”
To no one’s surprise, Sarah plans to study liturgical music in college. She will attend St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
In addition to singing, Sarah enjoys taking part in adoration at her home parish of St. Monica’s in Mishawaka.
“Adoration is a beautiful thing,” she says. “Our Lord becomes present to us. It’s just a safe space we get to go and be in the Lord’s presence and just pray and meditate as well with Him and just enjoy being with Him and everything He’s done for us.”
She’s also part of the youth group at St. Monica’s.
“We get to go down with a bunch of kids our age in high school and we get to further our relationship. Even if it’s a social night or we are diving deeper into a social problem, that’s hard to talk about, it’s a great way to not only grow in our faith but bond with kids our age in our area.”
We asked Sarah what message she might have for any high school kids who might not be as strong in their faith right now.
“If you are not really interested in this and you are drifting away from God, I kind of understand where you might be at–I was there once too,” Sarah points out. “Just look for the small things and the small ways that God has brought goodness into your life and go from there. Even if you don’t particularly enjoy Mass, find the little things about Mass you enjoy and find ways to praise God through that and pray he opens himself up and that way you also have to open himself up to Him because He is always willing to come to us if we are willing to receive Him.”
Sarah says she wants to give shoutouts to her parents, grandparents and best friend and her family for helping her get to this point.
Sarah will receive a $25 gift card from Ben’s Soft Pretzels.
Be sure to check out our interview with Sarah that’s linked above. The Student of the Month interview airs between 7:30-8am on the 1st Wednesday of each month on Redeemer Radio. To nominate a Student of the Month, go to redeemerradio.com/student and fill out the form.