My name is Teresa Breckler. I am a visual communications design and theology student attending the University of Notre Dame. This summer I am excited to be bringing my love of the Catholic faith and art together through working as an intern for Redeemer Radio. (Image above was painted by Teresa Breckler, Redeemer Radio Intern)

Many people faced an entirely unsuspected and even bleak reality when the COVID pandemic struck. While it has formed a challenge for everyone, perhaps in particular it has affected youth in high school, college and beyond.

Seniors did not have their iconic prom. College graduates did not walk and some were even told that their contracted jobs were no longer there. On-campus relationships were unexpectedly and indefinitely transformed to long-distance. Just about to assume full responsibility, young adults had to return to their homes and try to find a place that the normal pattern of maturation had dictated to be over.

The trials for young adults, caught between adulthood and childhood, vocational discernment and intricate friendships are less grave than the darkness of other times, yet are still a reality which we are left to grapple with. COVID-19 feels unique in many ways, but as Thomas More says, “The times are never so bad but that a good man can live in them.”

I think that there is an unexpected mentor for us in the young John Paul II, Karol Woityla. He was only 19 when World War II erupted into his world. He was not yet in seminary, but obviously deeply discerning his call. He had to obey a strict curfew enforced by the Nazis that for the night’s duration kept him and his father alone together from the rest of the world. Though the people around him did not wear cloth masks, they had to create masks of submission to their aggressors. His friends were dispersed to their own homes or even disappeared.

While in comparison to Karol’s sufferings ours seem little, he yet was a light to others. Karol prayed with his father, participated in the Secret Theatre, put his soul into the backbreaking quarry work, and still pursued his calling.

For us, it may be hard to share our lives once more with our families, or to be men and women with hope to bring when so much is unknown and anxiety-ridden. Many of us do not have the jobs we had set our hearts on and worked our entire academic careers for. Yet, like Karol, we can still pour our hearts into our work. We can still strive to reintegrate into our families of the present even while we discern the families of our future. Even in the darkness, we can still be people of hope.

In Christ,

Teresa Breckler

Redeemer Radio Summer Intern