Finding God Amongst 17,000 Young Catholics


My name is Brooke and I had the opportunity to go to SEEK over Winter Break! If you don’t know, SEEK is a conference that takes place every two years in a different city around the country. It’s intended for Catholic college students or students who are pursuing the faith/interested in becoming Catholic, but I had never been to a large conference like that, so honestly I was a little intimidated! I wasn’t even sure if I should sign up because of the financial sacrifice and the sacrifice of spending time away from my family over the break. Despite my reservations, I went to the interest meeting where the Focus missionaries were doing raffles for scholarships. I thought, “God, if you want me to go to this conference, just pull my name out of that basket.” Father Carlos ended up picking my name for the full scholarship, and I thought, “Okay, this is a sign. I need to go to Indianapolis over Winter Break because God has a special encounter planned for me.” 

There were about 16-17,000 college students at SEEK, which was a little overwhelming but also a true testament to how alive our faith is on college campuses around the country. It was also a reminder of how much work there is to do on our campuses, because you could think “Wow, there were 16,000 students!” Or you could think, “Wow, there were only 16,000 people. Why can’t there be 20,000 or 30,000?”

Every day we had mass, confession, and adoration, as well as talks given by priests, sisters, and famous Catholics speakers. Topics ranged from relationships, the sanctity of life, discipleship, evangelization, and understanding the Holy Spirit. I had the opportunity to go to talks and learn about things I didn’t even know that I didn’t know. It was a really great education opportunity to learn more about the faith and spend time with the Newman community outside of Philly.

Encounter something more

The theme of SEEK this year was “Encounter Something More.” Looking back on my experience, I can remember how it felt to encounter God in all the different places, whether it was in confession, just talking to people from different schools, or listening to the speakers.

Something that one of the speakers talked about was the idea that our purpose here on earth is to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. To love someone is to will the good of them, and to will the good of them is to bring them closer to Christ. Coming back on campus, I’ve been looking at all of my relationships through this new context. Every day I ask myself, “How am I pursuing Christ, how am I encountering him? Am I helping the people around me encounter Him? Am I bringing them closer to Christ?” And if the answer to those last two questions is no, then I do something that day to make it a yes. If I hadn’t gone to SEEK, I would not have resonated with this deeply profound and powerful message that has really changed the trajectory of my faith and my relationships. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have gone, all the friendships I made, and the Focus missionaries that facilitated it!



At six feet tall and modeling Penn Nursing scrubs or her Navy ROTC uniform, Brooke certainly makes an entrance into the room but also into your life. Sassy, classy, musical, and driven, Brooke is always pushing herself to accomplish new goals whether that be academically, physically, or professionally. Some fun facts about her is that she went 15 years without eating peanut butter, she calls her hair-ties "WIGGIES," and she has to order her jeans from Long Tall Sally’s. Though women of the house may quote Sharpay from High School Musical and say “Evaporate tall person,” everyone is excitedly awaiting for the next time she appears. (Bio from the Ladies of Lisieux website)

Carolyn Shields