The founder of a Catholic non-profit spoke to Franciscan University students about the importance of forgiveness and finding dignity as a child of God on Sunday night in the Gentile Gallery.
Maura Preszler, founder of the non-profit Made in His Image, presented the talk “Learning Forgiveness and Worth,” part of the Metanoia Series sponsored by Residence Life.
Preszler shared her own story of overcoming abuse and an eating disorder in order to help others come to see their worth. She emphasized the importance of coming to know God as Father, saying that healing comes only by seeing that “intrinsic dignity and worth” come from being a child of God.
“I was never told that I was beautiful or that I was enough,” said Preszler. She said that in high school she didn’t know where to find fulfillment.
Because of this, she struggled with self-worth and looked for beauty everywhere but in God, Preszler said. It was only after serving on mission in Calcutta that Preszler said she began to see her human dignity, which helped her desire a closer relationship with God.
Forgiveness was an important part of her healing, said Preszler. She said it was when she forgave her abusers that her past stopped defining her.
“Everyone has someone they need to forgive,” said Preszler. She encouraged students to take this time in life to learn to forgive, in order to become closer to the person God has called for a specific vocation.
Preszler said that forgiveness lets Catholics accept suffering well.
“There’s something (God) wants you to learn through this,” Preszler said of undergoing suffering. She encouraged students to thank God for their crosses and to pray for the grace to continue to forgive each day.
Junior Christine Rice said that she appreciated Preszler’s humility. She liked how Preszler explained that healing is a “journey for her whole life.”
“I liked what she was saying about taking up your cross. It’s about learning forgiveness,” said junior Scott Peters. “If Jesus forgave me, who am I to withhold forgiveness?”
Preszler founded Made in His Image after her own experience of finding healing in God. Made in His Image is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women see their intrinsic dignity and worth. Its mission is to help victims become survivors. Preszler also authors a blog by the same name, where she continues to share her journey.