Unfamiliar religious garb around campus on Monday, Sept. 4, brought many students to a presentation given by the Sisters of Life that night.
The talk, given by Sister Bethany Madonna, a nationally known Catholic speaker, packed the Gentile Gallery and gave a new understanding to the phrase “standing room only.” The topic of the presentation was “Receiving the Promise of a New Heart.”
Sister Bethany, who professed final vows in 2011, explained that her order, as well as spending time in prayer, provides counsel and consolation to women considering or suffering from abortion.
Regarding a new heart, Sister Bethany elaborated on things that prevent us from receiving one, such as fear, lies and shame. “Letting Jesus takes us by the hand heals the void (left by the absence of fear, lies and shame) … He heals the senses. We need safe, loving touches from Jesus.”
“We as humans thirst for a lasting beauty with a love that is infinite and ours,” Sister Bethany explained, to preface her three-point solution to receiving a new heart, particularly regarding healing from misdirected human sexuality.
The three gifts, according to Sister Bethany, are receiving the gift of life, a new heart and the kingdom. She punctuated each of these with entertaining stories, which left the students amused.
By receiving the gift of life, we can appreciate the world around us, said Sister Bethany. “We often live like orphans,” she said, explaining that this “orphan spirit” means we see ourselves as alone, outside and burdensome. We need to free ourselves from this spirit by allowing God to meet us where we are at, said Sister Bethany.
She then elaborated on how we can receive the kingdom from the Lord. She began by admitting that the path to healing from sexual confusion is raw and difficult. By quoting testimonies from Audrey Assad and Matt Frat, Sister Bethany ignited a spark of encouragement.
Sister Bethany encouraged everyone in the room to seek help and to respond to their struggles with grace and dignity.
Freshman Ben Duncan was brought to tears at the close of her talk, saying that “it really hit home for me. Her discussion on a vulnerable heart left me motivated to turn to Jesus.”
Sister Bethany’s talk was the first of many in The Gift of Human Sexuality Symposium, sponsored by Franciscan University.