“To each one of you Christ says: ‘I am sending you.' Why is he sending you? Because men and women the world over—north, south, east and west—long for true liberation and fulfillment. The poor seek justice and solidarity; the oppressed demand freedom and dignity; the blind cry out for light and truth (cf. Luke 4:18). You are not being sent to proclaim some abstract truth. The Gospel is not a theory or an ideology! The Gospel is life! Your task is to bear witness to this life: the life of God’s adopted sons and daughters. Modern man, whether he knows it or not, urgently needs that life – just as two thousand years ago humanity was in need of Christ’s coming; just as people will always need Jesus Christ until the end of time.”
The questions “Who am I?” and “Where do I belong?” are complicated for any high schooler, and perhaps even more so for young women attending a competitive, all-girls Catholic school. Sarah Shutrop, Director of Campus Ministry at Immaculate Heart Academy in Bergen County, New Jersey, helps many young women navigate the journey of self-realization and understanding one’s place in the community. On Church Life Today Shutrop discussed how the academic rigor of the college prep school often creates a culture of competition among women, making it difficult to feel a sense of belonging during a particularly formative period of their lives. The increasing influence of social media, especially Instagram, in which one’s image is carefully curated, adds to this problem by making it easier to label and define girls in superficial ways.