Eilidh Direen Testimonial

“I was born in Hobart but my family have moved around a lot.

From about 11 to 16, while I had Catholic friends, we never really talked about our faith. It was something that was there in our lives but we weren’t excited about it, we didn’t see it as anything to take pride in; we were even faintly embarrassed about it.

While I never had any doubts about the faith and was happy to go to Mass on Sundays, I wasn’t interested in doing anything else with my faith outside of that.

What changed was when I was 16 my Dad was offered a job for ExxonMobil which meant that we were going to move to Texas.

We plugged into a really solid Catholic homeschool community, because both Catholicism and homeschooling are much bigger in Texas than they are in Tasmania.

I met a girl whose name was Michelle. She invited me to her youth group and I started going along and her friends became my friends.  Michelle was this effortlessly cool person and the confidence she had in her knowledge of the faith, I was really impressed by that.

Gradually I began to notice that there was something different about these young people. These kids were actually really proud of their faith and they were invested in it and they wanted to do things beyond just going to Mass on Sundays.

I had such an admiration for them, I thought, ‘There must be something in this.’ It sort of came to a head in late 2014 when we went to the Archdiocesan Youth Conference, which was a massive gathering of all these different young Catholic teenagers from all over Texas.

I went to a talk about being Catholic at university. I don’t remember everything the lady said, but she said: ‘Don’t be a closet Catholic. Don’t treat it as something you should be ashamed of and hide from your friends.’ That stayed with me because I realised that, back in Tasmania, I had been somewhat ashamed of the faith, but after that year and that weekend I realised that I didn’t want to be a closet Catholic. In little steps I began to take a more proactive approach to growing in my faith.

After I moved back to Australia, I went to another retreat, the Summer School of Evangelisation in Bathurst. They had adoration nearly every day. I started to notice that whenever I went to adoration I’d usually start thinking about a problem or I’d have a sudden revelation about a problem I had in my life and I’d be gradually led to the solution. I began to realise that this was God talking to me through adoration.

It wasn’t until even this last year that I began to really embrace my prayer life. Having finally realised just how much God can do if you’re going to Mass and Reconciliation and adoration every other day, I realised that this was important enough that I needed to build it into my routine.”