Olivia Burdick Testimonial

“I’m the eighth child of nine, and I was born into a Catholic family.

I was always very active; I always enjoyed going to Mass.

If someone asked me if I’d go to Mass when I grew up, I would say, ‘Yes’. But I wouldn’t say it through any other reason except for it’s just what I do, it’s the way I’ve been brought up, it’s my family, it’s my religion.

When I was about 15 years old, I met the Sisters of the Immaculata. They invited me to their Mission School and it was through that first Mission School that I got introduced to the idea of God as a loving father and Jesus as a person, someone who is real now and is interested in me and in everyone.

That was when it first came to me that my religion was my own. It was when I first came into the idea that I’m Catholic because I want to be, not because that’s the way I’ve been brought up.

Later on that year, I got invited to World Youth Day. It was the most amazing experience of my life. We had daily Mass, daily adoration, we’d say lots of rosaries and prayers and travelling to Poland where the culture is so Catholic, and I was exposed to literally thousands of young people who were on fire for their faith. I remember having a moment in adoration where I really realised that God was someone who cared about me, was interested in me, an actual person that I could have a relationship with.

I’d always seen prayer as just another routine. I’d never really seen it as a conversation, as a two way process, just like having a chat with a friend.

Over the last couple of years it’s been a real change in deciding to live my life actively as a practising  Catholic who wants to live it every day, not just a weekend thing.

I’m studying medicine. I think that it’s really about, in my study, trying to think about how I can use it to come closer to God and to try to bring other people closer to God as well. I do think that my studies are what God meant for me and I’m doing the right thing, hopefully.

When I can, I try to go to Mass during the week. The aim – the end goal – is to go to Mass daily. I pray every day. I always try to pray a rosary – it doesn’t always happen. At St Joesph’s, there’s adoration until 12pm, so often if I have time before uni I’ll try to pop in to there, even just for a few minutes.

If you’re feeling down or stressed or whatever, you can go and talk to someone who is God. Especially sitting in adoration is really relaxing and freeing. You just feel completely yourself with God, you’re completely you. In today’s society, you feel you’ve got pressures to act a certain way, you’ve got to do a certain thing.

If God who created everyone loves you for who you are, why should you try to be anything different?

I guess that’s something I’ve really developed through having a personal relationship with God.”