Jemille credits chaplaincy role for growth in faith

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Home > Media > News > Jemille credits chaplaincy role for growth in faith
Jemille credits chaplaincy role for growth in faith

Outgoing university chaplaincy assistant Jemille West says she has been challenged to grow deeper in her faith through her service to the UTAS Catholic chaplaincy.

A theology and chaplaincy student at Notre Dame University in Sydney, Miss West took leave from her studies to take on the Tasmanian chaplaincy role in February 2017, and – after almost two years of service – has now returned to Sydney to complete her studies.

Based in Hobart, her time has been filled with organising a diverse range of events – from bible studies, campus Masses and group rosaries, to the Alpha program, a weekend conference in Hobart on love and relationships, and a recent end-of-year retreat in Launceston.

Miss West says she’s seen the fruits of running events that are explicitly Catholic in the confidence that it brings to the students.

“I think that’s really made people confident in themselves: ‘This is who I am, and I want to be like this … I shouldn’t be afraid to be Catholic,’” she said.

According to Miss West, the current temporary chaplain, Salesian priest Fr Damien Sladen SDB, who attended the end-of-year retreat, is already having an impact at the chaplaincy.

“He’s been brilliant and because the Salesians are very much youth focused, he’s had experience with retreats.”

She says she will miss the UTAS students and being involved in their spiritual growth.

“Just seeing them grow – especially students who are not Catholic and who are on the journey to becoming Catholic.  Just their desire to want to be with God more.”

However, she says her role in Tasmania has led to a deepening of her own spiritual life.

“[I am grateful for] opportunities for me to be challenged about my faith because that has made me look it up and grow deeper and desire God more, so it’s made me more Catholic, ironically!”

Other opportunities while in Tasmania, like attending the Immaculata Mission School, helped her to realise her own need for God.

“I can’t be in these roles that God has given me and not be going to daily Mass, not going to adoration and not praying. I need God,” she said.

In addition to her university studies, Miss West will take up a role as Youth Co-ordinator at Ryde/Gladesville Parish in Sydney.