Recently returned from a missions trip in Portugal, Sarah Huckins is a freshman at JPCatholic pursuing a degree in Humanities.
Joshua Shaffer: When did the idea of going into a convent cross your mind?
Sarah Huckins: I’ve been discerning since I was 12 years old. The idea has always been there but I did struggle against it for quite a few years. I didn’t like the idea. I idealized marriage a lot more. Although now I feel like regardless of my vocation, God has to take away those fears. He will put you through it even though you feel like you don’t want it. Even if it’s just to tell you that it’s not that scary.
JS: So this is what led you into traveling to Portugal?
SH: Yes. I had a crisis of faith at a certain point in my life. I think that my conversion evolved into giving God everything. So I went in search of missionary work first and I went to Portugal for that reason. I served at a mental hospital called John Paul II Institute. I stayed with a few sisters. When I stayed with them I realized that this is something that I could do. The following year I joined. I just dropped everything and left.
JS: What do you think are the biggest life lessons you learned through this type of experience?
SH: It was surprisingly more difficult than I had anticipated. I had a set idea of what religious life was going to be and it debunked all my preconceived notions. I think the the biggest thing that I learned was a great deal of humility. The importance of humility is such a bedrock for my life. To never go in thinking that you know everything. Just to be able to be open to the experience that God has for you. One other thing that I would say is never think that God is punishing you just to punish you. Everything he does is mercy. Even his justice.
JS: What was the culture like while you were in Portugal?
SH: It is very different. It’s very rich. They have a lot of tradition, a very beautiful language, and a very beautiful society. It’s incredible how much their society is united. An example is how a tree fell down and killed 3 people, so they called a national day of grieving.
JS: Is there anything else you want to mention on the Portugal experience?
SH: There are some important parts that really stuck out to me and played a big part in my life. I stayed in Fatima where Our Lady appeared. And I guess the importance of the rosary has always been a big hurdle. It’s such a small prayer but it’s super powerful. I would just encourage anybody to pray it possibly everyday.
JS: So your brother here at school is J.P. Huckins. Is that how you heard about this school?
SH: It’s partially how I heard about the school. It’s how I became acquainted with the school but I heard about you guys beforehand. I never anticipated that I would come here. It was definitely a surprise. It was kind of providential. I came back from a convent in March and didn’t really know what I was going to do next. So I applied to a bunch of other convents and they all said I should go to college. So I looked at a couple colleges and found that JPCatholic offers some really good scholarships. This school was my final choice.
JS: Anything else you would like the students/faculty to know about you?
SH: I am a morning person and I love hiking!