What is Living Faith? - By Juan Antonio López

In August of this year, I participated in the "Living Faith" Pilgrimage to North Bay. It was organized by Faith Connections and the Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie. I wanted to share with others what my experience was like and what I learned about "Living Faith".

My experience at the retreat was in one word: amazing. It taught me a big lesson, and that is that happiness does not lie in achieving what society calls “success".

As a young adult, it is so hard not to get bogged down by thoughts of, “I haven’t achieved this”, “I could have been more successful by now”, “Work, work, work”, and in some degree I believe everyone has experienced these types of thoughts at one point or another. We aspire, we long for, and we see “the goal”, the car, the job title, the “this and that” with yearning eyes.

A weekend spent away with the Sisters of Saint Joseph was like a bucket of cold water (in a good way). It made me say to myself, “Dude, what you keep yearning for is not something you will find on the outside!”.

Seeing the simplicity of the Sisters, their humanness and joy of just simply “being”, left me with my eyes wide open. I couldn't help but say to them, that they are like children who just have fun, who truly embrace the phrase “enjoy yourself”. They live authentically, enjoy who they are and their relationships with others. They live with true joy, compassion and happiness and for me that was like hitting the wall (again, in a good way).

True joy lies in cultivating the internal virtues, connecting with yourself and others, living in the presence of God throughout your day and that’s exactly what I saw in them. Even though this idea already kind of made sense to me, actually witnessing that during the retreat made it come more alive within me.

While getting to know some of the Sisters, one shared her story of flying to Africa to build a school for children in need, while another Sister is currently coordinating a construction project to build apartments for people in need. I also heard many other stories. Listening to them left me astonished. They not only live simply and joyfully but they also live with purpose and that, I believe, is part of why I saw such joy and life within them.

Many of these ladies are in their 60’s, 70’s and so on, but nonetheless they all have a youthful joy and life within them that is filled with motivation, compassion, and they possess authentic-childlike personalities.

I don’t know about you, but for me that sounds like something I want to have. I don't believe we should ever trade that kind of joy for anything, especially if it is to replace it with the fulfillment of our external desires. If we do that, we will never be truly joyful.

A weekend with the Sisters of St. Joseph gave me an opportunity to witness what it is like to embrace true happiness and bring that sense into our daily lives. And that to me, is "Living Faith".

About Juan:
Juan is a young adult in his late 20’s; he immigrated to Canada from Mexico and is currently transitioning from the corporate world into a meaningful career as a Life Coach. Outside work he enjoys hanging out with good friends, running and taking every opportunity to do outdoor activities.