Author: Jessica Dowling
July 8th, 9th, and 10th of 2011. I will never forget that weekend. I was changed mentally and spiritually, just in 3 days. My Mother, my Grandmother, my best friend, my sister, my neighbor and I left little Rhode Island at 3:30 in the morning and traveled 14 hours cross the country all the way to the sleepy town of Steubenville, Ohio. Here we attended the Franciscan University of Steubenville Youth Conference, that took place at one of my top future schools, The Franciscan University of Steubenville. My experience at the Franciscan University of Steubenville Youth Conference was life changing. I have grown up in a very catholic family, but have never experienced God. I pretty much was just went through the motions of being catholic my whole life, but this really brought me closer to God and made me realize how important my faith really is. Friday night we gathered in the Finnegan Fieldhouse with over 2,000 other teens. It was amazing how many kids there were there that shared the same faith as I. Later on that night we crammed 7 girls into a dorm room with 2 beds. The next day was filled with adventure. We sat in the fieldhouse and dug deeper into our faith, through prayer, mass and adoration. I have to say that night at adoration was the most life transforming that happened that weekend. There was a warmth that hugged the air that night, and it wasn’t the accumulation of body heat. The next day the weekend ended with mass, and we were in our car again. We drove all the way back home and arrived 4:30 in the morning, just in time to catch the newspaper being dropped off. Ever since then I have not been the same. I developed a sense of gratitude and a heart yearning for Jesus that weekend. I will never in my life forget that weekend with God.