Sophomore Theology major, Pauline Gilmore, is an exemplary presence on Ave Maria's campus. As a New York native, Pauline has spent her summers bringing her love for Christ to young adults by attending and working for Camp Veritas as a counselor. This summer, Pauline plans to set off on a missionary journey with Camp Veritas in the UK and is excited for the chance to truly encounter God's children and tell them how loved they are.
What are your plans for this summer?
This summer, I am going to Ireland to be a counselor for Camp Veritas! Before that, however, I will be visiting my family that lives in different parts of the country. Camp Veritas started in NY, and that is where I first encountered Christ and where my faith was awakened. My faith became my own there. Camp Veritas has American counselors come and minister to Irish kids to help deepen their faith in a country that has become distant from Catholicism. It is a regular camp during the day, and then there is mass and adoration at night. After my time in Ireland, I am going to England and I am doing a two week Focus mission trip and working with the Missionaries of Charity in London. The trip will be very evangelization based and allow my fellow missionaries and I to participate in parish ministry as well. During the last part of the mission trip, we are putting on a student leadership conference for British university students, kind of like SEEK, but on a smaller scale. It’s going to be really awesome! When I'm in Ireland visiting my family, I will kind of be a missionary too, because the number of practicing members of the Catholic faith in Ireland are very low. Even just evangelize to my extended family members that would mean so much to me. I want Ireland to find that fire for the faith again. That’s my European adventure plan for this summer!
If other Ave students wanted to get involved with Camp Veritas, could they?
Yes, absolutely! I would highly recommend it, especially for students that live near New York or Maryland. They could also come to Ireland with me if they wanted! We really need young adults that are on fire for their faith who can be role models for these kids. It changed my life. It's even more fun now being a counselor and being able to foster a relationship with the kids who come to camp. We don’t get paid, but you get free room and board. It’s also only one week, so it’s not a huge time commitment.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I probably will be back in New York, but I think the answer is just that I will be where God wants me to be. Maybe teaching? I feel called to a life in Christ.
What are you doing to get closer to your goal?
My biggest thing this year is intentionality - with my vocation, especially, in determining where God is calling me to use my talents, and also with my friends in building relationships, particularly through my sisterhood, Ti Voglio Bene. I want to make intentional friendships that help to build a community that is deep and lasting. My goal is to get to know people by truly encountering them.
What is the best compliment you have ever received?
After mass, a lady said “I can tell you love Jesus by the way you sing”. I loved that because she’s not recognizing me, she’s recognizing Christ in me, which is my goal. It shows I’m doing something right. I think that that should be everyone's goal, you know? Do do whatever it is that you do best for the glory of God.
What frightens you?
That some unforeseen event will come and shatter my whole perfect little life. God could totally throw that at me. Everything is just so good right now that I’m afraid something will happen…like a parent dying, or being diagnosed with an illness. In a way, I suppose that that is a healthy recognition, because I am so aware of how much of a gift that every new day is, but it is also kind of scary.
Where would you like to get lost?
Rome…again. I got lost in Rome the last time I was there because there are just so many beautiful churches! I accidentally stayed too long in one of them and then everyone was gone...oops. I would love to purposefully get lost there, though, because who better to get lost in than Jesus?I was there to visit for a week last Christmas break as an assistant director of an all girls choir from New York. Rome feels like home! It was an amazing gift to be able to visit St. Peter's Basilica so many times and sing for Pope Francis' epiphany mass. St. Peter's is the heart of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church-- so it is exactly where I belong, along with every other person who visits there.
What is your favorite book and why?
I used to be a huge Harry Potter fan. I think people at Ave might criticize me for that. Right now, I’m reading A Call to Mercy by Mother Teresa. It goes through each of the works of mercy and it is just really beautiful. I am enjoying it because it is full of these amazing reflections that Mother Teresa wrote.
Do you think your generation has too much self esteem?
No, I think people have too little of it, honestly. There is so much self-centeredness, and that probably leads to low self-esteem. Finding ourselves through gift of self is what we were destined for. Too much of a focus on self has lead to a "religion of self", which I think has been the destruction of our society. When we start to see ourselves as our own god, we forget to look outward. By serving others, we forget about ourselves, and that is what I have always found to be the most fulfilling experience in my own life.
Describe your most rewarding college experience
It has been forming friendships with my sisters in Ti Voglio Bene. One-on-one conversations that I can remember being really fruitful and really good are the most rewarding experiences. Learning how to be really authentic and vulnerable has been wonderful. There are about 30 of us and we pray together, have brunch, and just enjoy each other's company.
How would you describe yourself?
Outwardly joyful and inwardly pensive.
Using one word, how would you describe your time at Ave Maria University thus far?
One word to describe my experience at Ave would be BLESSED! I am so confident that Mary brought me here to her university, and that I am right where I am meant to be. I have been able to grow so much as an individual in my identity as a daughter of God. I have been able to identify my passions and focus my studies on them--namely, Theology, but also music and management skills through my classes, extracurriculars, and work that I have had the opportunity to participate in here. Being a student at Ave and a part of this vibrant community has also taught me what it really means to be Catholic, and that not all Catholics look the same! I can be confident that becoming more of who I am is becoming more of who God made me to be. In all things I hope to glorify him--in sharing my gifts and putting them to use for Him!
Any final thoughts?
Praise God for the gift of life!