By Natashya Fernandez
When God’s calling to the Catholic faith became clear to Candidate Eleisha Hathaway, she embraced it wholeheartedly. A union that she will cherish and share with her husband and daughter, Eleisha says – there is peace in that.
While studying to finish her degree at the University of Notre Dame (Fremantle), Eleisha says she began to understand how the Catholic faith applied to everything she believed in. Determined to work in a Catholic School and be a part of a system that highlighted pastoral care, Eleisha got her first job at Servite College and now works at Mercy College where she’s been for the last nine years.
Hungry to learn and know more about the Catholic faith, she attended retreats and Masses, and since getting married recently, she was determined to convert to the Catholic faith.
“I felt Catholicism had become a large part of my life and I wanted to be able to fully participate in the Catholic Church and community,” Eleisha said.
It was only when Director of Mission for Mercy College, Melissa Cartner, approached Eleisha about completing the RCIA through College Chaplain Father Albert Saminedi (Sam), that she fully committed.
“I was very excited by the thought of this as I would be surrounded by the very community that had lead me to this decision.
“Being baptised into the Anglican Church and following the faith heritage of my parents and other family members, I was fortunate to grow up in a family where belief in God and a moral code learnt from the scriptures was important, Eleisha said.
“Going through the liturgies, I felt that there was something intangible which made me yearn for more.
“We formed a small group of seven, two catechumens and five candidates, and met on a regular basis under the guidance of Fr Sam, Melissa and our coordinator, Mrs Carmel Gentelli-Pace. Her background in theology helped immensely as it prepared us for a beautiful spiritual journey.
“RCIA gave us the opportunity to ask questions openly and learn more about the faith, understand the Sacraments, the Creed with the tenets of the faith and the scriptures. “Knowing that in spite of coming from various backgrounds, we were all on the same journey into our Catholic faith was comforting,” Eleisha said.
What helped Eleisha even more were the staff at Mercy College who guide her on this journey.
“I was truly inspired by them and their commitment to the mission of Jesus, she said.
“Our Director of Mission, Melissa played a big part in guiding me as well. She assisted and supported me from the start. Always available for a chat, she engaged and taught me facets of the Catholic way of life that I did not know or understand,” Eleisha said.
The RCIA not only helped Eleisha in a life-fulfilled in the love of Jesus within the communion of the Catholic Church, it moved her so much to want to reach out to others wishing to convert.
“All it took for me was to be invited on my faith journey, and if you are Catholic and know someone who may want to take this step, invite them. It may just be what they are waiting for. I know it changed mine,” she ended.