Katherine Connolly is a Pastoral Ministry major. This interview was taken during her Senior year on the Rockland campus.
What is your major? What year are you?
I am a second semester senior majoring in Pastoral Ministry.
What interested you about your major?
Interestingly enough, I did not start out as a Pastoral Ministry major. I actually came to Nyack with the intentions of being a Biology major. I felt like I had to go big or go home. I was the first to go to a private 4-year college. I felt the burden of wanting to make my family proud so someday I can provide for my mom. The only option I gave myself was to be a doctor, and although I really wanted to help people and bring healing into their lives, I found I was more motivated by the money than I was about the people. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED being a Biology major. I still geek out about science to this day! I just knew deep down that I wasn’t being fulfilled in my calling. I felt drawn to Pastoral ministry and couldn’t understand entirely why, but my college roommate, McKenzie and I spent a whole semester praying. God totally gave me signs left and right, and I think it wasn’t until I went to the tannery with the Honors Program, that I realized I could not handle blood! That was when I knew I wanted to bring healing through the Word. I changed my major for my second semester of college, and I have been in it ever since!
Where are you from? What is your family like?
I was born and raised in Bronx, NY, but now I live at Nyack! I was one of five, and the first and only Christian in my family. I wouldn’t say that I had the closest relationship to my family, but I can say I loved them and still love them. My love for them has changed though, as it has grown deeper, as I have grown in my faith. I pray for them almost every day, that they would encounter the Holy Spirit. I have five nieces and a nephew, and I absolutely adore them. The one I think I adore the most in my family is my little Pomeranian, Poochi.
What prompted you to join ‘Woman Rites of Passage?
I joined Woman because I never had a positive role model of what it meant to be a Godly woman, with authority and boldness, with humility and kindness. I grew up in a very “machismo” culture that viewed men as more superior. It was VERY complementarian– to the point where women were viewed as being solely good for the purpose of household chores and childbearing. My sisters were single moms at very young ages and it was very hard to learn about being a woman when they were also trying to figure that out for themselves.
In addition, I hadn’t seen too many great role models in the church I attended, prior to Nyack. For the most part, the women were petty and concerned with their aesthetics. I didn’t know what kind of woman God purposed me to be.
Do you know any alumni from this program? How were they affected?
I knew a couple of alumni who said that this program radically changed how they viewed their femininity, and how they viewed themselves as women with leadership abilities. These women have broken barriers that would have otherwise restricted them to children’s and women’s ministry, and they have gone out and have become pastors, workers for non-profit organizations, business owners, etc. It’s pretty cool to have seen that happen.
Tell us a little bit about what you’ve done so far in the program.
So far, I’ve been initiated into the program which is super cool! And I have met with my mentor, in our biweekly meetings. I will be getting together with a couple of others from WOMAN to discuss the first book reading assignment from Amy Davis Abdallah’s WOMAN book. I’ve shared laughs, amazing food and teas, and have started getting connected with the women around me.
What is your greatest goal to achieve this year as a participant of women?
My greatest goal is to learn about the kind of woman I was intended to become. I don’t want my womanhood to be defined by my marriage, or by how many kids I have, or how clean I keep our home. I aspire to dedicate my life to missions in Japan, and I want to learn what it means to be a woman in leadership. I want to be able to empower the women around me now and in the near future when my husband and I depart to Japan for service. I want to be able to define what it means for me to be a woman, and to help others find that definition for themselves too.
Who’s your mentor? And why this person?
My mentor is Wanda Walborn. If anyone knows me, they’d know I absolutely LOVE Wanda Walborn. The running joke was that I would always sit at the feet of Wanda (like Mary and Jesus). I chose Wanda because she is the greatest inspiration for me in being a woman. She is brilliant, hilarious, super cool, beautiful, grace-filled, and she is a woman led by the Spirit of God. She walks in the boldness and confidence of her identity in Christ, and is always listening to what the Father is doing presently. She has started such a dynamic ministry, Empower, with other wonderful and bold women, and it is empowering women all around the world. I find that I identify with a good chunk of Wanda’s story. As her mentee, I am looking forward to being stretched, and to seeing my potential with new lenses.