Camila Malta graduated from UST with a double major in Catholic Studies and business administration in 2001. A married mother of four children, she works in Brazil as a marketing manager for the mining company BHP Billiton. In this essay, she reflects on how her Catholic Studies experience continues to impact her life.
My years in the Catholic Studies program taught me that God has a beautiful, exciting plan for each of us. I learned this from extraordinary professors who walked with me in reading the writings chronicling the lives of many saints and in studying other aspects ofthe Catholic tradition, including art and history. We studied classic works such as Romano Guardini’s The Lord and Dante’s Inferno as well as Aristotle’s thoughts and Aquinas’ teachings. All these experiences planted seeds deep within my mind, my heart and my soul that have blossomed in me ever since.
The lessons I learned as a Catholic Studies student have given me the resources, perspective and framework to answer God’s calling with an engaged heart and a determined will. Seven years ago I graduated from the University of St. Thomas with degrees in Catholic Studies and business administration. Now more than ever I rely on the fruits of those seeds in my life as a wife, a mother and a businesswoman.
One area in which these fruits are evident is in my marriage. In classes I took through the Catholic Studies program, I gained a deeper understanding of the sacrament of marriage.
Philosophy professor Dr. Stephen Heaney laid out for us the range of thoughts on the nature of Man and the nature of Woman. He taught us what the Catholic tradition has to say about how perfect and complementary our relationship with each other is called to be, and that marriage is the living sign of God’s covenant with us. In Dr. Mary Reichardt’s literature class, we covered Catholic literature at its finest. As we studied St. Therese of Lisieux’s life by reading her autobiography Story of a Soul, we immersed ourselves in the thought of this gentle saint who lived life fully in everything she did. She embraced life’s daily joys and sorrows. Marriage is exactly that: we live a daily life together, embracing it fully in every little thing we do for each other and with each other, always.
Professors and staff not only taught lessons in the classroom but also opened Answering God’s Call With “An Engaged their lives to us. They were always generous in sharing their lives and witnessing their living faiths. The Catholic Studies community surrounded me with good people who loved God and lived their vocations fully. Marriage is my calling, and I have continuously and wholeheartedly embraced it. The Catholic Studies formation was instrumental in my discernment.
Catholic Studies also has profoundly shaped the way I understand my second calling, which is to be part of the business world. I accepted this challenge. Just as our Catholic tradition welcomes any good human activity, endeavor or achievement, so should we. Dr. Michael Naughton’s management class emphasized that the business world needs people to seek the common good. We are all called to share and invest our talents. Our talents are to be spread among the people, invested and multiplied. Instead of burying these talents deeply and safely in the ground, we are called to take risks, to challenge and to expand ourselves.
We are all called to greatness, to sanctity. We are called to work, to subdue the land and make sure all people profit from deliberate labor and thoughtful and strategic disbursementof wealth. Dr. Robert Kennedy’s Ethics class planted the seeds that have been the backbone of my business plans, objectives and ultimate targets. In this class, we learned we are never to justify the means for the sake of achieving an end. The Catholic Studies program continuously challenged my mind to become innovative, strategic and precisewith my endeavors. I learned to begin with the end in mind, to prize the common good and from there to design a plan. This plan should always place the person before the corporation and the common good before the maximization of wealth. Business is my calling. I will continue to strive for the creation and distribution of wealth among all its stakeholders and an environment where an investor is rewarded for risk.
Our rich Catholic tradition is also “catholic” with a small “c” – universal. It has and will continue to embrace all aspects of the human person. In doing so, the faithful members of the Church are often called to uncharted waters. Students seeking to live life fully, to embrace their God-given vocation, would do well to join the Catholic Studies program. The experience will plant seeds, engaging the mind, the heart and the soul. It did this for me seven years ago, and it still continues to shape my life.