Kelsey Callahan, 23, an only child from Alpharetta, Georgia, calls Milwaukee home as she pursues her master’s in clinical mental health counseling at Marquette University. But her zip code doesn’t matter when it comes to answering God’s “call.”
Callahan said she is called to the single life now, with the hope of a vocation to marriage someday, and thinksshe’s “called to the laity.” Throughout high school and college, she has helped with vacation Bible school at her church or with campus ministry, and she began serving as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion her junior year, which she continues at Gesu in Milwaukee. Over time, her volunteering and involvement in church have led her to pursue a career in counseling.
“With becoming a counselor, I think as my career progresses, I will want to offer my services to my church community however that may fit, either in grief ministry or as a resource to the parishioners. …” she wrote, noting the realizations didn’t happen quickly.
“Once I found my calling to counseling, the other pieces fit around it with the support of my faith community, many retreats and prayer. I would recommend (eucharistic) adoration and retreats as a time and place to come to God with your questions, struggles and concerns, and be open and listen to what he has to say in response.”
School and/or occupation:
I am studying at Marquette University to get my master’s in clinical mental health counseling. My focus is children and adolescents.
What is your dream job?
To create an after-school program where adolescents can access tutoring and school help, but, at the same time, have the opportunity to attend groups on topics that are issues adolescents are going through. Individual counseling would also be available. Having academic and mental health services available would take the stigma out of the situation for teens who feel like they need help but do not want to be labeled. Having this type of teen center would give teens a productive, structured safe place to be after school if they do not have this.
What’s on your iPod?
My iPod is really old and not updated but I love The Fray, and Gavin DeGraw. I stick to more pop genres, but I have gotten back into country music more recently.
If you could dine with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Martin Luther King Jr., because I am born on his birthday and have always looked up to him. I think it would be neat to hear what he has to say about our country now, and how we can even further civil rights for others.
Who has made the biggest impact upon you?
I would say my grandmother has made one of the biggest impacts on me. She taught me how to pray the rosary and showed me the importance of prayer in everyday life. When she would visit, or I would be at her house, she always said the rosary before bed and would always say she was keeping me in her prayers. I appreciate her openness and availability to talk to me, and look forward to talking to her every week. She always helps me to see a situation in a different light when I am struggling.
What’s one thing that makes you unique?
I was born three months premature at 1 pound 3.6 ounces, and stayed in the hospital for four months.
Describe a normal weekend:
Hanging out with friends, whether going to a new restaurant or exploring Milwaukee. We may go to a movie or rent one. I sometimes catch up on TV shows I have missed. Of course, I usually have some homework or a paper to write for the coming week. Lastly, I usually work, sometime Friday or Saturday, at Kohl’s and end my weekend going to Mass and calling my family to catch up before the new week starts.
Favorite Bible story/Scripture passage/prayer:
1 Peter 4:10 “God has given each of you abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others … many kinds of blessings.”
“Be the change that you want to see in the world,”
– attributed to Mahatma Ghandi
What is your favorite food, dessert?
I really love chicken not really any particular way over another, but it is a staple of mine in my refrigerator. For dessert, pretty much anything with peanut butter or chocolate sounds good to me.
A challenge in life that has strengthened your faith:
My sophomore year of high school, my grandfather passed away, I didn’t make a sports team I tried out for, and my family had some financial strains that were unforeseen. It was a time of self-exploration and trying to find a new place since I no longer had the sport I was a part of. I started volunteering more and being in clubs like Habitat for Humanity. Most of these opportunities were through our campus ministry at my school, which helped me to lean on my faith during these hard times. Giving back in this way, to my community and school through tutoring, helped me in many ways. I realized even though this year was nothing like I thought it was going to be like, with all the changes and things I was not used to, God opened my eyes to all the other possibilities and allowed me the time to think about what I wanted to pursue in life.
I minored in photography in college. I haven’t gotten to take many pictures this past year, but I do enjoy pretty scenery and capturing the moments of the year to remember them later.
What is the most important thing you want to accomplish in life?
Feeling like I really accomplished something important and that my purpose in life affected the community in a strong way.
How do you live your faith every day?
Last year for the Year of Faith, I joined an email list to have bits of the catechism delivered to me every day with a discussion, so you could learn about the faith all year long. Once the year was up, they started a Gospel reading of the day to get through all the Gospels in one year. They also did a Lenten reflection that I joined. It is a simple way to start the day and learn new things along the way.
Name one guilty pleasure:
Watching too many shows on ABC or ABC Family