Dianne Marshall, 26, a Naperville, Ill., native, now living in Sheboygan, is the older of two children. She is director of youth ministry in Sheboygan and lectors, assists with Vacation Bible School, does service work alongside her teens, volunteers at the Sheboygan County Historical Museum, and tries to do international mission work.

School and/or occupation:
I graduated from Albion College in Albion, Mich., in 2009, with a degree in religious studies and psychology. For the past two years, I have been the director of youth ministry at the Northside Catholic Faith Formation in Sheboygan (Holy Name of Jesus, St. Clement and St. Dominic parishes in Sheboygan). This fall, I am also starting work on my master’s in Christian doctrine at Marquette.

What is your dream job?
I have my dream job. When I was in high school, life was really hard. I was going through a lot, really depressed, and unsure if I believed in God or not. Then I went on my confirmation retreat and everything changed. I truly saw God that weekend and ever since I have totally submersed myself in church activities. It really became a second home to me. Youth ministry literally saved my life. So I want to facilitate that process for other teens.

What’s on your iPod?
I listen to a lot of contemporary Christian music. My favorites are Tenth Avenue North, Matt Maher and Matthew West.

If you could dine with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Nelson Mandela. After apartheid ended in South Africa, the blacks had the majority. They easily could have passed laws that hurt the whites. But Mandela came in as president and tried to unify the country.

Who has made the biggest impact upon you?
My grandfather. He passed away in 2007. He was always so proud of everything I did and wanted to read every single paper I ever wrote. He was so giving and charitable, one night searching a state park for a homeless person, whom my uncle told him had been forced to leave the hotel, so that they could give him shelter. He taught me how to be a Catholic and still be a “normal” person. And he taught me about life-long learning.

What’s one thing that makes you unique?
I traveled to 15 countries but have never gone to Canada.

Favorite Scripture passage:
“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” Heb 11:1.

Favorite quote:
“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” -Mother Teresa

What is your favorite food, dessert?
Ribs and custard.

A challenge in life that has strengthened your faith:
I think that the most recent challenge that happened to me was after I was in South Africa as a missionary. Life there was very hard, living in a rural area and working constantly. Then I became the victim of a crime there and no one believed me. When I returned home, I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was forced to leave graduate school at that time and really bottomed out psychologically, even checking myself into the hospital for a week. I was driving down to lead a high school retreat at my home parish and was screaming at God. Why had he done this to me? I told God that he better show himself that weekend or I was done. Saturday night during a guided meditation, we were asked to walk up a hill with Jesus. There was a hill where I stayed in Africa that had the Stations of the Cross along the path so we were walking there. As we walked up the hill, I noticed Jesus was bleeding. The further we went, the worse the wounds of the crucifixion became. When we reached the top, he turned to me with holes in his hands he reached out and said, “Aren’t my wounds ugly, don’t they disgust you?” Then in front of my eyes, he transformed into the resurrected Christ, still with wounds but no longer bleeding and suffering. And he said, “Now aren’t my wounds beautiful?”

God showed up! He had shown me that all the pain and suffering, the injustice that happened to me, that it was horrible now. I was the crucified Christ with raw and bleeding wounds. But he showed that one day, just as the terrible crucifixion was necessary to have the resurrection, my pain and suffering will not destroy me but rather I will be a better person, more compassionate, stronger and better prepared to serve others.

After that experience I had what could only be called a miraculous recovery. I went from rock bottom to being able to get my dream job in just about five months. I went from a strong faith to something rock solid that could overcome any obstacle.

Favorite pastime/hobby/activity:
Playing softball.

What is the most important thing you want to accomplish in life?
To change lives and create smiles.

How do you live your faith every day?
I pray and, most importantly, I talk to people about it. I am inspired by my teens and I am so blessed to get to see the massive transformations that can occur in their lives through their confirmation journey.

Name one guilty pleasure:
Reality television.