What was it like growing up with a family of twins?
Having a twin — I would recommend it to everyone. We would have deep life chats while doing scooter races around our driveway as 10 year olds. My older sisters were a lot more competitive with sports and things because they were the same gender, whereas Kieran and I — OK, I will never be as good at football as him, right? But we challenged each other academically. He’s always looked out for me, and vice versa.
How did your experience at UW-Madison impact your spiritual life?
College is really where I found my faith. Your first semester is so lonely, and you’re really trying to figure everything out. A lot of people think being a part of the party culture is what college is, but you realize that’s really not satisfying. I wanted something deeper. People at (the UW-Madison) St. Paul (Catholic Student Center) really sought me out. I would go to Sunday Mass, and I was immediately approached by some girls and joined the Bible study. That really ignited my love for the faith. Those girls loved explaining the faith in a way that used my language. Being around people my age who were on fire for their faith made me realize that being Catholic is actually cool.
What did you learn from being a FOCUS missionary?
It was the most transformative two years of my life. It really taught me how to pray. I remember in college, I was so craving divine intimacy and wondering how to achieve divine intimacy — and it turns out, it’s just prayer. And I was praying, but I didn’t really know how to pray. FOCUS taught me how to grow in divine intimacy, and really how to live the little way of evangelization that St. Therese of Lisieux preaches. I learned that in our spiritual life we have to fall in love with our poverty, with our deep need for God. The more childlike we are and the more dependent we are on Jesus and trusting of him, life is just so much easier.
Why law school? What brought you to Marquette?
I always wanted to go to law school because I knew that I wanted to have a career where I could really serve my community. I don’t see myself practicing law for my entire life, but hopefully serving on boards and being able to impact certain organizations and be a helping hand. Honestly, my dream is to be a stay-at-home mom and do pro-bono work the rest of my life.
What kinds of things do you do as the president of the student chapter of the St. Thomas More Society?
The St. Thomas More Society is all about fostering community for Catholics and Christians within the Marquette network. The professional chapter is really willing to go out of their way to network with us students and mentor us. For the student chapter, we try to plan events where people can be involved in the Catholic community outside of the law school. I’m always inviting people to come to Cor Jesu on Wednesday nights at St. Robert and Brew City Catholic in Milwaukee. This upcoming semester, I’m trying to plan some Reconciliation nights — we have a law school chapel on our fourth floor, and we want to invite some priests to hear confessions while we have a holy hour. That’s really the dream.
What hobbies keep you busy?
I’ve gotten really into cooking recently — I love Gordon Ramsay. For Christmas, I got a ton of cooking supplies, so I’m really excited about that. I also love English literature and reading, so that’s how I relax in law school — even though I’m already doing so much reading, it’s nice to read something that’s not in legal jargon. Last year, I read 30 books, so this year my Goodreads goal is to read 35.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
When I was really discerning going to law school, I asked my college chaplain, Fr. Eric Nielsen — “Do I do this? Do I not?” And he just told me, “Kara, there’s never just one opportunity to do something. Why do people say you only have one chance to do something?” That was just the best advice, because there are always more opportunities to go back and do something, even if you’re further along in life. The door is wide open for you to keep challenging yourself and try new things. You never have just one shot at something.