My name is Kalin Dawn Holthaus
I was born in Seneca, Kansas on August 9, 1989. (Axtell, my hometown, is too small to have a hospital.)
I graduated from The University of Kansas (KU) with a degree in Microbiology and a minor in Religious Studies
I like to imagine myself as a Renaissance woman: I love science, philosophy, art, sports… but really I am an amateur at everything and an expert of nothing.
I came to college on a quest for truth. I was convinced that I could make a difference in the world by discovering something previously unknown, something that would change humanity’s way of seeing the world. I wanted to study microbiology to understand nature and religious studies to understand people. I aspired to be a forgotten name in a textbook. Thus, I delved deeply into my studies and became involved with as many organizations as possible. By the grace of God, one of those “organizations” was the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center.
The Center facilitated my slow conversion throughout my four years at KU; going from culturally Catholic to ecstatically in love with Christ and His Church. It was during my junior year that I truly underwent a metanoia. That year God blessed me with two great opportunities at the St. Lawrence Center: Samuel Group and the Great Books Class. Samuel Group was a discernment group that the Apostles of the Interior Life conducted to help one discover who God has made one to be and how to pursue His Will. The Great Books Class was an integrated humanities program that followed themes in famous Western literature that focused on educating a person in how to be human.
Samuel Group opened my eyes and the Great Books Class taught me how to see. Samuel Group revealed a world completely foreign to me: that of religious life and its tangible possibility for me. The Great Books Class fed me the sweetness of Goodness, Beauty, and what I desired most of all: Truth. Samuel Group helped to demolish the fears, prejudices, and attachments that were preventing me from pursuing the happiness God had in store for me. The Great Books Class led me to a direct encounter with the Truth that I had longed for my whole college career, preparing my heart for what was to come.
At the end of that year, the Apostles hosted a “Come and See” retreat. The first evening we were going to have adoration through the night. In my laziness, I signed up for the first time slot so I could ensure a full night’s rest. I prepared myself for bed and entered the small bedroom that was serving as the chapel. I sat on the floor and reclined against the bed; directly in front of me was the Eucharist, no more than five feet away. As I looked upon God “face to face,” I was meditating on a concept I had learned in the Great Books Class. Suddenly, understanding overwhelmed me; I could see how the hand of God had worked throughout my past leading me to that moment, I recognized His real presence in front of me, and I could foresee in a certain sense what He wanted for me in the future. It was in that instant that I heard God asking me by name to be His. I very much felt the freedom to decline, but there was no way that I could say no. So, in the small makeshift bedroom chapel, surrounded by loved ones, I learned the Truth, I saw how to be human; I gave Jesus my fiat, my life.
I always saw the Apostles sporadically at events at the St. Lawrence Center. I began Spiritual Direction with them my sophomore year because I thought it “sounded interesting” (I had no idea what it was at the time). After that, my relationship with them was positively correlated with my faith life; as I fell more deeply in love with Jesus, I grew in greater companionship with the Sisters.
My first impression was “Why does everyone revere these Sisters so much? Who are these people?” When I began Spiritual Direction with Sr. Debbie I thought, “How old are you? Are you qualified to be talking to me about these things?” It did not take long, however, before I too loved and held deep respect for them.
I began the experience with the community… well I did not see the Apostles of the Interior Life as prospect until I went on a “Nun Run” to visit different communities my senior year of college. I was reflecting with some of the other girls on the trip one evening, telling them what I liked and disliked about the communities we had met thus far, when one of them said to me, “All of the things you are mentioning? The Apostles of the Interior Life have them.” It was only then did I realize that I could discern with the Apostles. The next year I was a St. Lawrence Volunteer and took a more decisive role in discerning with the Apostles. Approximately two years after I discovered my vocation, in August of 2012, I moved in with the Apostles inCollege Station,TX.
I desire to learn – and live – what it means to be human, to get out of the way and let God work through me, to spend each day immersed in Him. All the rest will follow.