Natalie and Jillian Lauver are twin sisters that graduated from Holy Trinity in 2016. Because both were involved and faithful students who had attended 10 years of Catholic school, Natalie and Jillian’s friends in high school were always a little surprised to learn that they were not actually Catholic.
But upon entering their sophomore year of college at Abilene Christian University both girls knew that the time had come to take a stand on the Catholic faith they had been exposed to during elementary and high school. Either Catholicism was true or it was not, and if it was true, as they had come to believe, they needed to do something about it. As Natalie said when asked about their decision to join the Church, “We just decided: Now’s got to be the time to become Catholic.”
Both Natalie and Jillian were great examples of the type of “Christian Leaders” that Holy Trinity forms its students into. Both were very involved in the school’s Forensics and Academic team all four years of high school, where they each found a large degree of success. In addition to Forensics, Natalie was also a member of the school’s Pep Squad working to create the decorative banners for different sports teams as well as serving as the Student Head of the Columba Family during her senior year. Jillian was a member of the volleyball and softball teams, active in the school’s drama program, and served as a Student Ambassador and the Student Head of the Aidan Family her senior year.
They are remembered by teacher Karen Kacir as being “excellent, serious students who were very hard workers and who have an incredible loyalty to the Holy Trinity community.”
That excellence allowed both girls to be accepted and receive scholarships to Abilene Christian University where Jillian is studying criminal justice and Natalie is part of the pre-veterinary science program. Jillian commented that the difference between her classmates and the two of them was noticeable saying, “[A professor] will say something [in class] and I’ll be just like, “Wow. I knew that for four years.””
But it was not just the academic difference that was noticeable. Classmates and professors of Natalie and Jillian had assumed they were Catholic because Natalie and Jillian would always speak up in their religion classes and prayer groups defending the Catholic teaching on certain doctrines and would encourage other students to go to Mass and Adoration. They cited the Catholic formation and environment at Holy Trinity as being one of the main reasons why.
Jillian said, “We really miss prayer service [at Holy Trinity] a lot and we will try and get our friends to go to Adoration, and we can usually get one or two, but we were also going to Catholic [prayer] services and carpooling three or four girls to Sunday Mass and so we would just tell everyone, ‘Yeah, we’re Catholic.'”
The girls said they finally got a confused comment from a priest when they kept showing up regularly for Adoration and Mass but never received the Eucharist. When he asked them if they needed to go to confession and they said they were not Catholic, he was shocked. They were already believing and doing most of the things that Catholics believe and do, so what was holding them back?
Natalie and Jillian had a decision to make, one they had admittedly been contemplating since their sophomore year of high school at Holy Trinity. What had always held them back was the concern that it was “peer pressure” that made them feel drawn to the idea of becoming Catholic, and not the conviction of faith. This was especially the case because the girls’ Holy Trinity friends had often encouraged them to become Catholic even while they were in high school. But Natalie and Jillian knew that if they were going to become Catholic, they wanted it to be “for Him” in Jillian’s words, and “not for [their] friends and not for [their] social life.”
Now, at Abilene Christian, there was certainly no pressure to become Catholic. In fact, it was just the opposite. But the girls knew that they were more convinced than they ever had been that becoming Catholic was the right thing to do. As Natalie said, “now’s got to be the time.”
When asked why they ultimately decided to become Catholic, Natalie and Jillian’s experience of Catholic education at St. Mary’s in Temple and Holy Trinity was at the forefront of their answer. Jillian said that the two biggest things they gained from Holy Trinity, besides the truth of the Catholic faith, were “the ability step into a leadership role and the courage to actually take that opportunity when the occasion arose.” Both girls recognize that it was those things that allowed them to “take the plunge” and become Catholic, and which have allowed them to lead others closer to Christ by sharing their faith and encouraging others to explore Catholicism as well.
* * *
It’s quite true what Natalie and Jillian said about Holy Trinity: That it has taught them how to be courageous leaders unafraid to pursue the truth or what is right, and unafraid to lead others to do the same thing as well. Not every high school experience specifically forms its students in the qualities necessary to be these Christian Leaders, but thankfully, Natalie and Jillian found such a place in Holy Trinity Catholic High School and the Church is better for it.
If you are an alumni of Holy Trinity Catholic High School, or you know someone who has become the person they are today because of Holy Trinity, please contact Alyssa Snyder at email@example.com. We would love to hear your story!
* * *
About the Author
Alyssa Snyder is a proud alumna of Holy Trinity Catholic High School, graduating from the Class of 2013 as the Valedictorian. She currently works at Holy Trinity teaching Speech and Senior Theology and serving as the Dean of Student Services and Campus Ministry.