Name: Hannah Zimmerman
Residence: I currently live in Iowa City while I am studying at the University of Iowa, but I am originally from Los Angeles, Calif.
Family: My mom, dad, and younger brother live in California. My younger sister goes to school in Pennsylvania.
Parish: Iowa City: Newman Catholic Student Center; Los Angeles: St. Anastasia
How old were you when you became aware of your Catholic faith?
I went to a Catholic elementary school and a Catholic all-girls high school, but when I actually internalized my faith was in college. I attended a Newman Center retreat during my first semester at the university, and that’s when I really began to think about how I wanted Catholicism to be a part of my life. When you are an adult and can choose how much to be involved in your faith, I feel like that’s when it becomes your faith. That is partially how I got involved in ministry. I was curious if God could remain a substantial part of my life during my busy years as a grad student, so I created a grad student group at the Newman Center to ensure that happened.
How does faith impact the decisions you make?
I feel the greatest connection with God when I am serving others and working for the common good. Due in part to Catholic teachings of social justice and service, I am working towards a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. I want to spend my life working with and for people with impairments to help others find their voice. In addition to my career choice, my faith has made me think about the kind of person I want to be. I believe that the virtues that I want to emanate to the world, such as humility, honesty and kindness, are based on my understanding of who Jesus was and what he taught.
How do you pray?
I pray very informally. Whenever I feel the need to ask God for something or most importantly, to thank him, I stop and take time to do that. I pray during my walk to class, as I’m getting ready to fall asleep and on long airplane trips. I take a moment before Mass to pray for the continued desire to be closer to God and be more faith-filled despite my shortcomings. I firmly believe prayer is just a conversation with God, and I enjoy talking to him throughout the day.
What Scripture passages or stories inspire you?
Psalm 105:6: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” It is a simple passage, yet it reminds me that God has given the world so much beauty and life. Even when I get overwhelmed with the negative, I am reminded how thankful I am for all of God’s blessings.
Who has been a model of the Catholic faith in your life?
All my family, teachers and friends inspire me because they each have their own expression of faith. I have family members and friends who sing or play in the church choir, and they praise God through their musical talents. I have had teachers and friends who are very academic about their faith, and they find peace with God through knowledge. I have had friends who are incredibly outspoken and passionate about God, and every word they speak about him lights a fire within you. I have had family members who show their faith through action. I have been fortunate to have so many models of Catholic faith in my life, and each has inspired and empowered me to express my faith and love of God in my own way as well.
How has your Catholic faith helped you to deal with life’s challenges?
My faith has given me hope. Having that Catholic faith reminds me there is something greater than myself. When I feel powerless about the negative things in life, I know I am not alone. I am part of a universal community of incredible Catholic people. Most importantly, I know God will never leave my side.
Name: Hannah Zimmerman