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Louise, 18, Heysham

Being a Catholic has always played a role in my life and despite drifting slightly as I began to grow up, I am glad that I did because now my faith is so much stronger. It was a school retreat to Castlerigg which rekindled the flame of my faith and reminded me of the beauty of prayer, there are few sights more incredible than a chapel filled with candle light. I continue to return to Castlerigg for Easter and Advent retreats, each time leaving more tired than the last but also feeling more renewed than ever before; and ready to take on the world. Luckily I was as these past few years have been the most difficult of my entire life, with illness the cross I now have to bear. With no likelihood of a cure, it would be easy to become bitter and self-absorbed; instead I offer up my suffering to the Lord as a sacrifice and pray that He will help someone because of it. Of course I would rather be pain-free but as Jesus held onto his cup in the Garden of Gethsemane, so I will carry mine, as it is not my will but the Father’s which should be done. Being a Catholic has given me the strength to face what life throws at me, into your hands Lord, I commit my Spirit.