A graduate of a faithful Catholic college believes daily prayer is critical—and she’s sharing a new tool to help young people develop a prayer routine.
“Forming a strong daily prayer routine is paramount to building the spiritual armor necessary to face daily temptation as well as the destructive forces college students will be met with post-graduation,” urges Annie Foster, a graduate Franciscan University of Steubenville, which is recognized in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.
Now employed by the Catholic app named “Hallow” that hosts more than 5,000 audio-guided prayers and meditations, Annie believes the tool can be a great resource for young people to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. In just three years, the app has become the top Catholic app in the app store, with 50,000 five-star reviews and two million downloads.
“I believe Hallow’s success and why it is a helpful resource for young adults, lies first and foremost in the fact that prayer is where we come to know the person of Jesus Christ and where we invite Him into a personal relationship. The Catholic apologetics space is overflowing with catechetical resources to help us to know and defend our faith. Hallow’s primary purpose however is to serve as an instrument that our Lord can use to speak to our hearts and where we can speak to His.”
Hallow allows users to set-up alerts for prayer throughout the day, and then set time aside for audio prayers like the Angelus and Rosary. It “meets students where they are” both physically (on their phones) and spiritually (on their faith journeys), explains Annie. Schools and colleges like Franciscan University are partnering with Hallow to make the app available to students.
The app is also in high demand to respond to the mental health crisis that many young people are facing today.
“In recent years, young adults have been experiencing and openly sharing more and more the mental health issues they’ve been facing. The remedies of the world are often not only contrary to our faith but lead the youth into even greater confusion and desolation,” explained Annie. “Hallow responded to this reality by working with Catholic mental health professionals such as Dr. Bob Schuchts and religious such as Sr. Miriam James to create meditations to address the healing of wounds, addictions as well as various other topics.”
In her life and work, Annie draws the on formation she received at Franciscan University “on a daily basis.”
“Franciscan is where I fell in love with the study of philosophy, particularly Christian personalism and the thought of Dietrich von Hildebrand and his wife Alice. I worked as a student fellow for the Hildebrand Project, a non-profit dedicated to the dissemination of Hildebrands thought and witness,” explained Annie. “Christian personalism tints the lense with which I view my faith and my work because it is a philosophy rooted in an appreciation of the dignity of the human person and therefore a philosophy that can be lived.”
She was also an active member of Franciscan’s lacrosse team. “Coach Maura Carapellotti transformed simple exercises into spiritual exercises. Coach emboldened us to play our sport with total freedom and fearlessness because she convinced us that our identities were not based on the scoreboard but in our relationship with our Lord. We truly played for an audience of One [Jesus Christ].”
“Attending a faithful Catholic college akin to Franciscan not only makes authentic Catholic teaching and the sacraments accessible, it makes accessible a community of peers who will support you in prayer and friendship for the rest of your life. That is no small thing. We often affectionately refer to Steubenville as a ‘bubble’ because it truly is a safeguarded haven for practicing Catholics.”
But “even within the ‘bubble’ the enemy never sleeps,” and the temptations are great after college, explained Annie. That’s why building a prayer routine is so critical—and why Annie is helping young people do just that.