Newman Guide Colleges Prepare Students for Happiness, Says African Missionary
A graduate of Wyoming Catholic College who now serves as a teacher and missionary in Africa says that there’s “no better option” than faithful Catholic colleges for “being formed as a whole person for happiness and flourishing.”
“Any college can provide job training, but Newman Guide colleges are looking at students as a person created in the image of God, so yes, providing the skills and education needed to work in this life, but also to be happy, both in this life and the next,” says Hannah Graves.
Currently serving as a teacher and missionary in Malawi, Africa, Graves credits her faithful Catholic education with giving her the “perspective” she needs to continue her service. “While there is a lot that is beautiful here in Malawi, there are also lots of major problems. Corruption and destitution are ubiquitous.”
After graduating from WCC, Graves worked for a parish in Washington state that wanted to set-up a sister relationship with a parish in Malawi. Inspired to share the joys of her Catholic faith and support the sister parish, Graves took a trip to visit St. Mary’s in Ntaja. During her visit, Graves discovered, “there was a lot about the life in Malawi that appealed to me.” She was drawn to a life of simplicity.
“I have wanted to live so as to ‘tread lightly on the earth,’ and in Malawi I saw the possibility of stepping out of the materialist consumerist culture that has dominated America and to learn to live without ‘essentials’ like refrigeration, air conditioning, dishwashers, and washing machines,” Graves said.
After Graves returned from that trip, she explored the opportunity to share her faithful Catholic education and teach in Malawi full-time. She contacted the Sacramentine Sisters and moved to Malawi in July 2022. She currently teaches high school students in a Sacramentine school, but she also volunteers regularly at a local orphanage run by Franciscan sisters.
Living in Malawi, Graves has noticed that “so much poverty is caused by poor agricultural practices and broken family units.” Despite the poverty, Graves admires the joy she sees. “The women are always so thrilled that I am there… They take such joy in the simplest gestures and so frequently break into song.”
“My neighbor is an Italian nurse who runs physical therapy centers for disabled children (cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, osteogenesis, club foot). On my days off, I go with her out to the villages for the PT sessions. The monthly gatherings at the centers always end with a simple meal. I love ‘helping’ the women in the kitchen and trying to communicate.”
Graves is striving to live a life detached from worldly things, a life of prayer and service for the Catholic Church and the people of Malawi. She plans to stay in Africa for the length of her work permit which is two years, but is “open to considering a longer stay depending on what God seems to want.”