St. Mary’s Ryken senior says school helped her deepen and share her faith

Published by the Catholic Standard on June 5, 2020

By Josephine Von Dohlen 

Going to a Catholic school for many years, Elizabeth Trossbach, a senior at St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Maryland, said “eventually, (Catholicism) starts getting the norm and you need something to reignite your fire.” 

Elizabeth Trossbach Chapel

In the community at St. Mary’s Ryken High School and the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, Trossbach said she found just that: “a community of students who were looking to deepen their relationship with Christ,” she said.

As a student athlete and a leader on campus, Trossbach also found support in a community where she “learned that being a disciple of Christ also meant sharing your faith and loving to evangelize with others.” 

Trossbach served as a Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School Steward and a retreat leader at St. Mary’s Ryken and also played several different sports – track, softball and field hockey. 

Some of her favorite memories from high school took place during the school’s retreats. As a retreat leader, Trossbach said she had a “really good experience because I learned being a disciple of Christ also meant sharing your faith and loving to evangelize with others.” 

As a senior, she led the junior retreat and one of the most powerful moments, she said, was participating in the Mass at the end of the retreat. 

“It’s just a great way to get away from school, encounter friends in a new light, all centered around Christ and growing your faith,” Trossbach said. 

Outside of school, Trossbach has been involved with Communion and Liberation’s high school community, Gioventu Studentesca, a student group that meets to read from the writings of Father Luigi Giussani. Father Giussani was a Catholic priest who began a movement to create and educate Catholic communities around the world. 

One of her favorite classes at St. Mary’s Ryken was theology, Trossbach said, which began with the foundations found in Aristotle’s ideas about virtue – and eventually opened her eyes to a deeper understanding of faith, which she said she credits to her teachers and their passion for the faith and for teaching. 

As she heads off to Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio to study education, Trossbach said she looks forward to finding a similar community to that at St. Mary’s Ryken – a “vibrant and joyful” community of young people rooted in the faith, she said. 

Leaving St. Mary’s Ryken, Trossbach said one of the school’s biggest blessings was being able to attend Mass every day in the chapel. 

“During X-hour… I’d always be there with a group of friends saying the rosary and attending Mass,” she said. “It’s really about an encounter with something more… Being able to go to Ryken was a really huge blessing.” 

And while she is excited to begin her next adventure in the fall, Trossbach said the impact the St. Mary’s Ryken had on her and her future was profound. 

“The love and joy that the (St. Mary’s Ryken) faculty and staff have for their students was a constant help and inspiration for me when I struggled to balance school, extracurricular activities, and my faith life,” she said. “I could come to them with more than just questions about schoolwork, but for meaningful advice as well.”

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