Emily Rybak, who is an apostolate of the missionaries of the Servant Sisters, earned both her AA and BA degrees at CDU and has been accepted into the MA in Theology program. “Every course formed my intellect in a particular way in which my heart was then able to connect the paradoxical reality of coming to know Christ more fully while simultaneously growing in awe of the mystery He is,” she says. “All of the courses and faculty members were excellent and truly work to engage the students in cultivating a rich and vibrant understanding of academics in light of the beauty of the Church.”
Emily says that her education has prepared her in numerous ways for her work, “but the focal point is Christ. CDU truly emphasizes that in the midst of science, philosophy, literature, logic, idiomatics, history, morality, theology, soteriorology, and so forth, Christ is the center of it all. If Christ is the center of everything I pursue, including academics, then I can rest assured that my work will bear good, holy fruit.”
Emily was prompted to do missionary work with the Servant Sisters after an experience she had before the Blessed Sacrament nearly four years ago. She was in adoration one day and had a vivid and powerful desire to encounter Christ more fully and, in turn, love Him better. “When I expressed this to The Lord and placed this desire in His hands, He
opened the eyes of my heart in a particular way, and in doing so, I began to see Him all the more in the individuals I would encounter everyday,” she says. “I fell in love with His presence in others and recognized the immense ways in which He was inviting me to love Him in others.”
Emily’s work is wide ranging. She says, “I have the immense privilege of serving our brothers and sisters in Christ on various levels, such as in the pro-life field, substance abuse recovery centers, teaching religious education, retreats and formation meetings focused on the youth, and media platforms (such as the Promethean Perspective Podcast) that engage families to embrace the gift of the domestic church, as well as numerous other opportunities to console, strengthen, and tend to the Body of Christ.”
As in all things, there are always challenges, but when challenges are met with love, they can become great joys. “The poverty of a missionary life produces the gift of interior freedom, the freedom to follow Christ when He calls,” Emily explains. “The joy of laying one’s life down out of love for God and neighbor produces a peace that is never based upon the daily circumstances but on how Christ is inviting us to trust Him in the midst of it all.”
She sees the study of theology as a vibrant experience of appreciating truth, goodness, and beauty all bound together. “I learned all the more who I was, but moreover, who I am in light of who God is. There is nothing more good, true, or beautiful that I could do with my life than to share the power of God’s love with the world or maybe even just one lost soul. We were made for greater things, not grander but greater, and often those things come by way of a humble joyful soul focused on Christ,” Emily says.
Emily, one of six siblings, was born and raised on a farm in the valley of the Blue Ridge Mountain Range on the east coast. “The daily commitment of farm work and the consistency of the wholesome lifestyle therein focuses and disciplines you in numerous ways, particularly because you recognize you are part of something larger, a team effort,” she says. “This ‘farmer strong’ mentality applies to many areas of life and was a great gift that I received from my childhood. My parents did an excellent job in cultivating a flourishing domestic church, and having this consistency as a youth was crucial to my formation. Consistency in that which is virtuous is key for holiness and is a golden thread that teaches you to embrace sanctity day by day, moment by moment, out of love for Christ.”
She looks forward to earning her MA degree in Theology. “This privilege will only unlock more doors through which I can walk and serve Him all the more!” Emily says.