Faith guides Maryland swimmer, youngest on US Olympic team, in quest for gold
By Maureen Boyle
Catholic News Service
BETHESDA, Md. (CNS) — (Katie Ledecky, 15, a sophomore at Stone Ridge school of the Sacred Heart and a parishioner at the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda, Maryland won the gold medal in the Olympic 800-meter freestyle last Friday and broke the U.S. record for women in her event).
She spoke with the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Washington Archdiocese, about her life, family, school, swimming career and strong Catholic faith, which, she said, keeps her focused on God and what matters most in life. She and her family are longtime parishioners of the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda.
“I always pray right before a race,” Ledecky said. “The prayer I say is the Hail Mary.
“I also love going to Mass every week. It’s a great chance to reflect and connect with God. (My faith) has been a big part of my life since I was born,” she explained.
Ledecky said she has always loved St. Anne, the mother of Mary, and chose her name for confirmation. Because her birthday is March 17, Ledecky also has a special devotion to St. Patrick.
She credited the example of men and women religious she has known for inspiration. She called the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who taught her at Little Flower School in Bethesda, “great role models.”
Her godfather, Jesuit Father Jim Shea, provincial of the Maryland Province of the Jesuits, is a close family friend and another Ledecky supporter.
Meet Regis Jesuit's Olympic Hopeful Missy Franklin
DENVER, COLO., August 4 (CNA) .- (Missy Franklin, 17, from Aurora, CO, won five medals in women’s swimming: four golds and one bronze).
Q: I understand your experience at Regis Jesuit has deepened your spiritual life and you are considering converting to Catholicism. What is your faith background? Can you share a bit about how your experiences there have impacted your spirituality?
A: My experiences at Regis Jesuit have absolutely impacted my spiritual life, in so many ways. I am considering converting to Catholicism; I'm currently Protestant.
Going into Regis Jesuit my faith was not a very big aspect of my life. Taking my first theology classes, going to my first Masses, going on my first retreats, I began to realize how important God is in my life and how much I love him and need him. My relationship with (God) grew so much within my first three years at Regis Jesuit and I am very happy with where I am with him right now, although there is a lot of more work to do.
Junior year has really affected me because I have had two of the best experiences of my life. I was on the girls division 26th Kairos (annual retreat for juniors), then we had two weeks of service projects in the beginning of January. Both of these changed my life. I am also hoping to be selected for our winter delegation for the Belize mission trip. I am so thankful for Regis Jesuit, for they have brought God and so much meaning into my life.
Posted with permssion from the Denver Catholic Register. Official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Denver.