Samantha Howath

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Embracing the Unexpected

Posted by Samantha Howath on Aug 23, 2021 6:00:00 AM

As move-in and the fall semester approach, I still cannot believe I’m a senior at Loyola University Maryland. It seems like yesterday that I was saying goodbye to my parents in my dorm room, holding back tears.

To say that my college experience was unpredictable would be an understatement. Although I was not living amid a pandemic in my freshman year, I had to adjust to college itself. It would be easy to dwell on what I missed out on because of the pandemic, such as studying abroad, but I know I am not alone. Reflecting on the past three years, I realize that God has been a constant anchor in my times of need.

Since I was young, I have liked to know what comes next and be prepared. In college, I learned that sometimes plans do not work out the way I want them to. Whether a class project becomes stressful, or I get rejected for an internship, I lean into my faith. Through challenges, I encourage myself to trust in God’s plan. I’ve found that attending Mass and being a volunteer lector has been beneficial. I also pause to say the “Serenity Prayer” when I feel overwhelmed, and I wear a blessing bracelet every day.


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Topics: trust in God, RENEW International, trust in the Lord, God's plan

Friendship through Faith

Posted by Samantha Howath on Sep 23, 2020 7:00:55 AM

Even though I have already completed two weeks of remote classes, I still cannot believe I am a junior at Loyola University Maryland. Given my introverted nature, I was nervous about making friends in freshman year. I am grateful to have found a core group of friends early on that have always been there for me.
Although we met in different ways, something that connects us is a faith foundation. For instance, I reconnected with a high school classmate and became friends with her and her roommate by attending weekly Mass with themr. Meanwhile, I enjoy supporting my sophomore roommate and other friends who sing in chapel choir.
I got to know these friends even more when I joined their Campus Ministry Koinonia group and was welcomed by each member. Koinonia, which means “fellowship” in Greek, is a faith-sharing and reflection program. Since freshman year, we’ve all been involved in Campus Ministry in various forms as student interns, retreat leaders, liturgical ministers, and more.
I recently reunited with friends at Loyola after months of being apart. Until I saw them in person once again, I did not realize how much I had missed my friends! After a relaxing weekend with my sophomore roommates in August, I recently spent a week in Sea Isle City with those I planned to live with this semester. While we were at the beach, we had the chance to watch livestream Mass at which our friend was a lector.
Between hiking and roasting s’mores and then having September beach days, I feel incredibly blessed for these memories. Although 2020 has not been an ideal year for anyone, my friends remind me to live to the fullest.
I have witnessed the power of faith through my parents’ friendships with connections from childhood and Catholic school communities. I have always admired how they all look out for each other in joyful and trying times through prayer, thoughtful gestures, and meaningful conversations. I hope to emulate their compassion and loyalty in my own relationships.
What I love most about my friends is their demonstration of Christian values whether it be through engaging with the Baltimore community or reminding me to believe in myself. They allow me to be my authentic self: someone who overdresses for every occasion, lacks cooking skills, and takes endless sunset photos.
Even states away, my friends and I take time to reach out and discuss Taylor Swift’s “Folklore,” send good luck texts during finals, or recommend books and televisions shows. I’m so lucky to have found the gift of spirituality in friendship from my Loyola experience.
Photo: A view of Alumni Chapel at Loyola University Maryland.
Samantha Howath, who has been an intern at RENEW, is an occasional contributor to the RENEW blog.

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Finding God's Presence

Posted by Samantha Howath on Jul 29, 2020 7:00:16 AM

Since I was little, my favorite week of the year has been the annual beach vacation I have with my immediate and extended family in July. This year we were blessed in that everyone was healthy and able to come under the circumstances. I have always felt closest to God through nature and through my relationships, so what better way to deepen my spirituality than at the beach with my loved ones? Between long beach days and outdoor gatherings, I took time to pause and reflect on what I call “God moments,” when I feel his presence in my everyday life.
Perhaps the most memorable “God moment” was the family Wiffle ball game on our last day. I am lucky to belong to a tight-knit family that makes every person feel special. I loved that everyone had a role: my father and uncle coached, my sister patiently pitched, my mother and cousin were outfielders, and both players and spectators cheered for every hit. I recall looking around and thinking to myself how much this moment meant to me. God placed a wonderful group of people in my life that remind me of his unconditional love. I realized that I will cherish this memory forever, and I hope to carry on the annual tradition when I have my own children.
Whenever I caught the sunrise on the beach or watched the sunset from the deck, I was in awe of the fresh start God provides every morning and the heavenly sky reminded me of my grandparents watching over us. I also enjoyed living vicariously through my younger cousins while we jumped over ocean waves and built sandcastles. I admire their excitement for life’s simple joys whether it be crab hunting on the beach and riding bikes around the block. We are all children of God who have so much to laugh and smile about despite an uncertain world. I felt that same happiness when we spotted dolphins, and I spent hours on inner tubes giggling with my cousins.
I may not see my extended family often or live at the beach, so the bonds formed make our time spent together even more meaningful. As I settle into reality, I encourage myself to find beauty in creation. I know that some days may seem easier than others, but the peace and comfort of God’s presence is all around if I look closely enough.
Samantha Howath, a summer intern at RENEW International, is a rising junior at Loyola University Maryland where she studies Communications and Marketing. She is a lector for Campus Ministry. Samantha is also a marketer for Loyola’s chapter of Spoon University, a food blog, and a Greyhound Ambassador for Admissions.

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Importance of Keeping Community

Posted by Samantha Howath on Jun 30, 2020 2:00:05 PM

When my parents and I picked up my belongings from my spring semester at Loyola University in Maryland, I could not help but notice the emptiness around campus. While I returned my key and walked across the quiet bridge, I recalled the liveliness of the campus when we all had returned from spring break in March.
Although I could not visit the bookstore or say hello to the dining hall staff, I asked my parents if I could stop by the quad, the center of Loyola’s Evergreen campus. My favorite spot on campus, I have many fond memories on the quad: eating lunch with friends on the Humanities building porch, leading campus tours, spring concerts, and the activities fair. As I took a moment to take it all in, the statue of St. Ignatius Loyola stood out to me. It reminded me of the passion for community that the early Jesuits created, inspired by Jesus and his disciples. I’ll always remember learning about care for the whole person, one of Loyola’s core values, at my orientation. Like the Jesuits, Loyola encourages every individual to grow in mind, body, and spirit. A rising junior, I still feel the power of community through the relationships that I have made with friends, professors, fellow campus ministry interns, and peers.
Even though the spring semester did not finish the way I expected, the Loyola community remained strong despite physical distance. Both students and staff came together in creative ways: virtual meetings with the career center, campus ministry gatherings on Zoom, livestream masses, and Facetimes with friends. I was especially touched by the tributes and virtual send-offs for the 2020 graduates. I was happy for them that the university recognized all their hard work and accomplishments. Despite disappointments, through the pandemic we have learned to adapt and to not take for granted the gift of human connection.
Without a doubt, campus life will be different in the fall through virtual classes, dining hall restrictions, event cancellations, and inability to travel from campus until Thanksgiving. But I am so thankful that I will safely return to my “home away from home” in August. I got to say goodbye to my friends in March knowing that I have two years left at Loyola. I know that I will come back to campus with a deeper appreciation for my family, friends, and the wonderful community that helps me find God in everyday situations.
Samantha Howath, a summer intern at RENEW International, is a rising junior at Loyola University Maryland where she studies Communications and Marketing. She is a lector for Campus Ministry. Samantha is also a marketer for Loyola’s chapter of Spoon University, a food blog, and a Greyhound Ambassador for Admissions.

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Women’s team inspires us to stand up for others

Posted by Samantha Howath on Aug 2, 2019 7:00:50 AM

I recently had a once-in-a-lifetime experience I’ll never forget with my fellow RENEW interns. I attended the ticker-tape parade in New York City to celebrate the United States Women's National Soccer Team after their victory in the World Cup. Throughout the day, I couldn’t help feeling proud, empowered, and hopeful. Without a doubt, this event exceeded my expectations, and I continue to look for moments where I see God in everyday happenings.
As someone who tends to analyze the past or wonder what comes next, I often have a hard time being fully present. One of my theology teachers reminded her students to focus on the now, because God is always with us and has a plan that will work out. Going into the parade, I encouraged myself to let go of my worries in this way and appreciate all the beauty right in front of me. By living in the moment at the parade, I was able to notice the God moments I might have otherwise missed.
Something I truly admire about Jesus’ mission is is emphasis on love of neighbor. Even before the parade began, there were many times in which I witnessed everyday acts of kindness. Whether it was the strangers from Vermont who offered to take our photo or the police officers inviting young girls to stand on a float, I could feel the Holy Spirit working through people’s thoughtful gestures. These uplifting moments reminded me that Jesus’ message is all around us.
It is no secret that we live in a divided society. Yet, it warmed my heart to see so many people gathered in one place celebrating the best that our country has to offer. I believe that the ultimate goal of Jesus’ mission is unity among people. I was moved by the contagious energy among the crowd, expressed through the loud cheers, bright smiles, waving flags, and steady stream of confetti decorating the roadway. On many of the parade floats, this message was displayed: “One nation, one team.” I saw people of all ages and cultures, proving that this team attracted a universal audience. No matter what background anyone at the parade may have had, we were all God’s children gathering to support one another.
Throughout his ministry, Jesus advocated for every member of society, such as the Samaritan woman at the well, regardless of gender or creed. Many signs at the parade called for equal pay for women. Even though the women’s soccer team has won four World Cups, the men’s team is paid significantly more. Unfortunately, this wage gap occurs in many industries which reminds us that we must make progress to reach equality. I admire the women’s soccer team not only for standing up for this cause and using their platform for good, but also for inspiring their fans to become active members of society promoting awareness of this issue.
When we stand up for others, the social justice that Jesus preached still resonates in our world. I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity that reminded me of the presence of Christ and the goodness of people.
Samantha Howath, at right in the above photo, is a rising sophomore at Loyola University Maryland where she studies Communications and Marketing. She looks forward to starting a position as office assistant for Campus Ministry while continuing to be a lector. Samantha is also a marketer for Loyola’s chapter of Spoon University, a food blog, and a Greyhound Ambassador for Admissions.

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