Praying to ease the pain

It was tough for Eleanor Fry when her parents separated, but also a time when her thoughts turned to God.

The Daramalan student, who was baptised a Catholic this year, was eight years old when her parents split up. She was attending Mt Carmel School in Yass and remembers the teachers speaking about their faith with the students.

“For me, God always seemed true,” Eleanor said. “So when my parents told us they were separating, I thought, I haven’t tried praying, I might give that a go.

“I guess I had always kept an open mind in terms of learning about God. Mum was baptised Anglican but was not religious and nor was Dad.

“I’d heard all these stories at school about people praying and feeling reassured and healed by it and I thought maybe that might help take my pain away.”

The 17-year-old said she felt “peaceful” after praying.

“It seemed to lessen the blow a bit,” she explained.

The teenager started socialising with Catholic students and felt comfortable when they spoke about their faith.

“They spoke casually but so matter-of-factly, and that really inspired me,” she said.

For a few years Eleanor discerned whether she felt called to become a Catholic and attended Catholic youth events like Light to the Nations and Explosion.

“I was meeting Catholics and it was an eye-opener,” she said. “I saw their joy and peace with their lives and wanted and needed that in my life.”

At Easter this year, Eleanor was baptised a Catholic at St Augustine’s in Yass, following the lead of her older brother Nicholas and twin brother Alex, who had also become Catholics.

“It may sound a bit strange but it feels like I’m free from my old life and can now be the best person that God has created me to be,” she said.

Eleanor’s Mum is supportive and often takes her daughter to Mass, after which Eleanor attends the Catholic Youth Group.

“I know it’s not going to be easy being a Catholic,” she said. “But it’s comforting to know that, at the end of the day, God is not focussed on our mistakes and bad times, but loves us unconditionally.

“So many people have shared their faith with me, and I now see that you are meant to share your faith, because being with other Catholic people in a community is important, and really helps.”