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Oct 15, 2012

Full disclosure: I stumbled into the marketing and communications assistant role at Catholic Theological Union by accident. And I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

After receiving a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern, yet realizing the last thing I wanted to become was a full-time reporter, I applied to a wide variety of jobs from office manager at a boutique investment firm to community engagement officer at Chicago Public Schools.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, a hiring manager forwarded my resume to CTU.

I’ll admit, I was hesitant at first to throw my hat into the ring at a Catholic institution, because I was born and raised a practicing Buddhist! Especially in the field of communications, I thought, maybe they want someone with more intimate… or, really, any knowledge of Catholicism!

Ryan Hoffman quickly put my doubts to rest during my first interview. “What really matters to us is to have a diverse community of people who share an interest in asking the big questions," he said. "What or who is God? What is our purpose in life? How can we live the most meaningful life?”

WOW! My life has always been based on the big questions, albeit not in a Catholic context, so the idea of gaining valuable professional experience within an interfaith setting was intriguing.

I reflected on a dialogue between Ricardo Díez-Hochleitner, a practicing Catholic and past president of the Club of Rome, and a Buddhist peace advocate, Daisaku Ikeda, about the need for interreligious understanding in the 21st century and beyond.

“For me, it has always been most important not only to be tolerant towards other beliefs and cultures, but also, and even more important, to respect everyone who acts honestly and consistently in line with their background and aims,” Díez-Hochleitner said. “I try to learn from others to enrich my spirit and intellect, while contributing somehow to their well-being, advancement and happiness.”

The aim to create a global society, respectful of differences, is what I experience every day at CTU. I am surrounded by people who share my desire for peace and understanding in the world, just through a different lens of faith. At CTU, I am daily learning from others to enrich my spirit and intellect, as Díez-Hochleitner said, and I truly hope to be contributing to CTU’s well-being, advancement, and happiness, as well.