A YOUNG woman who suffered from anorexia as a teenager and a man who found healing from his abusive past have shared their stories for Brisbane archdiocese’s annual Lenten program.
Katelyn Ross and John Evans are among the six Catholics from Brisbane who share openly about their experiences of blessings and brokenness for the 2018 program.
The stories are told by four young people to mark the liturgical Year of Youth, and a further two stories are by people whose lives were changed by experiences in their early adulthood.
Mrs Ross begins Week One of the Lenten series, sharing her experience of being diagnosed with an eating disorder after friends and classmates mocked her weight.
The then-teenager began researching ways to lose weight, started exercising daily and followed a strict diet to the point of making herself anorexic.
“These voices in my head kept telling me that if I lost more weight I would be more beautiful,” Mrs Ross says in the Lenten program video.
Through daily prayer and support from her now husband Matt, Mrs Ross was able to defeat her eating disorder.
“One morning, after about a month of praying, I found this in one of the readings in Matthew (9:22): ‘Courage my daughter … your faith has made you well’,” Mrs Ross says.
“I know now that I was never alone for a second of that journey.”
Originally from New Zealand, former mental health worker Mr Evans recognised having bouts of loneliness as an adult, which stemmed from being abused as a child.
He began drinking and smoking which led to a serious alcohol addition and him becoming a drug user in his late teens.
“It left me in a battle within myself that I was struggling to win,” Mr Evans said.
His saving grace was his wife Sally, a Catholic who shared her love for Jesus with her husband.
“She taught me about Jesus and I began to realise that I couldn’t live my life through Sally’s faith, I had to find more about Jesus for myself,” he said.
Several years later Mr Evans was received into the Church, a decision that opened the door to extensive emotional and spiritual healing of his abusive past.
Mrs Ross and Mr Evans’ stories and more are available on an accompanying DVD and CDs of the archdiocese’s Lenten program, which is available now.
In his foreword for the Lenten program, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge urged all Catholics to read the entire Gospel of Mark, which is the Gospel for this liturgical year.
“Then you will discover the sense of urgency and excitement in the ‘voice’ of the evangelist,” Archbishop Coleridge writes.
For more information about the program or to order your copy, visit lentprogram.com.