Canada – home to the world’s largest shopping centre, maple syrup, Niagara Falls, and it will be home to Darra-Jindalee parishioner Grace Rutty. Grace shared with EMILIE NG how God led her to the Great White North.
FOR more than a year, Grace Rutty had toyed with the romantic notion of moving to Canada and enjoying a white Christmas, something she’s longed for since Year 7.
But as a Freedom campus missionary at the Queensland University of Technology, a plane ticket to Canada seemed impossible.
Grace and four other Freedom campus missionaries rely on God’s providence and the generosity of financial and spiritual supporters.
She said being a full-time missionary meant she was responsible for raising her own wage.
“Our job is being missionaries and living off God’s providence, through the generosity of people through prayer and financial donations,” Grace said.
“It’s not just sitting down and waiting for something to fall on your lap, because that’s not going to happen, but actively seeking it out and talking to people, and putting yourself out there.
“As with all things, it’s difficult in the sense of really learning to have to trust in God, especially living off God’s providence.
“That’s probably been one of the growth areas, to just trust in God, that He has everything and his plans are so much better than mine.”
It was by trusting in God’s providence while on Freedom that the possibility of living in Canada became real for Grace.
As of September, the 22-year-old will live as a university missionary in Ottawa, Canada, working for Catholic Christian Outreach, the ministry that gave birth to Freedom.
“This must be God’s way of letting me have a white Christmas,” she said.
“But the cold is not something I’m looking forward to.
“I’ll just have to buy lots of coats.”
Grace said she hoped to study the work of CCO closely in order to bring the vision back to Australia.
“CCO has been going for 25 years, and sometimes we jokingly say Freedom is a toddler because it’s only been about five years,” Grace said.
“When I’m in Canada, I’ll be able to see what Freedom can become here in Australia.
“CCO is across many campuses in Canada, and they have about 80 full-time staff members, all supporting their own wage.
“Seeing them in action will really help me to grasp what it is that I’m doing here.”
In July, Grace graduated from QUT with a Bachelor of Business, just in time to make the August plane trip to Canada.
“Starting out my university degree, this was not something I would have dreamed of in a million years,” she said.
It was at QUT as a first-year accounting student that God began making ways for Grace’s new Canadian life.
Her first encounter with Freedom was on Ash Wednesday, the first day of orientation for QUT students.
“I had my orientation at 8.30am which meant I couldn’t go to Ash Wednesday Mass,” she said.
“For some reason, we had a two-hour break at lunch and there was a sign that said, ‘Ash Wednesday Mass – this way’.
“So I went down and that’s when I first had my experience of Freedom.”
Grace admitted to feeling hesitant about getting involved with Freedom in her first year of university.
“But I gave them my details and started a faith study with them,” she said.
During the year, Grace suspected the Freedom leaders were building her into a future campus missionary.
The next year she ran a faith study for three young women on campus, and made an unexpected pilgrimage to Madrid for World Youth Day.
These and other events eventually led her to discussions with Freedom director Robert Schneider.
“I had originally planned to just travel for six months after graduating, but within that I guess God put in my heart many options of maybe travelling to Canada and actually doing something for six months, instead of going to Europe and partying for six months,” she said.
“Thinking back now, I kind of had a desire to go to Canada and I wasn’t sure if that was, maybe even with NET (National Evangelisation Teams) Canada or NET Ireland.
“From that, different discussions, prayer and discernment, brought me to where I am now.
“It’s exciting times ahead.”
Grace said the past two years had taught her to “wait for what God has in store”.
“If I didn’t go (to World Youth Day), I would be in a graduate accounting position right now,” she said.
“However, that wasn’t the case. God has His hand on something else.
“For now, it’s just taking a day at a time, seeing what this year brings, and the reassessing what God has in plan for me next.”
Grace said her work on Freedom helped her to understand the real meaning of vocation.
She encouraged young people to find out where God was calling them.
“I think with everything, ask the question to see if you’re called, and be available,” she said.
“We’re in the process of recruiting or seeing if anyone is interested in becoming a campus missionary, or if anyone wants to volunteer to see what it’s like to be a university missionary as well.
“Don’t just write yourself off, because God calls all of us to be evangelists.
“Ask those questions, come and talk to us, and see if those options are available.”
For more information about Freedom, Catholic Mission on Campus, contact Robert Schroeders on 0430 069 708 or visit www.freedomcmc.com