Speech Class Incident

I have always loved a good debate. In college when I was pursuing an Animal Science degree I never really liked the related classes I took, but without knowing it I was always drawn to the speech and writing classes. Many friends of mine have often told me that in heated conversations they just retreat back into their shells and end up not saying what they wanted to say. I, on the other hand have always had the opposite problem; I usually say too much and ALWAYS have to get in the last word. If I hear someone say something I don’t agree with, it’s just not in me to remain silent. Of course, I do try not to be pompous or arrogant about it- I just take advantage of the fact that we are supposed to live in a fair democracy which allows each of us to have an opinion. But speaking up can be both a blessing and a curse. On one particular day, I believe it was a blessing…It was my third year at Colorado State, and it was the first week of Speech class. Our professor said our first assignment would be the best way we could all get to know each other better. She asked each student to get up in front of the class and talk about three things he or she carried everywhere – and “NO, it can’t be a cell phone, headphones and a charger”!  We all laughed, although sadly those are the items most in today’s society have in their possession at all times.

The Colorado State University Oval and Administration Building in the summer

When I’m really excited about sharing something in conversation, I tend to start shaking a little. It’s not out of fear from stage fright, it’s more of a shaking caused by anticipation and fueled by adrenaline, I guess.  When it was my turn, I made a joke and pulled out my cellphone, charger and headphones; the class laughed a little, but most looked at me with the expression “hello – did you not hear what the professor said?” I told them I was kidding, that I just wanted to break the ice to prepare them for what I REALLY wanted to show them. I was prepared for the fact that they might take my Introduction speech in a positive or negative way; either way, I was ready to share it. I then proceeded to pull out my Scapular, Rosary and my “Our Lady of Guadalupe-themed” purse; these items were truly the three things I had in my possession at all times. I can still remember the three “cowboys” sitting at the back of the room (Colorado State had a lot of agriculture majors) and I was thinking there would be no middle road with these guys; they would either love or hate this presentation. I explained what the Scapular was and how Our Lady had promised that anyone who wore it would never see the flames of hell.

I don’t really think modern society even thinks about Hell very much these days; hence the reason why Our Lady of Fatima showed the famous vision of Hell to the three shepherd children. It was to remind us that it is indeed a real place of terrible suffering and well, it’s forever. I don’t remember the expressions of the students faces during much of what I said, but I do remember their faces when I talked about Hell. To my surprise the class did NOT look at me like I was talking about a fantasy land; it was as if they were hearing about it for the very first time, or perhaps thinking about it in a new light. My college was in no way one with religious leanings, so it’s important to also take that into account. I talked so fast that the stopwatch still had some time when I was finished; in the silence that followed, I paused because it was all I had to say.  The three ranch-guys in the back suddenly broke out into applause and cheered. I think that was my favorite part; their rough cowboy-look really had me fooled, but then again never judge based on appearances. Finally, the part I never saw coming happened. My professor said it was time for me to take questions. To my surprise, almost everyone in the whole class immediately shot their hands up in the air. It was definitely a day to remember.

11 thoughts on “Speech Class Incident

  1. How lovely! It made me laugh to imagine myself in class to enjoy the clapping from the back row! You are gifted with the graces you need to fulfill God’s Holy Will in the world. Never doubt that! Whatever He has given you is for His use in the world – to reach others and bring them all to the One True Faith and Church, which is His Body on earth. Let’s pray for a speedy return to the Sacraments for all of us!! Love you! Phyllis

  2. Big applause from this cowboy. I admire your moral courage. And perhaps there is the hope of conversion for our young college students who are being influenced and misled by the spirit of modern secularism. My first-year Psychology professor at UofT once said the word “spirit” and practically all 1000 students in the Hall led out a blaring gasp for that dirty word he had uttered. You had no idea what to expect and may have feared an oncoming catastrophe but, nonetheless, you came on stage in the spirit of an undaunted Elijah. You have certainly been called to propagate the Faith.

    1. SO sorry I am so late in replying to this! I simply love that you went to Texas University, so you know where I am coming from. Your comment gave me so much hope, Elijah is considered Our Carmelite Father and founder so to even be compared to him in the slightest is such a great compliment. Something I was thinking of that reminded me of your comments have to do with millennials. I am millennial and I have noticed that people from my generation are either the best Catholics I have seen or the worst possible sinners. My generation all share one thing, though: passion. Whether it’s a passion for sin or a passion for the Eucharist or Our Lady. The hope I have though, is the problem is NOT lukewarmness…Our Lord can work with that. We must pray for today’s young people who are the future and will be Our Lady’s instruments for Her Heart to triumph. God love you Marian Catholic, AnaStPaul, Phyllis and mom

      1. God loves you, too, for your apostolate. Anyway, I’m sorry for the confusion the word cowboy and U of T have caused. I attended and graduated from St. Michael’s College, the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. The thought never occurred to me that there might be another university in North America that goes by U of T. Maybe there’s a U of T in Toledo Ohio as well.

  3. Great post!
    And great comment @Marian Catholic.
    As a Catechism teacher of young nearly-adult Confirmation class, I have found that the subject of Hell is the most well-received. Young people, in particular, are unencumbered by the ways of the world – still fresh, still trusting and still believing! They all love talking and hearing about hell.

  4. This is an awesome story!! I once told a girl about the Scapular when I was in a NO parish choir. I was probably 10-12 years old. She was actually the bully from my childhood and asked me about it tauntingly. However, when I mentioned that one who wears it would be taken to Heaven, her attitude changed and she seemed to take me more seriously. I ended up getting one for her along with a book on the Scapular, and I explained that you wouldn’t be taken straight to Heaven like I had mistakenly mentioned, but in fact, one would not suffer the fires of Hell, and she proceeded to put the scapular on right away! That was an encounter I will never forget. Please say a prayer for her. I still pray for her conversion and salvation.

  5. A scapular is something hard to trash even for someone who might not wish to wear it anymore. It inspires awe and reverence and, of course, a certain fear. If this girl decided to do away with the scapular you had given her, I suspect she tucked it safely away in a closet or a dresser. I can’t imagine she’d dispose of it in a disrespectful way. Even if it’s within close proximity of the girl, I believe Our Lady still has her eye on her. Our Blessed Mother never abandons her children and looks out for them with her prayers.

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