Maria Middleton was a young teen when she participated in the Young Women of Grace program at her school and learned what it meant to be authentically feminine and to claim the dignity that was hers by virtue of being a daughter of God. Her life was like any other young teens until that fateful day in January 2019, when she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor on her brain stem. From that moment on, everything changed.
Give us a little background about yourself and how your life has changed since you took the Young Women of Grace course at Regina Academy.
My name’s Maria and I’m 17 years old. I’m the youngest of 6 and have 2 nieces and 6 nephews. My family is such a huge part of my life. I am currently a junior at Villa Joseph Marie High School. I took the Young Women of Grace Program my eighth grade year at the Regina Academy. Although nothing could fully prepare me for the culture shock that was high school, this course helped to strengthen my faith and the role that God has in my life.
How has your illness impacted the way you look at life?
I can’t even really describe the extent of how it impacted my life and continues to impact it. It has definitely made me appreciate the simple things and made me realize that everything can change in a blink. Nothing is definite or guaranteed.
In what ways has it changed your faith life?
It has made me see and feel the power of prayer. It is so strong and my parents and I have been witnesses to that powerful force for the past year. So make sure to pray that Hail Mary for the person who needs it because you don’t know how impactful the graces from that can be.
What did you learn in the Young Women of Grace class that helped to prepare you for the challenges you’re facing today?
The Young Women of Grace class helped me to find confidence as a child of God. With this confidence, I know that I can do anything through Him.
If you could give teens some advice about life and the role of faith, what would it be?
Nothing is possible without faith and God’s grace. I can say that with full confidence now because of the journey that I have been led on. And try to stay in the present because that’s the only place where you can find Him.
Let’s take Maria’s advice and say that Hail Mary every day for someone who needs it – and add one for Maria and her family as they face this difficult challenge.
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