Good morning My Friends!!!
Today I have a treat for you all!! My sweet friend, Kipsy, is our feature for today, and let me tell you, she is a gem!! I first worked on a project with Kipsy almost a year ago and absolutely fell in love with her work!! (If you want to read that post, click here) She is such a strong evangelist and sooo charismatic in all she does!! Her interview is so beautiful!! So I hope you enjoy it!!
+ For those who aren’t familiar with you, please introduce yourself.
Hey lovelies! I’m Kipsy Quevada, otherwise known as @thesaintlypursuit on Instagram. I was born and raised in the tri-state area my entire life (NY-NJ-CT fam, where ya at?!). I am about to enter my 5th and final year of college studying Electrical Engineering and Software Engineering and hope to bring Jesus into the engineering and science world through my future career. In my free time, you could either find me watching Disney World YouTube videos (I’m kinda obsessed), grabbing bubble tea or pho with friends, or singing at a parish Mass or adoration event! P.S. If you ever want to have a deep convo about Mama Mary, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, worship music, Christian dating, Catholic apologetics, or the crazy path towards sainthood, I’m your girl!
+ When did your relationship with Christ first take root in your life? What encouraged you in striving for a deeper relationship with God?
Hmmm, that’s a pretty deep question. For context, I was born into a Catholic family, and attended Catholic school from Kindergarten to 8th Grade, so there was no doubt I was always exposed to faith and religion. However, I just went through the motions. Yeah, I believed in God, but I just followed the Commandments and His teachings because I knew it was the right thing to do.
The summer before my sophomore year of high school, I had just gotten out of an unhealthy romantic relationship, and my relationship with my family, God, and even myself were in some desperate need of healing. Then, by God’s grace, I finally said “Yes” to a retreat I had been invited to by multiple family and friends for years. Through the weekend, my whole perspective on God completely changed. I discovered that He wasn’t just a dictator in the sky, but a Heavenly Father. A Father who loved me, and who forgave me despite my sinful past. Since then, He has blessed me with multiple young adult ministries, friends I now call my siblings-in-Christ, a God-fearing boyfriend, and finally, “The Saintly Pursuit”! All glory to God for the trials and storms which forced me to take that first retreat, strengthened my relationship with Him, and is now the reason why I’m here doing this interview now.
+ For the past little while, you have been writing on your blog, The Saintly Pursuit. What drew you to start a blog and to share about your faith in this personal way?
Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. Ugh. Let me tell y’all how this book changed my life, fam. One of the first few chapters discusses authenticity, and how we can become our authentic selves by pursuing God’s purpose in our lives: sainthood. God calls all of us to be saints. No, not just the cradle Catholics, not just the virgins, not just the goody-two-shoes. And it is by being saintly, being holy, that we can truly be happy.
Now this was in the back of my mind when I heard of a not-so-loving comment about my multiple posts pertaining to Catholicism and my “Christ-centered” (as I had called it) relationship on my personal Facebook and Instagram accounts last year while my family was out for Father’s Day. I was absolutely devastated. My outwardness about my faith pushed people away instead of bringing them closer to God. I then fasted from all social media for a few months. In that time, my boyfriend and I consecrated ourselves to Jesus through Mary as I prayed and asked God how exactly He wanted me to use social media as a form of evangelization. Through this time of prayerful fasting and inspiration from Matthew Kelly, “The Saintly Pursuit” was born! Once again, God was able to transform one of the lowest points in my life into something so beautiful.
+ What are some ways that young woman can foster Christ-centered relationships in their lives?
Join (multiple) youth and/or young adult ministries! Don’t feel obligated to be “committed” to only one, cuz hey, you can never have too many siblings-in-Christ, amirite?! Surround yourself with faithful Catholics your age who will lift you up in prayer, hold you accountable, and have fun with you in holy and pure ways! For me, a Mass and brunch date with my friend will beat a night at a party or club any day. (This doesn’t mean to say that you shouldn’t befriend non-Catholics or non-Christians, but personally having a specific group of friends who encourage me to pursue Christ makes a huge difference in my personal faith journey.)
That being said, God also calls us to Christ-centered romantic relationships as well! Before even thinking about dating though, please please please discern your vocation first. Make sure God is calling you to marriage. Only then should you begin to think about the possibility of pursuing a Christ-centered relationship. I could go on and on about this, but my words of advice would definitely be to find a man who intends to 1. date with the end goal of marriage, 2. love you the way Christ loves the Church, and 3. bring you to Heaven with him by pursuing holiness together. If one of those isn’t checked off, then I highly recommend you seek spiritual guidance or reach out to me, because trust me, I’ve been there. Dear sister, you were made by God as BEAUTIFUL and LOVED, and you deserve no man that doesn’t remind you of that truth.
+ As a worship leader, I have a special place in my heart for mass music and praise. How has your love of worship/liturgical music helped strengthen your faith?
The first time I ever attended the youth ministry that hosted that first retreat, I was immediately drawn in by their music ministry. “Wow,” I said to myself, “these teens aren’t just singing or playing instruments… they’re praying through their music.” Even if I had been a part of my parish ensemble in the past, I had never seen or even experienced anything like it before. It was in that moment I knew I wanted to be a part of this revolutionary charismatic movement.
Since then, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to play keyboard and sing for many retreats, Masses, adorations, chastity talks, and even ecumenical Christian concerts! Through worship and liturgical music, I have not only discovered yet another way of praying to God, but music itself has deepened my love for the sacraments and, of course, the Holy Mass. Also, being a part of a youth, parish, campus, and even a music outreach ministry has resulted in a ton of networking with Catholics of all ages, from teens to married couples to priests and nuns all over the East coast. It was only then that I realized how diverse yet unified this family is that we can call our Church.
+ You are a vibrant part of ministry in your area as well! I love learning about how people share the love of Christ at these grass roots levels. How did you first get involved in campus ministry? What does this ministry look like for you??
Throughout my freshman year of college, I constantly attended my campus ministry’s weekly meetings and campus Masses. Before I knew it, I became Evangelization Chair for my sophomore and junior year, and it was a crazy ride from there. I was blessed to experience monthly Catholic Intercollegiate Adorations and annual Intercollege retreats, where college Catholics from all over the archdiocese learned about and worshipped God together. I even got to go on my first ever camping trip, which despite my distaste towards anything involving nature, got me out of my comfort zone to face my fears. I am so excited to be starting and leading a women’s group through the campus ministry for my last year of college!
+ How have your experiences in campus ministry helped shape your faith?
Honestly, I initially wasn’t too passionate about campus ministry due to my charismatic background. Over time, though, I began to fall in love with it all. From our Catechism of the Catholic Church Studies to Bible studies to apologetic discussions with probably the most theologically intellectual college Catholics I will ever meet, I slowly began to realize why there was no other church I wanted to be a part of except the Catholic Church. Now, I can’t help but Catholic-geek over all things Dr. Scott Hahn, Father Mike Schmitz, Bishop Barron, ugh the list goes on and on! (You can find said list on the last question hehe!)
+ The Church needs more young, passionate leaders. How would you encourage young people to overcome fear and to step up in their parishes and communities?
Timothy 4:12 NRSV reads, “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Saint Paul said it himself, fam! Our Church loves when the Youth step up! Take little steps first – join your youth or young adult choir, attend a youth ministry night, or simply give a smile and start a conversation with the lone teen after Mass. And when the Lord convicts you, don’t be afraid to make bigger steps – start a young adult choir if there isn’t one, volunteer to lead youth ministry events, or propose and organize a trip to Steubenville or World Youth Day with other teens. Trust your spiritual gut; God will make known to you His plans, and if He speaks to You, let Him lead, be His vessel, and go forth. If your eyes are constantly set on Him, He will never cease to communicate His will to you. You never know what your parish is desperately in need of, and you may be the answer to their prayers.
Don’t get me wrong; some people may look down on us. The evil one is going to try to throw all these obstacles to make you think you are not worthy, don’t have enough experience, or you’re just too young. Our entire society and the media may try to convince us of these lies. But our God is a God of faith. Our God is a God of courage. Let’s be real, we may the only light of Jesus for that silent kid at school, that suicidal teen no one talks to, that bullied and abused girl considering abortion. Be strong in Him, dear friend. I pray we may always be inspired by the patroness of “The Saintly Pursuit”, Saint Thérèse de Lisieux, who always approached God like how a child approaches her Father. Lord God, may we be unafraid to depend on You; to cry in Your warm embrace; to run back into Your loving arms and be reminded that our youthfulness is a gift to embrace on our journey towards holiness. Amen!
“God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized; so in spite of my littleness, I can hope to be a saint.”
― Saint Thérèse de Lisieux, Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux
+ What are some of your favorite resources for a young Catholic striving to live of life of heroic faith?
I hope you all have a beautiful day!! See you soon!