Good morning, friends!!
I am so. excited. for today’s interview!! I don’t even know how I found Cecilia on Instagram. But, man, am I glad I did!! This girl is a boss! She is such a beautiful soul and has a heart of gold. And her style is amazing:) More recently, I have loved following along on her journey working with Catholic Match. She’s doing so much good work there and its so inspiring for someone who is (huh hum) very single. She’s just an all-around amazing gal!
Be sure to check out her website, www.ceciliajean.com, and Insta, @ceciliapappas. If you want to check out her work with Catholic Match, check out their Insta and website, @catholicmatch.
+ For those who aren’t familiar with you, please introduce yourself.
Hey ladies, I’m Cecilia Jean (@ceciliapappas)! I’m 20 years old, currently finishing up my college degree online, and simultaneously working full-time in the Chicago suburbs.
+ When did your relationship with Christ first take root in your life? What encouraged you in striving for a deeper relationship with God?
I’m a cradle Catholic, but being Catholic was always just part of my weekly routine until about a year and a half ago. I had never taken a theology class, didn’t know some of the basic Do’s & Don’ts for Catholics, had never heard of the Catechism or read the bible, and didn’t even know how to pray the Rosary.
I began to really dig deep into my faith when I started to think the non-denominational church route was better for me. I saw a lot of my friends and fellow Instagrams super hyped about their faith, going to weekend retreats, and being so bold with spreading the gospel. The love they had for their faith was contagious and hard not to admire.
I felt something just telling me not to give up on Catholicism and search for something that will spark my interest again. My best friend and I researched events for young Catholic adults, spontaneously booked a trip to Houston, TX, and attended a conference last September. I saw so many joyful people IN LOVE with being Catholic: it was an addicting feeling that I wanted 24/7. It showed first hand that Catholicism didn’t have to be “old-fashioned”; it could be cool and hip and exciting! I hope people see that The Church can be modern, yet beautifully traditional.
+ You are such a fearless witness to the truth online. What drew you to start blogging and sharing about faith and fashion in this public way?
Fashion has always been such a passion of mine, so I began ceciliajean.com back in October of 2016. It was mostly talking about my outfits, but I would let my opinions of faith and morals shine through (nothing specifically Catholic, just Christian). Once I started to become more obsessed with being Catholic (lol), I was hesitant to put it all out there because:
1). I felt behind on the religion, knowing others knew way more than me. I had only hit the tip of the iceberg.
2). I didn’t know of any other Catholic Instagrams/bloggers that focused on faith & fashion.
3). I would lose followers.
I lost followers, but eventually gained girls that I knew were passionate about the same things as me! I knew that what I was showing the world (fashion) had now only become a little piece of me… and my love for the Lord is what really came first in my life.
Being hesitant was out of character for me. I’m very direct with what I feel and typically always have a perspective on issues at hand. So, at SLS18 we really focused on evangelization, and I wanted to come up with a way of evangelizing that fit into my life. And now here I am!
+ How do you see a connection between faith and fashion? How do you honor God through your fashion choices?
I truly believe what we wear, and how we present ourselves is THE BEST and MOST AMAZING silent communicator to the world. Yes, I know, the beauty of a woman is so much more than how we dress, but God cares about how we clothe the body He created.
I feel like most Catholic girls think there is a specific look to be “really Catholic,” and that’s the most untrue thing I’ve ever heard. You don’t have to fit into that box, for real…you don’t. I used to think that because I didn’t wear a long skirt and a basic top, that I was never going to be “as holy” as these other women. FALSE. LIES. NOT TRUE.
Ladiesss, modesty does not have to be frumpy. I wear what I feel confident in. Whether it’s a find from Goodwill, or a new dress from Free people, If you feel comfortable and confident in your outfit, then your doing it right! Everyone has a different perception of modesty, so I honestly believe that it’s up to the individual to put guidelines on it.
Most people don’t associate Catholicism with being “fashionable” or “modern,” but I want to change that perspective. If you love it, wear it…because chances are if you look good, you’ll feel even better!
+ Who inspires you most in your faith and fashion?
Blake Lively inspires my sense of style. She has a certain elegance and femininity about her that stands out. When it comes to my personal fashion, I don’t have a specific style. I wear what I’m feeling that day– I give major props to those who can pick out their outfit the night before and actually wear it the next day.
As far as faith goes, I don’t really have a specific person that inspires me. I never grew up with any women Catholic role models. Although, I do have many sisters in christ that I’m constantly learning from.
+ Recently, you began working for Catholic Match! Whoot Whoot! Why is faith such an important aspect of any relationship?
YES YES YES! The topic of dating is something I’m really passionate about. Not only because I’ve had some experience (HA), but also because it was kind of a taboo topic growing up. Faith is unbelievably important in a relationship. This became evident when most of my past boyfriends/relationships didn’t work out because our morals didn’t align when things started to get serious. This was a problem in High School and still a problem in the adult world.
It’s as simple as this: don’t go into a relationship hoping someone will change. It just will not work. We date with intentions, to find out if a person has the qualities we look for in a husband. The whole point of marriage is to help each other get to heaven. SOOOO why make it hard for ourselves? When I go on a date and know they are already Catholic, it is SO REFRESHING to know where they stand with their beliefs. For me, knowing that a man is Catholic makes them 100x times more attractive LOL (you know it’s true!)
PS: I’m not saying that every person you go on a date with has to be husband material, but at least you will find out what you want and don’t want.
+ From your experience with this beautiful brand and company, how would you encourage young Catholics to pursue Christ-centered relationships? Any ten second tips??
Alight ladies, these are going to be blunt & straightforward.
– Don’t go into a relationship hoping they will change.
– Stay strong with your morals. Always. You might feel out of place, or like your the only one in your position, but you will thank yourself later.
– As cheesy as it sounds, stay strong with what you believe in. I promise, you’re not weird just because it may not align with others.
– No matter how attractive the guy is, if he’s not trying to love God more than you, the relationship is just not worth your time or energy.
– Don’t hand out coupons, you deserve someone who is going to pay full price plus tax!
– If they keep canceling, don’t buy into the excuses. He’s just not that into you and that’s alright! Remember, you’re only trying to find one guy.
+ If you had a megaphone and a message to tell every Catholic woman, what would you say?
There isn’t to road map to being a young Catholic woman. As much as I wish I could be graceful with my words and spit out theology facts like no other, that never will be me! Be authentically you because when to comes to God, there’s no pretending.
Have a beautiful day, my lovelies!!!