Put your faith first, Olympian encourages young Catholics

Rebecca Dussault raced in the cross country skiing event at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Dussault.

Olympic cross-country skier Rebecca Dussault recently spoke to a large crowd of young adults in Denver, exhorting them to put their Catholic faith above everything else in life.

“Be Catholic first and anything that flows from that is a rich bonus,” she said in Feb. 10 talk given at Katie Mullen's Irish Pub in downtown Denver as part of the archdiocese's Theology on Tap program.

Because there are over a billion Catholics in the world, Dussault added, if someone is a “successful Catholic” they will most likely also be a “significant Catholic” which is why it it so important for prominent people in the Church to be good examples.

“We're going to be looking up to you,” she said.

The home-schooling mother of four spoke about her life and experience in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

A Colorado native, Dussault grew up skiing in the Rocky Mountains, but felt ostracized by her peers because she was pursuing a physically and spiritually healthy life, shunning the party attitude. Fighting the secular culture, she found herself retiring from racing at the age of 19.

She married and had her first child when she found herself once again competing and winning, restarting her career and passion for competition. She called up her sponsors and they took her back, knowing that it wasn’t just her anymore, but her entire little “domestic church.”

Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassatti, a fellow skier and sports enthusiast who lived in the early 20th century, became her patron saint on the slopes. She even wrote his name on her skis during the Olympics in Turin, his home town.

The young Italian did not make it his full time job to shout his faith from the rooftops, Dussault said. Rather, he simply “lived in the now and he totally poured himself out” in the service of others.

Bl. Pier Giorgio died at the young age of 24 from polio – and the fact that his funeral procession had 10,000 followers is a testament to his “magnetic personality because he had God,” she told CNA.

His example has continued to serve as an inspiration for her work after the Olympics, especially as a mentor with her program, MassStart.org, which aims to helps Catholics lead spiritually and physically healthy lives.

“It's not like I've arrived and I've got this all figured out – I'm an experiment daily and I do waiver between vanity, I waiver between lack of commitment. I'm totally human, but really when I can see a bigger picture than just myself, I can have motivation,” she said.

She encouraged aspiring athletes and coaches to make the Sacraments their first priority, saying that they are “the only thing that keep you, you.”

A new book chronicling Dussault's experience as a Catholic wife, mother and athlete called, Mass Start, is available on her website.


Voices

Iowa and us in a Year of Mercy

Kathryn Jean Lopez

It was in the general-purpose room of St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines that Donald Trump made his last pitch to Iowa voters, inside a caucus room. He wanted to make sure people remembered that not only will he build the wall on our border with Mexico, but that he’s the only candidate who will make Mexico pay for it.

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February 6, 2016

  • Saturday, February, 6

    Second Annual Sisters of Notre Dame Nun Run 5K & 1-Mile Fun Run, 8 a.m., Hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame and La Reina High School and Middle School in Thousand Oaks. Course starts on Dover Avenue in Thousand Oaks and finishes in front of La Reina School. Open to runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels. Professional chip timing technology will be provided to 5K runners by Vendurance Sports. Participants will receive a free T-shirt (while supplies last); pancake breakfast available after the race. Pre-registration is $35 per person for the 5K, and $25 for the 1-Mile. All proceeds support the Sisters of Notre Dame Life and Ministry Fund, allowing the sisters to continue their ministries in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. For more information, contact Chloe Vieira at cvieira@sndca.org, or visit sndca.org/nunrun. 

    Math Competition for Middle School Students & Problem-Solving Workshop for Teachers, 7:45 a.m., Don Bosco Technical Institute, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead.A mathematics competition for fifth through eighth grade students. The 44th annual event will offer awards for the highest scoring individual and teams. Participants must register by Feb. 2 atwww.boscotech.edu/events. Space is limited. The cost is $8 per individual and $5 per person for teams of four or more, up to 15. Check-in begins at 7:45 a.m.; one-hour test starts at 9 a.m. Free activities offered and food available for purchase. Award ceremony follows the competition at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Valeria De Luna at MathCompetition@boscotech.edu.

     

    San Fernando Regional Day of Prayer for the RCIA, 1 - 4:30 p.m., St. John Baptist De La Salle Church, 16555 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills. An afternoon of prayer for those who will celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion this Lent. Catechumens, candidates, sponsors and team members will come together in prayer with Bishop Joseph V. Brennan. To register or for more information, contact Sandy Cole at (818) 368-1514 or dre@sjbdls.org.

     

    Second Annual Valentine's Dinner/Dance, 7 p.m., St. James School - O'Gorman Center, 4625 Garnet St., Torrance.Dance music from the 50's to the present; $20 per person. Proceeds will benefit our seminarians. For more information, call the parish office at (310) 372-5228, or Ely at (310) 944-3355.  

     

    Snowflake Swing Dinner/Dance, 6 p.m. to midnight,St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1523 Golden Gate Ave., Los Angeles. Great food, door prizes and dancing (assorted music), featuring the LA Trio. Tickets $25; RSVP by Feb. 2. For reservations, call Liza at (323) 664-1305 or Renee at (213) 413-3036. 

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