Julia Smucker

I grew up a Mennonite nomad, living first on the east coast (Virginia and Maryland), then three years in Jamaica (where my parents did voluntary service with Mennonite Central Committee), then a year in Ohio and then back to Indiana (where I was born) while I was in middle and high school.  This explains
why I use the word “home” more loosely than most people.


Attending a Presbyterian college in eastern Washington was my first real venture outside the Mennonite world, and through this experience of suddenly having much less to take for granted, I came to re-embrace my Mennonite roots and was baptized during spring break of my sophomore year.  After college, during my own one-year service term with Mennonite Central Committee in Haiti, another unexpected turn came as I became involved with a Catholic parish community there.  A long and winding process of exploration followed, after which I was finally received and confirmed in the Catholic Church in October 2010.  Discovering others living the same ecclesial duality I was trying to figure out, in the Mennonite-Catholic ecumenical group Bridgefolk, was a vital part of this process because it showed me that it was possible to harmonize the two traditions and that I was not alone in doing so.


I have an MA from St. John’s School of Theology in Collegeville, Minnesota.  This has been a fascinating way to explore in-depth the Catholic tradition that I have come into and how my own voice can be a contribution to the living conversation within it. (from the May 2012 newsletter)