Junior Isabel Pinnell took third place in the Archdiocese of Washington's annual John Carroll Society Margaret Mary Missar High School Essay Competition. High school students throughout the archdiocese submitted essays reflecting on "seeking hope and contemplation in our modern world." According to the John Carroll Society website, 300 essays were submitted in 2019. This year, Isabel's essay, focusing on Catholics' call to act as vessels of hope, was chosen as one of the winners, earning her a $500 scholarship.
"I ended up talking about the definition of hope is acting as a vessel for God in your daily life," said Isabel. "I talked about how the engagement of young people ... shows the future of the Church is in hands of dedicated individuals who can exemplify Catholicism in the modern world."
Isabel turned to her recent religion class with Dr. Luke O'Connell for inspiration, citing scripture and papal encyclicals in discussing social justice issues in the modern world. "Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium; he said if humans are to act as vessels we must work to spread the mission of the Catholic Church to all those we meet," said Isabel. "It's a central idea [in my essay]."
She also found her classmates to be examples of hope: "I think especially at Visitation, girls are involved in faith-based activities...prayer groups, Visi4Life club, World Youth Day," Isabel said. "So many different things at Visitation show that even though we're in a modern world, we're holding onto Catholic virtues that have been with the school since its founding."
"I think the message is so uplifting that we as Catholics are called to have this office to go out into the world, and through the virtue of hope, we can spread our faith and...create a more joyful and connected world, which is especially important during these times," Isabel concluded.