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Call her the feminine genius.
Olivia Shingledecker has devoted much of her time to building up kids from suffering families in and around her college town, as a St. John Paul II Fellow of the Center for Family Life at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.
But years ago, in her hometown of Concord, N.C., Shingledecker also started a YouTube channel devoted to true femininity.
Benedictine College’s mission of community, faith and scholarship has enhanced her work, she said.
“The experience of community both by giving me a stable community with the other fellows and by encouraging interaction with the Atchison community,” she said. “Working with at-risk children in Atchison has opened my eyes to the difficult experience of many locals in the town I love so much and has given me a desire to partner with them!”
She also hopes to build community on campus. “I also enjoy the aspect of being able to share with my fellow students how the faith penetrates our lives on a weekly basis.”
As for faith, her channel, “Catholic Girl Talk,” is devoted to faith, femininity, fashion, and friendship. Videos include “Masculinity and Femininity in Relationship” and “JPII’s Personalist Norm — What it is and how to practice it.”
The channel combines fun and faith in its videos, such as, “Style for mission and evangelization,” and “How to start a morning routine in college!” The proper understanding of femininity has long been a focus of Shingledecker. She participated in a Vintage Wedding Fashion Show at her parish, St. Mark’s in Huntersville, N.C., and attended the Washington, D.C., March for Life with Benedictine College in January 2020.
Scholarship, however, is the heart of Shingledecker’s efforts at Benedictine College.
“This fellowship has enhanced my experience of scholarship as we read and discuss ideas together, notice them in our lives and then put them into practice,” she said.
Putting ideas into practice is what the program is all about. “Learning about John Paul II’s theology of the family translates into our work with Atchison children and completes the experience of community, faith, and scholarship that this fellowship offers,” she said.
The Center for Family Life, headed by Tory Baucum, was formed after members of the board of directors, faculty, staff, and subject experts met to determine the best ways to Transform Culture in America. St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation The Church in America became a focal point for plans. The document calls for American colleges to “train truly Christian leaders in the different spheres of human activity” and stresses the family. St. John Paul II has said “The future of civilization passes by way of the family.”
The John Paul II Fellows program forms students to be able to build strong families. Under the Center’s direction and mentorship, Benedictine College students go out to serve at-risk students in local public schools. The objective is to be living examples and teachers of the “Human Dignity Curriculum,” delivering universal truths in a way that a secular population can receive.