MARY SARAH: Senior Philosophy Major at The Catholic University of America
Have you ever had a friend-crush on someone before? Like, you see this person around a lot and they look super cool and kind and beautiful and you want to be their friend but you also feel like they are too cool for you. Well, that was Mary Sarah for me. I see her around campus and at 5:10 mass and she is always dressed so boldly and seems so grace-filled and I let the devil create this lie in my head that she is too good for me. Luckily, we have a God who won’t stand for that, who doesn’t want us to live in comfort, but calls us to greatness. When I continually felt the pull to feature Mary I knew God wanted me to get over myself and work for His greater glory, and I’m so happy I did.
I was right in thinking she was very bold and grace-filled, but what I missed was how funny she is or how we share the same desire to create and make things beautiful, especially through photography. I forgot she is human and that I should treat her as such. So, who is the real Mary Sarah? A kind and creative philosophy major from Colorado who doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life except to create beautiful things and is still trying to figure out her life, and her faith, just like the rest of us.
She looks to Mary, the mother of God, as an example of how to live her femininity in her faith. “I went to the holy land and the place where she gave her Yes is still an image in my mind that I go back to every time I say a Hail Mary. I was just so struck by how her Yes was not to certainty, it was to a mystery. Her totally free Yes was to a darkness, an unknown, and for me having this image has kept me so close to her, especially with looking at my future. It is such a mystery and it’s hard to give my yes to what feels so unknown. In saying yes, I’m saying I belong to someone else, and someone else is leading me, holding me, and that faith is radically what she lived in her Yes. This image of her has really helped me and I feel closer to her every time I have uncertainty in myself or I have this desire to run. Looking at her I can see what it is to stay and give my yes to something that I am so uncertain of but that’s precisely what makes it beautiful because it’s not mine. It’s allowing someone else to create something beautiful.”
“In saying yes, I’m saying I belong to someone else, and someone else is leading me, holding me, and that faith is radically what Mary lived in her Yes. This image of Mary has really helped me and I feel closer to her every time I have uncertainty in myself or I have this desire to run.”
There is such a clear sense of freedom in her relationship with the Father, “Looking at my dad’s love for me and this freedom that I have in front of him has allowed me to see how I recognize a father’s love for me and it’s how I recognize it in my faith.” It’s this relationship with the Father that continually inspires her artistic eye and provides her with such a unique perspective of beauty. “The times when I’m aware of the simplest moments of beauty is when I have this childlike wonder, and that’s when I’m also so aware that the smallest things are a gift to me and then I can just be a small child who just receives what her Father is giving her. It’s a disposition I wish I could have all the time.”
It’s this childlike wonder and her attention to detail that has inspired her fashion sense and gives her the freedom to create. “I see my attention to detail and my wonder of the world in my desire to wear something beautiful every day, to decorate every corner of my apartment in a beautiful way, or in making someone a small gift or to stop and admire something so simple or overlooked.” God has given her this eye to see a deeper beauty in the simplest of things and this simplicity gives her the courage to be bold and unique in what she wears. “The risk and the fun of fashion comes from the awareness that I am created and I have desire to share in this creation, and I don’t think it’s something to reduce. Fashion is this incredible expression of my belonging to the church and its cool that people notice that in me and my style. In the way that people recognize that a Christian is different they also recognize when someone dresses differently and in way that is still uplifting, not just shocking”
“The risk and the fun of fashion comes from the awareness that I am created and I have desire to share in this creation, and I don’t think it’s something to reduce.”
She sees her desire to create as an expression of her feminine genius and in her awareness of being a daughter of Christ, “Once I had this awareness, every single part of my life became His, even in the way I dress. I think some people realize this and think, ‘I have to dress modestly and safely,’ but for me, having this awareness I’m totally free to express myself. It’s cool because mornings that I feel that awareness, and say yes to Him, I see myself dress in a way that’s reflective of it, but if I’m at a point where I’m really questioning or doubtful or struggling to see Christ in a certain week then I can also see that reflected in the way I dress because I don’t feel as free in those moments.” What I love about this is that fashion, and modesty, isn’t supposed to feel confining. You shouldn’t be worried, self-conscious, or judged in the way you choose to dress for Christ. With fashion comes freedom and if it reflects the One who created you then it will be beautiful and it will dignify you while also glorifying Him.
“With fashion comes freedom and if it reflects the One who created you then it will be beautiful and it will dignify you while also glorifying Him.”
I was very excited to see what fashion tips I would receive from Mary, and I was not disappointed. Her technique is to find pieces that she finds striking and unique in thrift shops or other stores and then put them with classic basics or other striking pieces to create something new and beautiful. “I hate when people say, ‘I could never pull that off,’ because so much of it is to just never tell yourself that. When someone wears something and they wear it confidently I would never say, ‘oh they can’t pull that off,’ no if they are wearing it they can pull it off. Don’t let that stop you.” Another key piece of advice that I have recently been discovering for myself is dressing for my body, “Learning how to dress for your body is so important. To dress in a beautiful way is also to look at my body and the clothing that allows the expression of it to be glorified and not just buy something that doesn’t fit me right. It adds a heightened sense of beauty to the body.” I can give all the fashion advice in the world, but if you don’t understand your body and how to glorify it in the way that God designed you to be then all my advice will be in vain. It’s good to know yourself.
“Do something bold tomorrow. Change something up in your wardrobe, I know am. Be free as a daughter of Christ!”
Mary Sarah’s fearlessness has been such an inspiration for me this year, not only in my sense of style, but also in my faith and being purely me. Getting to know her has been such a gift and I’m so glad God gave me the courage to finally reach out to her. Do something bold tomorrow. Change something up in your wardrobe, I know am. Be free as a daughter of Christ, and if you need any more tips on how to do so message me here!