Serra Ann Boland
“I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me…” -John 17:21
Since I was young I have shared in Christ’s deep longing for unity.
Experiencing the dynamics of divorced parents and a blended family heightened my awareness of our fundamental human need for communion and wholeness in relationship.
As a result, and out of a sincere love and reverence for family life, I pursued my undergraduate degree in “Family, Youth and Community Sciences” at the University of Florida. There I studied individual and family development and functioning in the context of community.
Through my courses and experiences mentoring younger women, I discovered how significantly broken families and disordered interpersonal relating can shape lives.
Recognizing that God was increasing my compassion for wounded families and stirring in me a desire to be a vessel for His healing, I looked into my university’s master’s degree in counseling.
Throughout the application process, however, I could not shake an underlying concern of receiving more formation in a setting where the Christian view of the human person, marriage and family was often dismissed.
I started to look for ways to supplement my secular education with the truths of my faith and one night I came across the IPS website.
I spent hours reading each page and watching every video, tangibly feeling the vision of the Institute correspond with the mission God had been forming in my heart.
I said “yes” to IPS because they embrace the dignity of the whole person, because they insist on the proper place and responsibility of the family, and because they affirm an unrelenting hope in the person and the family’s capacities to unfold and fully flower!
Here I’m learning how God designed the family to be a participation in God’s communal and loving Trinitarian life, and how these theoretical truths can be translated into concrete realities.
I daily experience this beauty of family and communion at IPS as we pray together, invest in friendships, celebrate birthdays and holidays as a community, and encourage one another in our particular vocations.
This coming year I’m excited to begin directly applying our integration model on an internship serving teens and their families in the foster care system.
When asked about my future plans, I hope to continue to walk alongside those in the healing process as well as to explore creative ways to protect and enhance family life.
I also look forward to developing new initiatives for celebrating the whole person and communicating our Catholic anthropology through culture and the arts.
To prospective students: peace be with you! Consider entrusting your discernment to the Holy Family. I pray Jesus, Mary and Joseph help you discover your particular vocation to love.