Madeline Rafferty

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.

  C.S. Lewis

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Where I serve

The Lord has sent me to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for my first year of mission.  With 45,000 students, this harvest is plenty but the laborers are few; I am honored to be here with my team as we strive to make disciples of Illini Nation!

My Story

As I moved away for college, I was leaving a place where I felt a belonging. I grew up going to a Catholic school and spent most of my life with the same small group of people.  I wasn't entirely sure what it meant to be Catholic but I knew that it gave me a belonging.  I began going to Mass consistently every Sunday my freshman year thanks to my roommate who held me accountable for this new goal.  I joined a women's group at our Newman Center and grew in real friendship with women seeking a life with Jesus. 

That following summer I worked at a Catholic summer camp in Kentucky and encountered the Heart of God in the Eucharist. My life was changed.  That summer I came to know Jesus’ pursuit of my heart and I hoped that everyone would know it too.  As my heart stirred to know Jesus more and more I greatly desired community with lively women.  When I returned to campus that fall I joined a sorority and before I knew it I was surrounded by 170 women from various backgrounds and beliefs.  I met my best friends in Kappa Delta and we loved each other hard and strived to live with the eternal perspective, praise God!  I began to realize that my heart was longing to share in deep, authentic friendship with other Catholic women, and that became my prayer. I encountered a FOCUS missionary that winter at SEEK2017 who entered into my life and loved me so well after knowing me for only 20 minutes.  With that small encounter, God put it on my heart to begin considering this life- this radical, totally surrendered, missionary life.

FOCUS missionaries arrived at our campus the next fall and my world was rocked.  A missionary named Natalie and I began spending time together and her investment in our friendship led to a deeper relationship with Christ and a fervent desire to live in His truth.  Soon I began investing a few other Greek women in discipleship and bible studies. We lived life together, we prayed together, and came to know the joy of Christ through each other.  

God continually called me out into the deep, to trust in His care and His gifts.  I was invited to go on a pilgrimage walking the Camino de Santiago through Spain.   I walked 250 miles alongside other women searching for whatever the Lord had for us to find.  As we neared the end of our pilgrimage my body was bruised and torn, all comforts that I knew were far from me-I have never known such freedom, such radical love.  Jesus asked me as I walked to the coast of Spain, “Madeline, to the ends of the Earth would you follow me?”  With an ever-new heart I could not help but say, “Yes, where else would I go?” As I followed His lead, Jesus led me to become a FOCUS missionary to love college students with an everlasting love in Him.  

Your Impact

When I answered the call to join FOCUS, I made the decision to rely on the spiritual and financial support of mission partners to help me through this mission. I've been blessed with the most amazing people who have journeyed with me as I serve on campus. If you are interested in partnering with me, please let me know of the best way to reach you and I will schedule an appointment. I'd be honored to share this mission with you.

Know, Love and Serve God

We encounter God in an intimate relationship through daily prayer, the sacraments and the Scriptures.

Build Virtuous Friendships

By building genuine friendships, we meet students on a deeper level.

Teach Others to Share Christ

We teach students how to share the gospel, who in turn teach other students how to pass it on …