Hospitality is a strong tradition in my community. There is a Burkinabe proverb that says, “If a stranger comes to your house, you should give the stranger your chair and stand up”.
Growing up with such a humble and grateful tradition as a guide has shaped who I am in many ways, from inspiring me to be kind, to instilling a sense of community within me. Seeing my family support one another so graciously has always left me feeling secure, knowing that we are the kind of people who put the well-being of others before ourselves.
I am interested in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In 1943, ENIAC was invented. It occupied 1800 square feet and weighed 50 tons. After years of research by valiant scientists and engineers, transistors, microchips, and microprocessors were successively invented and led to the smaller, faster, powerful, and lighter computers. Nowadays, we use technology in different fields, enabling humans to solve complex challenges and achieve their objectives for the betterment of the world.
My Catholic faith enables me to spread love in my community. I remember going to catechesis and learning a lot about the teachings. This verse from Matthew 22:37-40 strikes me. Jesus said: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Love is an important aspect and the Catholic faith helped me to love my neighbor. In all activities I do, I put God in the center.
Throughout my Catholic life and teachings, I have encountered multiple Saints. Reading about their lives always helped me grow and stay resilient during challenging times. One of the Saints I read about is St. Francis of Assisi. Francis once loved luxurious clothes and partying. After fighting in a battle, Francis was captured and imprisoned. He also suffered from an illness. After his release from prison, Francis heard the voice of Christ. He devoted his life to helping the poor. Francis later became known for his simple lifestyle. He also became known for his love of all God’s creations, including animals.
In addition to reading about Saints, another source enabling me to further deepen my faith and stay strong is the Rosary. When I pray the Rosary, I approach closer to Christ through Mary due to her special connection with Him and with us. The rosary has personally been important to me. Praying the Rosary helps me calm my mind and raise my mind and heart to God. The Rosary reminds us of all the things we believe as Catholics. In addition, the mysteries in the Rosary enable us to meditate on Jesus’ life. These reflections enable us to live up to His values, grow closer to Him.
During Spring 2021, I received the opportunity to come to the MIT campus. As a Catholic, I continued to practice my faith. However, I watched online Church. I felt isolated practicing my faith alone. I then researched to see if there is a Catholic community here at MIT. And I discovered the Tech Catholic Community (TCC). I contacted the TCC and they were so friendly and told me about places I could go for in-person Mass and suggested to even go with them. I feel the warmth, love, help, support that I received from members of the TCC, being together and practicing our faith. In addition, joining Bible Studies have helped me learn more about God’s Words, develop myself, and spread love and good in my community.
-Franck Belemkoagba, MIT Junior