It may take a lifetime for a Catholic to ever dig into theology, if it happens at all. For Taylor Wilkerson, it started in middle school.
“I studied theology books on my own, I’ve always been kind of a bookworm,” Wilkerson said. “As a Catholic in a southern public school, I was asked a lot of questions about my faith by my peers. You know the sort of questions I’m talking about — the ones about worshiping Mary and bowing to statues, that sort of thing. So my interest in theology began, actually, as an interest in apologetics (the defense of the faith). It was because I was constantly asked these questions at school that I started to read and study my faith more seriously.”
Growing up at St. Jude Church in Jacksonville, Wilkerson attended the Little Rock Theology Institute in high school. At only 19 years old, she is a senior theology and philosophy major at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., and chairs the school’s social justice committee.
This summer, she did research at The University of Oxford in England for her undergraduate thesis on feminist theology.
“I’m particularly interested in Mary Magdalene. She was very much a leader in the early Church. … It’s fascinating to learn how women shaped the Christian tradition but were also kind of in the background.”
Wilkerson, who will go for her doctorate in biblical studies, said theology is for everyone.
“In whatever they’re doing, find that specific area of theology that relates to your daily life and that will guide your faith,” she said.
What one question would you want to ask Jesus?
“I would ask, ‘In today’s world how are we called to apply the Gospel? … When Jesus says go and sell everything you have, how would we apply that to our daily lives?’”
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