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Emily Sanderlin: The Proclaimer

The theater and political science major says her faith keeps her going

Published: July 28, 2020   
Kateri Determan
Emily Sanderlin, 22, a theater and political science major at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., is center stage, playing sorceress Alcandre in the play, “The Theatrical Illusion.” She uses her speaking skills as a lector.

When Emily Sanderlin serves as a lector, it’s more than just reading Scripture.

“I think it really helped me to connect to the Word a lot more than I used to,” first serving as a lector as a teenager at St. Mary Church in Helena. “Otherwise you’re just kind of sitting there passively. When I became a proclaimer, I realized I had to do my research ... reflect on it more.” 

Her dedication to her faith came from her lifelong attendance to St. Mary, driving 65 miles roundtrip with her family for Mass on the weekends and Thursdays from her tiny town of Elaine. 

After being a lector the first time at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., she was stunned when a priest told her, “that was the best; I never heard anyone do that in my time here.”

Her talents go beyond just taking the Word of God seriously, but her skills for impeccable delivery of Scripture have been honed since attending theater camp as a child. 

Sanderlin, 22, is a double major in theater and political science. As a rising senior, Sanderlin is also an adorer, participates in Bible study and attends daily Mass. Last spring, she entertained children in Peru on a medical mission trip.

“I think it’s what keeps me going,” she said of her faith. “It’s easy to get caught up in everything in college — I’ve got this due and this, I’m in the plays and I teach dance downtown. I want to hang out with my friends, so I’ve got so much going on. So sometimes I’ll lose track, maybe I’m not going to adoration as much, or daily Mass. It starts to take a toll and I feel like I can’t go on ... I need his help, I need his grace, I need him in my life and he just makes me a more happy and fulfilled person.” 

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