What my vocation means to me

by Guest Contributor

Hannah Lonergan is the Columban Faith in Action Volunteer. She explains briefly a little about what action and vocation means to her.

As a young person today, I feel a lot of responsibility. In what feels like such a politically and socially tumultuous time, it feels like a lot lies on my generation to help encourage significant change. For me, this feeling of responsibility first arose as a teenager at school, as I learnt more about the injustices in our world – from the climate crisis to conflict and war. As my knowledge of these issues grew, so did the feeling of being called to do more. For example, I recall becoming aware of the severity of the climate crisis for the first time, and remember feeling so disconnected to the issue, and powerless because how could I – one 13 year old girl – make any impact? 

So after completing my A-Levels in the summer of 2023, I wanted to respond to that call – I felt that I had a duty to find out what I could do to help, because it was only by luck that it wasn’t me that was facing the direct impact of issues such as the climate crisis, and the hostile environment faced by people seeking asylum in the UK. It didn’t feel enough for me to sit back and observe – I wanted to explore what action and vocation meant to me. I decided to take a break from studying, and the Columbans Faith in Action programme seemed like the perfect fit for this. At this stage, I had been volunteering with people seeking sanctuary, and was familiar with how hard that experience is currently – this was what really pushed me to look into how I could learn more, and help challenge the current hostile narrative. 

Over the past few months, I have had the privilege of joining several initiatives that have helped me to learn more about these issues today. I have been actively involved in local community projects promoting dialogue, community, and working together to enact positive change for the future. I have met many inspiring people who are advocates, and unapologetically speak out for what they believe in, dedicating their lives to this work: from people working and volunteering at local charities in Birmingham, to activists working for larger organisations like Christian Climate Action.  I have learnt so much from those who I’ve journeyed alongside, which has affirmed what vocation means to me; as a young woman today, I feel called in several ways: I feel called to listen, to learn, and to actively show solidarity to those who are part of marginalised communities – especially as a cisgendered white woman. I have explored what it means to be an ally, and how I can use what I have to uplift and support messages that I believe in. 

The knowledge and experience that I have been gifted over the past year will live with me as I continue to explore my vocation, and continue to live out what I feel called to do. I will continue to have important conversations about these issues, continue to make my voice heard by my representatives in Government, and continue to support and amplify the voices of those who are often ignored. 

The Columbans in Britain are excited to once again be recruiting young adult volunteers to embark on a year of personal development and growth as part of their unique Faith in Action Volunteer programme. The programme will run for 12 months and begins in September 2024.

Columban Faith in Action Advert 2024-25
Columban Faith in Action Advert 2024-25

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Could you be our next Faith in Action Volunteer? Sound interesting?

Read more about the role here