Kalista Nugent is leading young people to encounter Christ one relationship at a time

06 June 2024

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

Jesus beckons to all of us with the simple words “Come, follow me.” “For the Sake of the Call” is a 3-part series, written by Mike Landry, which shares the testimonies of people from the Archdiocese of Edmonton who have heard and answered this call to follow Jesus Christ and place him at the center of their lives. 

Kalista Nugent knows from personal experience that relationships are essential to nurturing and developing our faith, now she’s reaching out to young adults to help them on their own journey.

“I want people to come and encounter other young adults,” Kalista says, “and by doing that encounter the image of Christ in the other so that they can continue to be supported and nourished in their faith through the witness of others in their life.”

Kalista is a student in Newman Theological College’s Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Studies program. She also serves as the vice-chair of C-YEG. Initially a grassroots initiative, CYEG is one of the newest ministries in the Archdiocese of Edmonton.

C-YEG organizes monthly Masses and other social activities for young adults aged 18 to 36. This week, we take a closer look at the journey that brought Kalista to Edmonton and a leadership role with C-YEG.

Kalista is the youngest of seven children, raised on an acreage 20 minutes north of Winnipeg. She is a self-described “cradle Catholic” whose faith experiences growing up included regular attendance at Sunday Mass, grace before meals, and occasionally praying the rosary as a family.

These habits were more expectations than the fruit of a personal faith. That changed when Kalista was 14 and she attended a charismatic retreat at the Catholic School of Evangelization in St. Malo, Manitoba. Looking back on that weekend, Kalista said:  “It was really cool getting to meet other young Catholics who weren’t just my siblings.”

Highlights of that weekend included early morning Adoration that left her with a deep sense of peace, and a moment after prayer ministry where Kalista found herself “resting in the spirit and getting a very tangible word from the Lord that He was giving me the gift of joy.”

Since the CSE offered similar retreats each year in the winter and summer, Kalista made attending these a priority. There, she not only continued to deepen her lived experience of the faith, but deepened friendships with the other young Catholics she encountered there.

Kalista remembers several key relationships that helped to foster her faith, beginning with her brothers and sisters. Of these, she declares, “I am beyond blest by my older siblings.” Kalista describes how each one of them has encouraged accompanied her as she matured in her faith.

One sister invited her to go on retreat. A brother who was discerning religious life provided a chance to discuss various faith questions. Another sister, now with Madonna House, would go with her to attend daily Mass.

Kalista also had a close friend who was an atheist, albeit a very curious one. This friend would pepper her with questions, leaving Kalista often searching to find the answers her friend was looking for.

This led her to register for a year at the St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission, seeking the knowledge and formation she felt she lacked. Her time there offered her more than just head knowledge, but deeply impacted her heart as well as she credits St. Therese as a place she also received personal formation, healing of her wounds and insecurities, and learning what a prayer life is like. The other big takeaway from her time at the St. Therese Institute was found in community living.  “I really learned what good and holy friendships are”, she says.

It’s no surprise then that she accepted a leadership role with C-YEG upon moving to Edmonton in 2022. She sees in C-YEG a place that young adults can develop the sort of community that has made such a marked difference in her own life.

Mike Landry is chaplain for Evergreen Catholic Schools, serving 10 schools west of Edmonton. Mike and his wife Jennifer live in Stony Plain with their five children.

To get involved with CYEG, a Catholic young adults community for the Archdiocese of Edmonton, see here

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