A Warm Welcome to Victoria O’Donnell to the Ruah Woods Team
December 13, 2023
Tell me a little about yourself?
I am a Cincinnati native with years of experience in both ministry and sales. Which, if you think about it, are essentially the same thing.
I spent my 20’s discerning religious life and that afforded me incredible opportunities to live internationally, work with people of all ages from differing walks of life and deepen my relationship with Christ in ways I never could have imagined. The groundwork that precipitated my entrance to contemplating religious life was my experience with the Theology of the Body in the early years of Ruah Woods.
In 2009, as an undergraduate, I came to Ruah Woods to learn what this “Theology of the Body” thing was. I was joined by a diverse group of Catholics between 18-65 years old who, like me, wanted to live out their faith in a radically deeper way. We watched Christopher West’s “The Gift” series and shared our thoughts and feelings after each lesson, prompting heartfelt and perspective-shifting discussions. It was life-changing for all involved. From that group alone came a priestly vocation, a marriage, and my own openness to considering consecrated religious life. Significantly, as well, was the spiritual and emotional healing that transpired after years immersed in the pervasive and ubiquitous culture of death we had been steeped in for so long. In short, my life and so many others were transformed by learning, understanding, and discussing Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body offered by Ruah Woods’ inbound, local ministry of the past.
How did you end up back at Ruah Woods Institute?
After discerning out of religious life, I lived in the Metro DC area and tried my hand at program management and admissions counseling within higher education. While enjoyable, I didn’t see a path of growth in that area. Then COVID hit. Circumstances brought me back ‘home’ and looking for new employment opportunities. After a suggestion to explore direct sales prospects, I worked for a local firearms retailer where I taught firearm safety and concealed carry courses. Next, I was a sales representative for a telecommunications provider where an often-repeated assertion was heard around the office, “Victoria can sell snow to a ski slope.” Yet still my heart wasn’t content. I know that I have a divine mission to “go and make disciples” (Mt 28:19) and that direct-to-consumer retail products weren’t increasing members to the Body of Christ. As fate would have it, I came across a recent job posting for Ruah Woods Institute’s Midwest Curriculum Consultant and before I fully even read the description, I applied.
I am beyond grateful to be back at the place that inspired the faith-filled woman I am today and will help me more fully image God by continuing to grow into who I am yet to become. Furthermore, I am thrilled to help integrate TOB into our Catholic schools and parishes throughout the Midwest. After all, I am in the unique position to set hearts and minds aflame with the truth, beauty, and goodness of God’s design and purpose for the human person, that I learned here so many years ago. I know that I am in the right place and that is a resolute knowing that only springs from answering God’s call and following His will.
Victoria O’Donnell, Curriculum Consultant — Midwest