Elizabeth Benzmiller

“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” ~ St. Pope John Paul II


Where I serve

I am honored to have been selected to serve on a new expansion campus this year at Dickinson State University, in Dickinson, North Dakota.  Go Blue Hawks!  This campus has never had FOCUS and we have been told that the community is very excited to welcome us onto campus!  My team of four missionaries will be working closely with Father Shay and Monsignor Richter, the DSU Catholic Club, and all students we can encounter on the Dickinson State campus!  We will be working with students who are enthusiastic about growing in their faith, building a strong faith community, and willing to be formed and form the next generation of Catholics.  This is an extremely exciting opportunity for the Lord to encounter and change so many new students’ lives and I can’t wait to be an instrument of His work!

My Story

Before responding to the call to go on mission, I graduated from South Dakota Mines with a B.S. in Science, Technology, & Society: Policy and Law.  It was there that I truly was able to grow my faith into what it is today!  Though like many others, I came to college looking for a place to belong and grow in new ways.  I decided to become active in our Newman Club, join a sorority, and various other professional and social organizations and clubs.  Within months of joining Greek life, the once supportive faith community I had become a part of – started to convict me in ways that the supportive Greek community wasn’t.  This was when I, like many other college students, started to fall away from practicing my faith.  Eventually, it led to me just going to Mass with my family when I went home or when a friend invited me.

It was only when my brother called me one day to ask if I was going to Mass that Sunday, to which I responded I wasn’t because I didn’t feel welcome or comfortable going anymore (something I could have never imagined saying as a kid growing up a cradle Catholic who went to Catholic school and loved the Lord)!  What he said to me changed my life, “Well, if you won’t be there, I will be there praying for you.”  He said it with zero judgment, just compassion and love.  This was the supportive community I grew up in and was longing for.  So after studying abroad in Ireland and finding the beauty of European Catholic Churches to spark my awe and wonder in the Catholic faith, I was ready to give the Catholic faith a second shot.

I returned to South Dakota Mines, where my brother was also now attending.  He brought me to Mass at the Newman Center, which now had a new FOCUS missionary team that completely embraced me, walked with me, and helped me answer those hard questions for myself.  It was from there I went to confession for the first time in years and started to take a personal investment in my personal faith journey, as well as others’.  Within months of coming back into my faith, I was leading others, mentoring younger women, participating in the Fiat program, attending RCIA classes to study up again, and going to retreats.  This changed my life and it was the same semester I returned to the faith, that my Newman Center elected me the Student President.  I was able to serve the students, community, and faith center in a way that really helped me find a passion and calling toward ministry – specifically for college students!  I was able to help create an environment that was warm and welcoming, that encountered and engaged students in a new and inviting way, and showed students that there was more to life.

It also really shined a light on the desperate need that college students have for divine intimacy with the Father, searching for the Truth and greater freedom, and authentic friendship (someone to walk through life with them as they make really difficult adult decisions).  This was exactly what FOCUS was doing for my campus and I knew that the Lord was calling me to serve with them!

Your Impact

I have made the decision to rely on the spiritual and financial support of mission partners to help me to serve on this mission. I have been blessed with the most amazing people to journey with me as I serve on campus. If you are interested in partnering with me on mission this year, please let me know the best way to reach you and I would love to schedule a time to talk with you. I would be honored to share this mission with you.

Reach out to me anytime with prayer requests or just to chat!

[email protected]

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