Mary Bent

Hey! My name’s Molly. You might see it as “Mary” in some places…that’s my name, too 🙂 But everyone calls me Molly! 

Where I serve

God has called me to serve the students at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA! 

My Story

Cardinal Cantalamessa said, The Church is a sailboat, not a rowboat. In his metaphor, Cantalamessa paints a beautiful picture of what God the Father desires for His children. As members of the Body of Christ, we are called to be receptive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives, like the sailor is receptive to the wind out at sea. The sailor moves with the direction and speed of the wind, not simply in accordance with his own power and preference. 

In the context of Cantalamessa s metaphor, my story begins with me rowing through life…with the wind at my back. I was blessed to grow up in a Catholic family where attending Sunday Mass was the norm. By the grace of God, in high school I even began attending daily Mass with my dad over the summer. Basketball was my passion, and God s plan for my life seemed to be aligning perfectly with my desires when I received an offer to play Division I basketball at the University of Connecticut. My dream since I was a little girl had literally come true.  

When I arrived at UConn my freshman year I experienced my first taste of rowing against a headwind. No matter how hard I worked or how many extra hours I put into training, I couldn t reach the type of success I desired for my college career. This struggle continued throughout my first three years at UConn, and it was heartbreaking. I saw myself as a failure, a disappointment, and a burden. 

During those three years, a Varsity Catholic FOCUS missionary named Katie was fearlessly pursuing me in friendship. When I first met Katie, I was immediately struck by her joy and how she spoke of Jesus as a friend who desired to be in relationship with us. I went to her weekly Bible study for student-athletes, but never accepted her invitations to develop a prayer life or to get involved with the Catholic community on campus. I was too busy rowing against the headwind, restlessly relying on my own strength to achieve what I had planned for my basketball career. For three years Katie accompanied me through the heartbreak I experienced with basketball. She gently and confidently spoke of the Father s Love, the plans He had for me, and Jesus desire to be with me in my suffering. 

Katie s three years of friendship and prayer reaped an abundant harvest my senior year at UConn. All of a sudden, a desire was placed on my heart to radically change the way I navigated through life, and it was the team of missionaries at UConn who showed me what that change actually looked like. The new VC missionary named Erinn ran with me into a life of prayer and radical surrender to the Father s will, even amidst my demanding schedule as a student- athlete. For the first time in my life, I experienced the unmatched peace, joy, and adventure of sailing through life in relationship with the Trinity. It changed everything, including basketball. My sport transformed into the gift the Father always intended it to be.

Less than six months later, the Holy Spirit led me to say “yes” to joining FOCUS as a Varsity Catholic missionary. It’s an absolute joy to accompany athletes into a relationship with Christ and to pursue the ultimate goal of heaven alongside them. It’s a joy I never would have experienced if I continued to row my way through life, and I praise God for the grace that allows us to surrender to His extraordinary will!  

Your Impact

When I answered the call to join FOCUS, I made the decision to rely on the spiritual and financial support of mission partners to help me through this mission. I’ve been blessed with the most amazing people who have journeyed with me as I serve on campus. If you are interested in partnering with me, please let me know of the best way to reach you and I will schedule an appointment. I’d be honored to share this mission with you.

“Some give by going to the missions; some go by giving to the missions. Without both, there is no mission.” – St. Therese of Lisieux (Patron Saint of Missions)

[email protected]

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