For Deyja Donohue, current student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, religion has played a key role in the formation of her life. Born and raised in the Virgin Islands and brought up with her family in the Catholic Church, she was actively involved as an altar server and in youth group. As a teenager, she dabbled with the idea of becoming a nun, wanting to completely engulf herself in religion and God, but decided it wasn’t the path for her. Instead, she pursued an undergraduate degree at La Roche College in Pittsburgh, studying religion and philosophy.
“I think everyone should have a significant education in religion, because it is good to know what you believe and why you believe it,” she says.
Not only that, but it’s an education that can change your life. At least it did for Deyja. Entering college, burnt out and frustrated, she says she was on the verge of being agnostic; however, in learning more about the history of religion, she felt herself challenged, causing her faith to grow and mature.
Upon graduating, however, she wasn't sure of her next step, so she decided to take a year or two to work, first at a nursing home and then with people who have physical and intellectual development disabilities. In this time she discovered a joy in working with people, so she started looking for programs that focused on social work but also had some sort of religious basing. A few other universities had something similar but weren’t exactly what she was looking for, but in looking at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the joint degree program in social work with the University of Pittsburgh, she knew she had found where she was supposed to go.
“It feels like it’s a calling, and I know in my heart I’m where I’m supposed to be. I just don’t know what God’s going to do with me yet,” she says.
Though she’s not sure about the divinity side yet, the social work gives her direction so that in whatever path God leads her down will be in service to other people with a strong hold in real life situations. Deyja knows this is where she needs to be and what she needs to be studying.
So Deyja keeps her eyes lifted towards the Author of her life, following her path wherever it may lead, meeting the people where they are beyond the walls of the church, and working to bridge the Word and the World.