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Religious Education & Youth Ministry

LifeGuides is a team of resident parishioners, college parishioners, and confirmed high school students who are committed to assisting the youth of St. Thomas Aquinas: The Catholic Center at Purdue. Through the formation of authentic Catholic community, the program gives life to all of those who are a part of it.

Among our many responsibilities, LifeGuides are generous with their time and instrumental in planning, organizing, and implementing many activities for the youth. The individuals involved in LifeGuides share their faith through service projects, retreats, and social events. If you have a desire to serve, we welcome you to join us.

For More Information


Interns for the 2017 – 2018 School Year

Name:  Tiffany Hunsinger
Year: Senior
Major: History and Comparative Literature
Position: Coordinator of Youth Ministry
About Me: I’m a senior in Liberal Arts who enjoys reading and talking to people; everyone has such an interesting story to tell. I come from a very small town in Indiana, about 30 miles east of Indianapolis, called Knightstown. I have one younger sister and older brother who is now a lawyer and has one son and one daughter on the way. I hope to do some kind of mission or ministry work when I graduate and then pursue a graduate degree. Other fun facts include my love for cats and dependency on iced chai tea. I am passionate about youth ministry because I believe that it deals with one of the most critical times in a person’s life and thus, faith is very important to cultivate when one is a youth. I hope to provide a youth ministry that offers the youth a chance to more deeply form their Catholic faith while fostering fellowship with others.
Favorite Bible Verse: 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.” There is just something about this verse that always provides me peace. In anxious moments or when the exams and papers have piled up, I enjoy remembering this line and it gives me motivation to accomplish whatever God has put in front of me.


Jessica Devine
Year: Sophomore
Major: Public Health
Position: Coordinator of Religious Education
About Me: I spent most of my childhood in Avon, Indiana. I’ve loved teaching ever since I started with the education department at the Indianapolis Zoo, where I spent 400 hours during high school. I came to Purdue excited to join the amazing community of St. Tom’s I’d heard so much about. While at church the very first weekend, I saw a flyer and felt an inexplicable calling to the LifeGuides callout. I didn’t have any idea what LifeGuides was, but there was no doubt in my mind God was calling me there. I showed up with great trepidation– and never looked back. I offered to teach whatever grade needed me, and was put with 5th grade. I loved every minute of teaching last year, and also helped out with the youth ministry when I could. As a bonus, I’ve met many of my dearest friends through LifeGuides. Through a series of chance encounters during LifeGuides events God even led me to Camp Tecumseh, where I get to spend my summers as a counselor loving kids and teaching them about who God is and how much He does for us. I’m so thankful for this program and how God has spoken to me through it. I’m excited to see where God leads me next, and the religious education program through me.
Favorite Bible Verse: “Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous, do not be discouraged, do not be afraid, for I the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9 God says this to Joshua as Joshua is preparing the Israelites to cross the Jordan to get to the Promised Land. This is my favorite verse because it reminds me to never let fears stop me from pursuing God’s plan for me. Despite the harsh journey and Moses’s death just beforehand, the work of God continued uninterrupted, and no matter what setbacks we encounter, so it is the same for us today.


Bess Fary
Year: Senior
Major: Elementary Education
Position: Elementary School Intern
About Me: I was born and raised in Hammond Indiana, with my three siblings and loving parents. I started my journey at Purdue majoring in pre-veterinary medicine. Working with children had always been a huge part of my life, and it was something that I missed once I got to college. I joined lifeguides my freshman year because of this. It combined my love of children and my love of God. Since then I have taught 1st grade for 3 years. This program is what made me realize that God was calling me to be a teacher. After lots of prayer and consideration I changed my major to elementary education. I hope that as an intern I will be able to share my love of God and give back to this program that has given so much to me.
Favorite Bible Verse: “I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight.” Isaiah 45:2. This verse reminds me that God is constantly working in our lives in ways that we may not even see.


Julia Kuhn
Year: Sophomore
Major: Elementary Education and Agricultural Education
Position: Middle School Intern
About Me: I grew up on a small farm in Fort Wayne, IN as the fifth of seven children. I was very active in my county and state 4-H program where my four older brothers, two younger sisters and I raised dairy beef steers, chickens, and turkeys for show, along with exhibiting many indoor projects like sewing, foods, scrapbooking and gardening. I am blessed to follow in the (very) large footsteps of three of my brothers when I came to Purdue after deciding to major in Elementary Education and Agricultural Education. The minute I stepped foot on Purdue’s campus, I immediately knew that I had found my new home. I jumped right in to all the ministries and activities that Saint Tom’s had to offer – I attended the New Student Overnighter, became involved in Women’s Group, was a retreatant on Boiler Awakening 13 and began teaching 8th Grade Religious Education through which I have deepened my faith life and met some of my closest friends. I am so blessed to have experienced so many memories here at Saint Tom’s and I can’t wait to see where God leads me next. My next big adventure will take place this fall as I will be serving as the Middle School Religious Education Intern. When you are out and about, you’ll be likely to find me at Saint Tom’s on any given day, so be sure to stop and say hello. I love meeting new people! Fun fact: I love puns! (The cheesier, the better).
Favorite Bible Verse: Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” I love this verse since it helps to remind us that life is full of suffering, but is also full of joy – we just have to trust in God and rejoice in the blessings even though the future is uncertain.


Hannah Rugenstein
Year: Senior
Major: Plant Science
Position: Confirmation Intern
About Me: I graduated from Center Grove High School in 2013, and coming to Purdue has been a very interesting ride! I was raised as a Nondenominational Protestant, but I stumbled into Saint Thomas Aquinas and was drawn in by the people’s warm and friendly nature and strong community. I completed RCIA and was Confirmed right here at St. Tom’s! I’m majoring in plant science, and I also do a wide variety of textile crafts, from spinning to weaving and knitting.
Favorite Bible Verse: “My sacrifice to God a broken spirit, a humble and contrite heart, o God, you will not spurn.” – Psalm 51:17 There are many good verses about how to be a good Christian, but I feel this Psalm cuts right to the heart of it – humble yourself before the Lord, and He will not cast you away. This verse has personal significance, as it was a key theme of my conversion, and I try to live by this ideal.

Erica Papa

Major: Accounting and Management

How I got involved at St. Tom’s: When I came to Purdue, I went to daily Mass, NSO, Boiler Awakening, and Friday Fellowship. I fell in love with the community here and have been around ever since! They’re going to have a hard time getting rid of me at the end of the year!

Favorite Bible Verse: “Learn from the way the wildflowers grow”. Matthew 6:28

Fun Fact: I hate butterflies, but I LOVE Nutella.

Bio: My name is Erica Papa and I am Senior (*cries inside*) from Cumming, Georgia. I absolutely love the community that St. Tom’s has given me during my time here at Purdue. I love listening to people and helping them in any way that I can. I also love to dance, even if I am not the best at it, whenever there is music on even if that means at the grocery store. I am very excited to meet new people and I can’t wait to get to know everyone! I love new friends!