By Kat Gay
For The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Switching from the mindset of a student athlete to the mindset of a student seeking a college education focused not only on athletics, but also on Christ, Emma Bassier discovered that God gives a big assist. He places his hands in her life when she needs it the most and least expects it.
Emma is a graduate of Assumption High School in Davenport currently attending University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. She enters her junior year this month, double majoring in English and in communication and journalism.
During the beginning of her senior year of high school, Emma was faced with health challenges that many active teenagers could not have dreamed of. Doctors found a benign tumor in her abdomen which had to be surgically removed, leaving Emma with new questions and struggles to face.
She missed a lot of school due to her surgery, which was challenging, but Emma was surrounded by loving friends, family and teammates. Though Emma felt lost and alone during this time, one of her friends convinced her to go on a retreat in the middle of her senior year.
“During the retreat I realized that I needed to lean on God to get me through the challenges he placed before me; I couldn’t do it alone,” Emma said.
In the beginning of her college search, Emma looked into schools that would meet her desires in the athletic world. However, God had a different plan for her, and she started looking into other aspects of college beyond athletics.
She chose to visit St. Thomas University where her older brother, Ben, was a student. There wasn’t one specific thing that made her choose St. Thomas. Rather, she found many benefits the university had to offer. “I really liked the small campus size, the location in the Twin Cities, and the fact that there was a church on campus,” Emma said.
Knowing that St. Thomas was a Catholic university was a factor. This fit into the life of faith she was striving to live. Attending a religious university was something Emma knew would set her up to meet the kinds of people that she wanted to be with in her life.
St. Thomas also had athletic programs that Emma found interest in. She runs track there now, and the school’s athletic groups have become a source of friendship and faith building.
Currently at St. Thomas, Emma and boyfriend, Preston, have worked together to create Bible study opportunities for student athletes. It began as a small study with teammates on the track team during their freshman year. After talking with CRU leaders, a Christian organization focused on connecting student to Christ, they began a Bible study their sophomore year for all athletes on campus.
“We both are involved with CRU, and we both know how hard it can be to find time for Bible study while balancing the schedule of a student athlete,” Emma said. “We wanted to focus on reaching out to fellow athletes on campus by working around their practices.”
Emma and Preston lead these Bible studies with a few other athletes, and have been able to reach a different group of students at school as a result. The opportunity to lead a Bible study is one way they feel they are responding to what God is asking them to do in their lives.
Emma hopes to continue with leadership roles and leading Bible studies throughout her years at St. Thomas. After graduation she has hopes of becoming a book editor and would like to stay in the Twin Cities because of different job opportunities in that area.
“You can try to plan things, but whatever God has planned is going to happen,” Emma said.