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March 30, 2014

Guerin Catholic grads bring classes to Purdue campus

By Caroline B. Mooney

WEST LAFAYETTE — In February, three St. Theodore Guerin High School graduates who are members of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish brought SoulCore to Purdue University.

Classes are held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, and each week has brought new — and returning – students. They find out about it via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and word of mouth.

Ana Smolen, a junior at Purdue, is one of the instructors. She said she used to get bored reciting the rosary, but, “Now I don’t just concentrate on the words and breaking apart each sentence; I am reflecting more on the mysteries. When we do the sorrowful mysteries, it’s a harder workout, and you push through these things like when Jesus fell. We need to get back up, too, and keep pushing through — not just through the workout, but through life itself.

“I feel like I get out so much more than I put in while I’m doing it,” she said. “When asked if we wanted to bring this to Purdue, it wasn’t even a question. It was, ‘Absolutely!’ We are the leaders, but really we are just part of the class also. The class is easier to do when you are praying because you can give it up to God and pray for his help through the workout.”

Instructor Whitney Gryna, a Purdue sophomore, said she went to SoulCore test classes with her mother.

“I thought it was amazing and so unique,” she said. “Being a college student, I want to look good and keep my mind and body healthy.

“I love that my sorority sisters and my friends can all come together and pray,” Gryna said. “We try to relate our meditations to everyday life. I will tell the girls to pray for a personal intention, whether it is for a really tough exam coming up, or whatever.”

Katey Bussick is a junior at Purdue, and Scariano is her aunt. Bussick helped with the initial graphic design and advertising of SoulCore.

“I fell in love with it the first time — it is such a new aspect to the rosary,” she said. “When I was young, I was not a fan of the rosary. I would get really frustrated because I thought it was boring and really repetitive. I didn’t get anything out of it. SoulCore has opened my mind to it a lot. Doing the workout while you are concentrating on the words has made it become a lot prettier to me and less repetitive.

“I never dreamed of becoming an instructor because I was so new to the workout,” Bussick said, “but it has helped me become more confident in the workout scene. Through the rush of college, it’s an hour of our week that we really come together and forget about everything else. It gets our blood flowing, too.”

Megan Crowther, a member of St. Thomas Aquinas and a junior at Purdue, came to the class after hearing about it from friends on Facebook.

“I offered a petition for my aunt who has Alzheimer’s, so during class I was praying for God to take away her struggles,” she said. “I had never thought about asking the Lord to take somebody else’s struggles and put it on me while I was exercising.”

There is no cost for the Purdue class.

Information can be found on the Facebook page Purdue Soulcore, and on Twitter at: @PurdueSoulCore, or contact: or Katey Bussick at 317-610-9595.

Related: SoulCore: strengthening body and soul through exercise and the rosary

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