Double Take

Double Take

What happens to fraternal twins when they spend a year apart?...
As told to Pauline Oo

...Answer: One comes out of her shell; the other finds greater strength and deeper faith.

Elizabeth Rodewald ’16

I KNEW I wanted to study abroad when I came to St. Kate’s. I just didn’t know where, until I visited the Office of Global Studies.

I’m a double major — Spanish and international relations — and my dream job is to work in counterintelligence and counterterrorism for the U.S. government. In order to achieve that dream, I need to develop a strong global perspective of various cultures. So, when the opportunity to spend a year in Argentina came up, I grabbed it.

I’m in Buenos Aires right now. Being away from everything that’s familiar has been challenging. I’ve had to adjust my habits and expectations, and take more risks. But this experience has made me a stronger person. I’m more confident and open-minded. I’m also now fluent in Spanish, which was one of my primary goals for my year abroad.

I have deepened my Catholic faith. I joined the youth group at my church, la Básilica de San Carlos y María Auxiliadora, and we meet each week to work at the soup kitchen attached to the church and to discuss our faith. I also try to attend Mass at least once a week, if not more. Although I don’t know all the words to the prayers in Spanish, I go anyway. It gives me a sense of peace. The beauty of Catholic Mass is that it’s the same no matter where you go.

I’m coming home in July and I can’t wait. I miss everyone so much. I’m looking forward to my senior year at St. Kate’s. It will be great to reconnect with my friends, and to have my sister as my roommate again.

Catherine Rodewald ’16

WHEN I first got to St. Kate’s, I was having trouble fitting in and finding what I wanted to do with my life. So I stuck with what I knew: lifeguarding and teaching swimming, and my sister. Elizabeth and I were born two hours apart, and I’m the shy older one. Because she’s so extroverted and likes to get outside her comfort zone, she often did the talking for both of us. I always hid behind Elizabeth when she was around.

It wasn’t until the end of my first year that things started to click for me. My theology professor shared an Aristotle quote in class one day that basically said: You can either choose to be mad about the situation you’re in or rise above it. I realized at that very moment that my happiness was up to me. I promised myself that I would start looking at things differently and try harder to immerse myself in the St. Kate’s community.

After my sister left, I branched out even more. I made new friends. I spoke up for myself. I even changed my major. I started out in accounting because it sounded easy; I like analyzing information. But after I shadowed a professional accountant, I knew there was no way I could sit behind a computer all day. People — interacting with them and helping them solve problems — are the reason I love being a lifeguard and swimming instructor. So, I switched to human resources.

I am finally on the right path. I’m a lot more independent, and I know what I want. St. Kate’s really helped me come out of my shell.

Catherine Rodewald (right) with her sister, Elizabeth.

Catherine Rodewald (right) with her sister, Elizabeth.


Photos by Rebecca Zenefski, by Rebecca Studios


See more images and meet two other twin pairs.


Their grandmother, Catherine McManmon Anderson ’49, and her sisters, Helen McManmon Kuenster ’38 and Mary Lenore McManmon CSJ ’55, are St. Kate’s alumnae.

Pauline Oo MAOL Cert ’14, MBA '16

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