University alumna shares practical tips for teaching chastity


Photo by: Dan O’Loughlin

“Trust that the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say,” reflected Culture Project missionary Maura Eckels.

Eckels, a 2018 graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, shared her experiences of being a missionary over these past several months with the students and faculty gathered on Wednesday, Feb. 7, along with tips and practical advice for teaching about chastity in a ministry setting.

In Eckels’ presentation “Preaching the Good News: Teaching Chastity in the Classroom,” she addressed the top five topics students will typically bring up in a chastity presentation: chastity, pornography and masturbation, contraception, homosexuality and gender identity.

Eckels defined the virtue of chastity as “the guardian of authentic love,” and she spoke about the need to educate students on the dangers of contraception.

In speaking of ministering to students struggling with same-sex attraction, Eckels stressed the need to affirm that “it doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation is; you are good.” Similarly, in dealing with those struggling with gender identity, Eckels pointed to the fact that every person is made “in the image and likeness of God.” The missionary reflected, “Your identity is found in Christ alone, not your gender.”

To conclude the night, Eckels allowed an open Q&A from the students and faculty present, with questions ranging from a variety of topics including modesty, homosexual attraction and tips on effectively ministering to students.

To wrap up her talk, Eckels referenced the story of Jesus and the woman about to be stoned to death. Speaking of Christ’s attitude towards this woman, Eckels said, “Jesus is asserting merciful love but is also calling her to greatness.” Similarly, Eckels reflected that the most important thing to remember in all ministry is mercy.

“Preaching the Good News: Teaching Chastity in the Classroom” was sponsored by Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Missionary Outreach Office.