Meet Tiffany Montreuil

The Grace of the Present Moment

We are excited for Tiffany's video presentation on May 18th. Until then, check out her interview below.

Tiffany is originally from Louisiana and has served various ministries over the past 15 years in locations like Boston and Brazil. She enjoys hiking, arts and crafts, her beauty consultant side hustles, and belting out songs from Frozen II. Currently, she is the Faith Formation Director for St. Nicholas Catholic Parish in Gig Harbor.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in Louisiana, in a big southern Catholic family. I loved spending time with my siblings, cousins and friends exploring in the woods, playing soccer and softball, and reading.

At age 11, I joined ECYD, a network of Catholic youth who help each other build a personal relationship with Christ and be apostles among their peers. It was here that I fell in love with the Lord. I understood that He is my best friend, that He wanted to do everything with me, whether it was soccer practice, homework, or chores. This set my little heart on fire to bring other people to know Jesus, to understand that He is real and to know His love for us!

At age 14, I felt drawn to attend a vocational discernment high school in Rhode Island. This boarding school was run by the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, and was a place where young women could come to give God the first chance at their lives, while simultaneously forming themselves in a solid spiritual and apostolic life...and studying of course! After my four years of high school, I felt the Lord was calling me to consecrate my life to Him in poverty, chastity and obedience within Regnum Christi. I received my BA in Education and Masters in Pastoral Studies as a consecrated woman during my first four years of formation. After this, I spent the following 10 years working in youth ministry, spiritual direction, and in schools primarily in Rhode Island, Dallas, and Brazil.

In 2017, the Lord brought me through a very unexpected journey of healing, discernment and growth. In short, He turned my life upside down. Through this journey, I confronted years of anxiety and depression, and gradually, with much healing, decided the Lord was leading me to a life of wholeness and holiness outside of consecrated life.

At this point I moved to the Seattle area. For the past two years here, I have worked in a DIY Art Studio on Bainbridge Island (which I absolutely love!), and at St. Nicholas Catholic Parish in Gig Harbor.

Who or what are influences in your faith journey?

I would say some key people who influenced my faith were those leaders of my ECYD group as an adolescent, and the Consecrated Women who worked with me before and during my high school years. In them, I met people who talked about Jesus as a real Person, people who were convinced of His love. I could see that experience in the light of their eyes and the joy in their lives.

Another person who has influenced my spiritual life profoundly is my spiritual director, Fr. Shawn Aaron LC. At a time when I could not see anything clearly in my life, when I did not feel lovable, his constant reassurance that I was okay, and his presence was a sign for me that if he loved me, it was because God loved me first.

Another influence in my journey has been the counselors/therapists I have had over the years. I have always felt that the more I can understand what is happening in me emotionally, the more peace I have to discern the ways God is working in my life.

Name a time that was challenging in your faith.

In 2016, when I was living in Brazil, I was dealing with a moment of intense depression and anxiety, and feeling the effects of my abandonment wound. Much of my crisis was human: figuring out my identity as a person and confronting wounds from my past. However, during this time my abandonment wound carried over into the spiritual realm, and I was experiencing abandonment from God. I clung to the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist- simply being in His presence, showing him my brokenness and telling him I couldn't do anymore. I clung to His presence in other people who loved me, knowing that God had given me their love and support to hold me up and to hope for me until I could hope again. And I clung to His grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the Eucharist to carry me through. Little by little as I learned to feel my feelings and accept them, I was able to live more deeply in the truth that it is okay to be me, it is okay to be broken, because I am loved infinitely as I am by God.

What aspects of the Catholic Faith have helped you most to connect with your own personal story?

I would say the Sacraments have been the most powerful aspect of my Catholic Faith within my journey. The presence of Jesus in the Eucharist has been an essential aspect of my life: the place where I have encountered his unconditional love for me and fallen in love with Him, the place where I have regained peace of heart in stormy uncertainty, the place where I can share my life without judgment or expectation, the place where I receive guidance and reassurance that He wants my happiness more than I do. I often find my heart thirsty to spend time with Him in prayer there.

Encountering Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation has also been a crucial part of my journey. I find that there are times when I am weighed down and I can't even name or identify my weakness and sins, but I feel a desperate need for the grace of the Sacrament! And there are times when I can name my sins all too well and the last thing I want to do is name them out loud to the priest! Yet again, I need the grace of the Sacrament. And in both cases, He is always there with His mercy and unconditional love. He sees my heart, He sees my effort, and He loves me into growth in holiness. I am the one who expects perfection from myself, not Jesus! I need this Sacrament to remind myself of that. He only wants a perfect love from me.

These two places of grace have uncovered layer after layer in my soul all throughout my journey. They have moved me to a deeper and deeper healing and to a greater desire to live the fullness of life.

In the symbolism provided by the offertory portion of the Mass, we see ourselves giving the work of our hands over to God to be transformed on the altar of His sacrifice. What is your life's work as a gift of self for God and His people?

God has challenged my life's work in recent times. Being consecrated, I thought I knew what my life's work was. Then God totally turned my life in a different direction. Through this experience I have come to a deeper surrender and a deeper understanding that my life's work is really not anything that I will do, but what God will do through me. There has been a long period of time when I have felt I have little to nothing to offer to God, the Church, or others. In times like this, I would say that my life's work is my surrender. Just to stand before the Lord open, empty, naked, exposed and content to be His. My life's work is to let Jesus lead and use my life how He wishes. How that will play out, and how that will help others, I am not sure. But that part is not for me to worry about. That is God's part. My part is to offer.

+ Let us pray together for Tiffany and join in her prayers to our God.