"Certainly there are also young people interested in the Christian life, who on their own initiative come to ask to know the Church better, attend the catechumenate and activities in the parishes," she added.
Yuan, a Chinese student full of such initiative, is currently pursuing a PhD in theology at Notre Dame University.
Her love of theology was born by reading spiritual writings through which she entered into "the living tradition of the Church." Yuan found the "heroic battle of charity and self-sacrifice" in St. Therese of Lisieux's autobiography to be a particular inspiration.
"Another thing I learned from St. Therese is the importance of praying for priests. I am blessed to have encountered some very holy priests in my life, who correct my faults and guide me through spiritual desolation, and always keep me in their prayers," Yuan said at the youth synod event.
"Since it is hard to overstate how much a priest can do for a soul, I believe that all faithful should try their best to support their priests," she continued.
"I saw the Church as a home from the very beginning and I am thankful for all of the grace I have received through her," Yuan said.
"My life in the Church has also changed my relationships with people. I learned that all people are created by God in His image and therefore deserve my love," Yuan said.
"I have to admit that sometimes I find it difficult to love some people, like to find Christ in them," she continued.
"However, God puts His own love in me and that love drives me to approach those people, and actually I end up being friends with many of them." Yuan said. "It is really a transcendent experience to be driven by love that goes beyond your understanding."
This article was originally published on CNA Oct. 30, 2018.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.