Humans of UD: Tatiana Rios

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A photo of Tatiana Rios taken by her father, Paul Rios.

A quick glance at the life of Tatiana Rios reveals an extraordinary generosity.

“I love being with people and ministering to them in any way,” said Rios.

A commuter student at UD, Rios grew up in Carrollton, Texas.

As President of the Thomistic Institute Chapter at the University of Dallas, a Blessed is She group leader, a member of Crusaders for Life, and a freshman ambassador/mentor, Tatiana is an active presence on campus. Her ability to foster charity and inspire others is clear.

But perhaps what is even more extraordinary than her dedication to Catholic service is her journey to get there.

Throughout her childhood, Rios only occasionally went to church. Influenced by a lackluster background of faith, she became agnostic until her sophomore year of high school.

Then, the Lord intervened in her life.

Her mother had begun to go to Mass, and Rios was able to witness the marked change in her character as a result. Grace was influencing the woman she had known her entire life to transform her into a more loving and beautiful person.

On a trip to Washington D.C., Rios was anxious about flying on a plane for the first time, so a classmate gave her a medal of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travel. While glancing out the window, she looked over the breathtaking sights below her and acutely realized, “someone created that.”

Her mind became a tumultuous storm of questions, wondering about the reality of God’s existence, when she came to stand before the Washington Monument. Then, a gust of wind blew across her face.

In her words, “I woke up and knew that God existed.”

Although it began with a clear goal in mind, her two-year journey to conversion was strenuous. But, ultimately, it ended with a sense of community when most of her family reaffirmed their faith.

Her path to UD, however, was by chance.

As a convert, Rios felt like she had to start over in some aspects of her life when she became Catholic. She craved a Catholic community and searched for a college that had one. She cannot recall where she heard about UD, but once she toured the campus, she knew it was the place for her. 

“All the puzzle pieces really came together and I felt like I was at home,” said Rios.

Currently, Rios is a junior theology major and plans to have a career teaching theology. Her dream would be to get a Ph.D. and educate at a college level, but she would be satisfied with teaching theology to any grade.

While she is uncertain where she will go immediately after college, she trusts that she will find the right path. 

Rios has a few hidden talents up her sleeve. A love of jazz has inspired her to learn the saxophone and the accordion.

She lives her life according to the St. Thomas Aquinas quote, “non nisi te domine” —  “nothing but you God.” It can be seen through her friendly nature, charitable work and exemplary commitment to the Lord. 

God has guided her journey thus far, and she trusts in Him to lead her the rest of the way.

As Rios so aptly puts it, “I live my life for the Lord and He will place me where I am needed.”

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