Amongst the cast of characters here at Truth From the Heart, our most senior member is Anne (everyone calls her Annie) Foster, and she is doubtlessly the soul of our group. If a person weren’t careful, though, they could formulate a lot of misconceptions about Anne Foster. Usually when I tell people that Anne is a philosophy major and she knows Dietrich Von Hildebrand like the back of her hand, they react with surprise. I was very surprised myself when I noticed Anne in my Kant and Later Modern Philosophy class last Spring, and learned she was a philosophy major. And then I was more surprised when I discovered that she loved Von Hildebrand (this was before we both worked together for the Hildebrand Legacy Project).
You see, most people know Anne the extravert: the energetic and excited personality who is on the girl’s lacrosse team and is well-loved throughout Franciscan University’s social scene. To many, Anne is the first person to throw up her hands when “Africa” is played at a bar, or the girl who pulls a bottle of wine out of her backpack when you are sitting next to her on a long bus ride with your University on a study-abroad semester in Europe, or the girl who interrupts your “Meet the Writers” interview to show you a youtube video of the ritualistic Haka dance performed by the New Zealand rugby team, (pictured below, Anne Foster interrupting my “Meet the Writers” interview to show me a youtube video of the ritualistic Haka dance performed by the New Zealand rugby team).
And Anne is that girl, in fact she is unapologetically that girl. So perhaps you can imagine that some people would be surprised to learn that she is, in her own words, “a secret dork,” who takes solace in reading the lives of the saints, and anything by Von Hildebrand, and whose dream job is to one day be an incredible mother and wife. But after being initially surprised by this, as I at one time was, one might find there is another surprise about Anne; a surprise which I learned as recently as when I sat down to interview her for this article. That surprise is this: Anne the “secret dork” actually pre-exists Anne the extravert.
Anne grew up in a small town in Central Pennsylvania in a family that was passionately Catholic, amidst a diocese which was less than passionate about orthodox Catholicism. Her parents were very careful to raise their children with an exceptional understanding of their faith, so as to stand firm in spite of being surrounded by negative influences. She grew up reading and listening to spiritual greats and fighting for her beliefs on a daily basis. She also worked at a nursing home for extreme Alzheimer’s patients for seven years; this job has been among the most profound influences in her life, because at this job, Anne fell in love with people. When Anne came to Franciscan, she was pursuing an English major, but she quickly noticed that all the works that really meant something to her were written by philosophers, and this discovery led her to the Philosophy department. And there, especially in Von Hildebrand and the personalist movement, she found a study that was centered around her deepest passion: love for God and others.
What I have come to learn about Anne is that she is not a girl who is incredibly fun and cool who also studies philosophy and is Catholic. Anne is a girl who is incredibly fun and cool because she studies philosophy and is Catholic. Because that is what Christian personalism will do for you. A properly understood worldview centered around love and an appreciation for the beauty of life - which was given to Anne by her parents and was enriched through philosophical study - will result in contagious joy.
Anne told me that she hates personality tests because they always make her out to be the superficial socialite. They grasp her external behavior but are incapable of identifying her motivations. She also dislikes the idea of “love languages” (that everyone has a specific way of giving and receiving love) because love for her is reducible to the imitation of Christ. In her own words, “How about you don’t give me “words of affirmation” (one of the love languages), and I learn to be humble instead.”
Anne Foster is incapable of being classified by a personality test or a love language because there are few people who let their deepest convictions impact the way they live like she does. This is also why many people, including many of her own friends, probably don’t understand her. In a way, I think one of her secret hobbies provides a great metaphor for Anne as a whole.
For fifteen years Anne has studied the martial art form known as Tang Soo Doo, and she was recently promoted to the level of Master. She assured me quite emphatically that she would demolish me in hand to hand combat, and that there are no three guys that she would be afraid of. I am under the impression that she could probably take on the entire New Zealand Rugby team, even after they perform the Haka dance.
Anne’s secret hobby and her passionate love for her faith and people bear several resemblances. 1) They have been there for her whole life. 2) A lot of people don’t know about them. 3) Anne is too humble to let a lot of people know about them. 4) If you don’t quite know Anne when you hear about them your response would be, “Wait what did you say Anne Foster does?” but if you do, then you identify them as vintage Anne.
In a nutshell, Anne encapsulates what it means to be a Christian personalist. Her deep-rooted love of God, persons, value, and life overflow to a robust existence, that is often seen and noted without understanding the cause, but this does not bother her, because she is extremely humble.
In my opinion, Anne is an absolute gem of an individual, and her life could be an example to anyone. But, as a reader on our blog, I suppose what all of this means for you is that you should read more of her posts!