Duhawk Dozen | Katie Pyles (’13)
Katie (Yockey) Pyles (’13) has worn many hats in her lifetime: wife, mom, student-athlete, social work major, youth minister, and Duhawk. Her faith has been the common thread tying all those aspects of her life together.
During her time at Loras, Katie was involved in many campus organizations and spiritual life. However, it wasn’t until one specific retreat that she had gone to where she truly felt called back to her faith. “Going on the Antioch retreat that Loras held really brought me back into my spirituality.” Following the retreat, she continued her spiritual growth including a service trip to McKee, Kentucky. “I was so blessed to have gone,” she started. “It taught me how to listen, and in every step since then I have tried to listen first.” It was through her service trips, and similar experiences surrounding spiritual growth, that Katie has consistently kept peoples’ belonging at the forefront of her work. “Once people feel they belong, they can start to believe.” She credits her Loras experiences provided her time as a student for her ability to show love and compassion in all that she does.
After graduating, Katie knew she wanted to help serve others, and after much prayer and discernment – she saw countless classmates serving various social groups, and she felt a calling to help others grow in their spirituality. She continued her education at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, in Ohio, where she received her Master of Arts in Theological Studies. Upon graduating, she started working as the Director of Education and Youth Ministry for Our Lady of Victory Parish, where she was able to combine her faith and love of helping others to impact countless generations of young people navigating their own faith journeys.
In 2018, Katie and her husband found out that they were expecting their third child. What started as an exciting and already emotional time, was changed when their son, Francis “Frankie,” was diagnosed with Trisomy 18. At a moment filled with uncertainty and fear, Katie recalls the impact of her community. “It was other people that kept us moving,” Katie remembers. “There were so many people from my time at Loras praying for me, taking out my garbage cans, and thinking of me – that is what made it possible to analyze what we needed to do.” Even through the hardest of times, Katie and her family were able to celebrate life, utilize resources from the people around them, and be held up by their community members. She became very vocal in her grief journey publicly and it was her openness that touched others, including Molly Devine (’13), who rallied in support of Katie with other Duhawks. It was the Bible, Katie recalled, being what helped her as she maneuvered a new emotional landscape. “God does not rejoice in our deaths,” she shared. “He received my son when the world was not equipped to help him live.” She didn’t downplay the sorrows and the difficulties of the time, but she understood them and accepted them with an open heart. “Clinging to my faith helped me the most during that time.”
Despite all of the trials of daily life, Katie focuses on the positive and the people that make her life so special. “I was just at a retreat for work,” she recalls. “Ironically, the woman leading the retreat was a fellow Duhawk.” Not only has she seen Duhawks “in the wild” in her life after graduation, but she recalls that it always makes her “feel like home.”
Katie truly embodies the Loras Dispositions in all that she does. Her ability to bring faith and joy to the forefront of her daily life as well as her tight-knit Loras network is what makes her April’s Duhawk Dozen.