Sarah Cortez Claims Religious Heritage through Writing
Sarah Cortez has had many careers – accountant, teacher, police officer – but her most passionate pursuit in life is the one that she remembers beginning at just five years old: writer.
Passion for Literature Started Young
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Cortez remembers engaging with literature from a young age, stemming from the handmade books that her mother created for her when she was barely old enough to read. From there, she has carried her life experiences and deeply entrenched Catholic faith forward into her own writing career, penning 13 books and winning numerous awards for her work.
Now, she’s hoping to bring that passion to a new generation of Catholic writers who, she hopes, will spark an artistic renaissance for the 2000-year-old faith. Cortez is the founder of the Fearless Catholic Writing Camp, a one-week boot camp for kids between fifth through twelfth grade to hone their creative skills while crafting works that are inspired by the grace of God.
Forging a Catholic Character Through Art
It’s identity that Cortez hopes to develop the most. Though protestant writers like John Bunyan and C.S. Lewis have dominated the Christian literary landscape, great Catholic authors like G.K. Chesterton and Thomas Aquinas provide a rich heritage for modern-day writers to draw from. Their work may be seen as primarily academic, but who can forget about J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Catholic and writer of the world-famous Lord of the Rings books? Students of the Fearless Catholic Literary Writing Camp will step into his (and others’) footsteps by blending a deep religious ancestry and developing composition skills to reach out to the face of God.
Ask Cortez what she enjoys most about putting on these types of camps, and she responds with the interaction that she sees between the faculty and students. All the teachers at her writing camp are talented Catholic writers themselves as well as professional educators, and their passion for helping the next generation of writers is obvious to anyone who sits in one of her classes. And even though her role as president forces her to take more of a managerial stance towards the camp as a whole, she still makes time to teach the students personally. Once an aspiring writer herself, she understands the hesitancy and anxiety that can come with developing artistic talent. Because of that, she can speak to the students on their level.
Transferring Life Skills to the Written Page
Every part of her life has helped Cortez mold the camp in a special way. From her time overseeing complex projects in corporate America, to serving others during her 24 years as a police officer, and finally, as a professional author in today’s difficult marketplace, Cortez brings a unique eye not just to her camp, but to her nonprofit organization: the Catholic Literary Arts. She wants young artists to see themselves as part of a deep Catholic tradition, and to use that to develop their own creativity and spirituality.
Life is a process of continually growing, according to Cortez, and one that she continues to work on every day. Her art reflects this attitude. She believes strongly that whatever goals we have for ourselves are eclipsed by the goals that God has for us, and that only by relying fully on God for our daily bread can we hope to be our boldest self. Through our writing, through our art, and especially through our lives, we can help others see the face of the Almighty as well.