Meet Chantelle Frie: Upsala woman strives to live faith with ‘no fear’ attitude

Chantelle Frie strives to live her life and her faith without fear. Whenever something needs to be done in her parish of St. Mary’s in Upsala, she isn’t afraid to step up and give it a try, something she said is an inspiration from her favorite saint, St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Chantelle Frie (Photo by Dianne Towalski / The Visitor)

“The incredible humility and the power she had is so amazing,” Frie said. “She gave everything up for God. She did the lowest of the low, things other people would not even consider doing.”

Frie’s “no fear” attitude has earned her a spot as the chair of the parish council at St. Mary Church in Upsala, where she also teaches confirmation and serves as a leader at many parish events.

“I’m just kind of a leader by nature,” she said. “If a leadership role needs to be taken, I’m not afraid to step into that. It’s gotten me into a lot of things. Part of my role is to fill roles that other people might not necessarily want and to try to empower other people to get involved.

“That’s what I love most about working with the confirmation students — trying to teach the kids that, yes, you can teach religious education, you can sing in the choir, you can come to adoration. My goal is empowering them to realize that we are all on the same team — we are all just trying to get to heaven together,” she said.

Father Jeremy Theis, pastor of St. Mary’s as well as St. Francis in St. Francis and St. Edward in Elmdale, nominated Frie for The Visitor’s Youth and Young Adult Award because he was impressed by her faithfulness to the universal church as well as her commitment to the parish. She is the award-winner for May.

“Chantelle is completely devoted to living out her faith,” Father Theis said. “She is reliable and consistent and has a heart of giving. She goes out of her way to give of herself, her time and talent. She is very faithful. She wants to do what the church desires.”

He also noted her enthusiasm for creating opportunities for parishioners from the other parishes in the cluster to come together.

“She’s always very present and welcoming, planning soup suppers or other hospitality events for parishioners to gather,” he added.

Frie, 33, teaches English to seventh- through 12th-grade students in Swanville. She also coaches the Swanville and Upsala speech teams and has directed a dozen plays and musicals in the two towns.

She enjoys working with the youth of the parish and has chaperoned numerous youth events, including Steubenville trips, National Catholic Youth Conference gatherings and a trip to World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013.

She said her main mission in life is to help others and especially those in her parish, where she was born and raised.

Her best advice is a spin off of a quote from actress Tina Fey, “Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.”

“Don’t be afraid to do anything,” Frie said. “Don’t be afraid to try new things. In any parish, things don’t magically happen. Somebody is behind the scenes making the magic happen. Don’t be afraid to jump in and do a little bit.”

More about Chantelle

Age: 33

Hometown: Upsala

Current parish: St. Mary, Upsala

Occupation: High school English teacher in Swanville

Book on your bedside: The bedside stack currently includes “The Magician’s Nephew” (“Chronicles of Narnia #1”), “The Lucky Few” by Heather Avis and “Minnesota 52” (a knitting book).

Movie you could watch over and over: “The Sound of Music”

Saint who inspires you: St. Teresa of Calcutta

Favorite app: Audible (I love audiobooks)

Prayer you love: Serenity Prayer or Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

In your spare time, you can be found: Traveling and crafting. Knitting is my favorite, but I also crochet, quilt, tat, sew and embroider.

A pizza isn’t perfect unless it has: extra cheese

If you could be a superhero or cartoon character, you would be: Someone who can fly

Favorite Bible verse or story: Romans 12:6-8: “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

You couldn’t drive by which restaurant without stopping: Cracker Barrel

Your favorite thing about being Catholic is: The universality of the church.

Let your voice be heard

Q: What is one gift you think you bring to the church?

A: Willingness to jump in wherever I am needed.

Q: What is one gift the church could give you?

A: I hope to keep seeing people who serve with joy. They rejuvenate me.

Q: If you had the opportunity to talk with Pope Francis, what would you tell him?

A: I think I would just see what message he has to share with me.


Nominate someone!

To nominate a youth or young adult — ages 15-39 — for the YAYA awards, visit and click on the “YAYA Awards” button to fill out the nomination form. Or call 320-251-3022 to have a form mailed to you.

YAYA nominees should be enthusiastic about their Catholic faith, set a good example for their peers, and be active in their parish.

Each month, a panel from The Visitor will select a winner, who will be featured in the print edition and online.

Author: Kristi Anderson

Kristi Anderson is the editor of The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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