During the spring semester of my senior year of college, I spent many weeks writing applications and cover letters to every and any local school with an opening in my licensure area. Throughout this process, I felt no peace. At every turn, there was just something in my spirit that wouldn’t settle. When I came across yet another post from STF on a Sunday morning in March, I reacted reflexively with my own plan: “God, I don’t need that, I know what I’m doing.” At that moment, pushing back on God, something changed in me. My heart finally opened to Him, and I felt Him gently say “No, you really don’t.”
For the first time, I listened to that nudge.
This special reflection comes from Cohort 9 STF Anna Stevenson. Anna, who studied English and education at the University of Dallas, shares some of the hard-earned fruits of her first year as a middle school teacher. Are you new to teaching? Wondering what education and mission work might have in store for you? See the eight lessons Anna has to share with new teachers in this blog post.
This reflection is from Anna Donnelly, a Cohort 9 Seton Teaching Fellow. Anna served in our founding Catholic school, Romero Academy at Resurrection, where she taught Catechism and literacy blocks. We are blessed to share that Anna will be joining her community members as one of the founding teachers at our second school in Cincinnati, Ohio: Romero Academy at Annunciation. In this meditative reflection on grace and the movement of God in our lives, Anna shares the trust she has in the Lord and the mystical ways in which He works through us.
I first found out about Seton Teaching Fellows over three years ago. The aspect of the mission that grabbed my heart and pulled my attention more than anything else was hearing stories about the beautiful children who would receive the Sacraments and be brought into the Church through our Catechism classes: El Camino. What was even more inspiring is the fact that children would go home and bring this gift to their families—our disciples bring prayer to the home and have even asked their parents to be baptized and join the Church. When I encountered this reality it gave me chills (and still does to this day).
While I was yet discerning and preparing for my possible year as a Seton Teaching Fellow, I distinctly remember reading that Fellows “live simply” and instantly panicking. There are a number of things that inspire a life of simplicity—detachment from money, vastly reducing your possessions, seeking necessity over luxury, placing people before comfort—and to a young person considering entry into the professional world this doesn’t often seem attractive. Despite concerns around self-denial, I was drawn to the mission of the New Evangelization and I said yes to Seton Teaching Fellows. I then braced myself for what I thought would be a year of discomfort and—reluctantly, I admit—left half of my wardrobe behind as I packed up to move to the Bronx.
The formation and education I received throughout life taught me the head knowledge of the Catholic faith. It was a gift—a valuable and important thing for a young man to have. However, it was an incomplete education because I lacked the heart knowledge which directs our faculties in charitable ways; it wasn’t until I became a Seton Teaching Fellow that I really started working towards the gift of Charity.