Reflecting 2020: My Fiat Year

Reflecting 2020: My Fiat Year

By Jenny Saloio (Cohort 7)

At the very beginning of 2020 I chose the word fiat as my word of the year. Fiat in Latin can be translated to the words “Let it be done,” which Mary spoke to the Angel Gabriel when he appeared to her at the Annunciation. When I chose that word, I was about to enter into my final semester of college, and so much of my future seemed unknown. I wanted to learn to lean into the joy of trusting fully in God’s plan for my life, just as Mary did with her fiat. I remember realizing that I had absolutely no idea where I would be or what I would be doing a year from that point, and that terrified me. Needless to say, moving to New York City in the midst of a pandemic was definitely not what I had in mind. But if there’s one thing I can say through all of the craziness of this year, it is that I have been given plenty of opportunities to put my word of the year into practice. 

Jenny in New York City’s Central Park.

When I said yes to being a Seton Teaching Fellow, I did not know what this year would look like. I thought that the world would be back to “normal” by the time the school year started. As the year unfolded and I realized that the world would still be mostly shut down, I had to decide whether or not I would keep commitment to this mission. Such a huge part of me wanted to let it go because it wasn’t going to be exactly as I imagined it would be when I signed up. I felt that it would be hard to make connections with students over zoom and that my being there would not really make much of a difference. When I brought these feelings to prayer, I was repeatedly reminded of the word I had chosen for this year. When Mary said “Let it be done,” she did not have any conditions to go along with those words. I am sure she did not know exactly what her life would look like one year from saying those words, but that is part of what made her fiat so beautiful. Mary’s fiat inspired me to let go of my own expectations and accept God’s will for the upcoming year, no conditions attached. 

Jenny with her North Bronx on the front steps of the convent that they live in.

Now that I am here—almost exactly one year from when I originally chose fiat as my word of the year—I have been given the opportunity to reflect on everything. Nothing about this year is what I ever would have wanted it to be. However, the Lord worked in my fears, doubts, and insecurities and made this year exactly what I needed it to be. I truly feel that I get to see the hand of God in my work here in the Bronx every single day, and I work alongside people who love me and challenge me on my walk with Christ. I am not saying that this mission is not hard, because it is in a lot of ways. What I am saying is that inside all of the discomforts and unknowns there is a pool of joy that is beyond what I ever could have imagined. This is the joy and peace that comes with knowing that you are precisely where God wants you to be. If there is one thing that I have learned this year, it is that the world can throw literally anything as us. When it does, we can either become consumed by anxiety, or we can simply say “let it be done” and trust that God has a plan for every wild thing thrown our way.

Jenny with her Community and another STF community in the North Bronx.

About the Author:

Jenny graduated from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied Early Childhood Education. She currently serves as a Seton Teaching Fellow at Brilla Pax Elementary School, working with Kindergarten during the day and teaching Kindergarten catechism after school at El Camino. She blesses her students and our mission by her authentic sweetness and gentleness of spirit.