Benedictine Women Service Corps (BWSC), an outreach of Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, Minn., invites College of Saint Benedict alumnae to join the monastic community in deepening relationships that support justice and service in a new location. Volunteers strive to live out the Benedictine Gospel values that were formed during their undergraduate education in a capacity that will challenge them personally, spiritually and professionally.
Can you believe it’s nearly the end of December already? I sure can’t. I also can’t believe that I’m actually surviving this winter. My body has become so used to the deathly temperatures of Minnesota that it’s not used to Virginia’s “freezing” temperatures of 40-50 degrees. It’s the eve of Christmas Eve as I write this and the monastery has been absolutely busy. Yesterday evening the sisters had a tree trimming party and we all indulged in tons of treats. There was peppermint bark, cookies, eggnog, butter pecan melts and CHOCOLATE! You can never go wrong with chocolate. During this holiday season I have so much to be grateful for-both good and bad. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in Bristow. And I am grateful for the moral lessons my students teach me.
I absolutely love working at BEACON. BEACON is one of the monastery’s ministries that provides service to immigrants who want to learn English. I didn’t think that I would enjoy working at BEACON as much as I do. It really brings me joy when I see my students actually understanding the lessons I teach. The English language is pretty difficult to learn. And it’s even more difficult to teach. Last night I taught my low intermediate class about the simple past tense. While I was teaching my lesson, I couldn’t help but think of how complicated the English language is. But somehow my students always seem to smile and come to class with an eagerness to learn. It’s inspiring to see the effort my students put forth on a daily basis. Many of them drive 30-45 minutes just to come to class. I had one student who drove from Maryland three days out of the week just so that he could learn English. That in itself is determination and perseverance at its finest! If I’m being completely honest, when I attended CSB, I had trouble being on time for my classes. So being a witness to many great individuals literally going out of their way to achieve a goal makes me want to do better. It makes me want to work harder to ensure that I am being the best English teacher that I can be.
What I love about teaching is that it is helping mold me into a better person. I used to tell people that I could NEVER be a teacher because my philosophy was if you don’t understand something, then you just don’t understand. And I don’t have the time or energy to help you understand. In teaching my students, I have gained an enormous amount of patience because when I see my students giving their all, I can’t but help feel an obligation to give my all and help them reach their goal of being able to speak English.
I hope you all had a merry Christmas and that you have a happy New Year!
Until next time,