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words of learning…

I learned this week about the power of acceptance. I’m talking about the acceptance of others, as in the sacredness of their personal stories, and also about the acceptance of ourselves and the persons God created us to be. The nine students who made up our class represented a wide spectrum of experience and personality. I came up with a word for each of them.

Rich – how well suited is his name – is blessed with a depth that came to the forefront immediately. When he spoke, his words were well thought out and articulate and spoke volumes about his ministry and beliefs. His word is Depth.

Mary Catherine was my tour guide for the week. It was evident that she is an eldest daughter in her birth family, as she kept us organized and in line. Her pride in St Louis was obvious. The gentleness of this quiet caregiving sister was so appreciated during the week. Her word is Mother.

John was one of the Chaplains in the group. His path to ministry came later in life. It took me a bit to see the gentle soul that he guarded behind his cautious exterior. His word is Seeker.

Katie was someone I immediately identified with. Many people have an impression of fear in her careful sharing of her thoughts and impressions. I was blessed with the opportunity to realize that her real self is best represented by the word Strength.

Robby is in ministry with students at SLU and his care for those he helps is clear. He is an incredible example of hope for the Church. His word is Compassion.

Dan was another person with whom I immediately bonded. This retired military Chaplain is now a Parish priest to some really lucky Catholics. I am thrilled that we will be in the same class next semester. I look forward to getting to know him even better. The expression on his face lifted all of us during the week. His word is Joy.

Karen was the other online student from my class last semester. We felt like we knew one another before we met at the airport a week ago. What an incredible faith she possesses! This beautiful extroverted Texan’s word is Light.

Lucia has a voice that exudes a rich experience of intelligence and faith. I “met” Lucia last semester and became familiar with seeing her in the class recordings. She was one of the locals who assisted Mary Catherine in acclimating the out-of-towners to the Gateway City. I was lucky to spend a good deal of in and out-of-class time with this beautiful peaceful woman who is so open to God’s call. Her word is Expectant.

These Christian leaders are an inspiration to me. I anticipate an amazing and fruitful journey with them over the next year of our Practicum and Vocational Discernment.

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