Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life

The following is a story written by Mary Ann Otto, Stewardship Director for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

A Model Stewardship Teacher: Sister Esther Joy

I remember her vividly. As I look through the eyes of a Christian steward, I could see why my teacher, Sister Esther Joy perfectly inspired the young students in her care. Second grade was her specialty and there were about fifty of us.

Sister Esther was able to use her God-given talents as a teacher. Her joy and faith were passed on to us. It seemed like we each had a place and school was an experience of Jesus as well as a place for learning.

I believe that Sister Esther was an expert at time management because we accomplished so much that year. We honed our skills in the three “R’s” (Reading, writing and arithmetic), were perfectly prepared for First Penance and First Communion and played games to remember the answers to the questions in the Catechism. We also prayed the rosary in Latin every day and filled our rice bowls during Lent.

She was with us at Mass each day and encouraged Saturday participation where she would have her classroom open and we could work on crafts after Mass.

Sister Esther was also a woman who loved music and literature. She would encourage us to finish our projects and had us all singing as she played the violin. At the end of the day she would read aloud a chapter from a book. I remember “Heidi” as being one of my favorites.

This lovely woman was fifty-three years old when I encountered her as a second grade student.

It was the sparkle in her eye, her love and her many gifts that touched me so deeply. She died on February 22, 1989. She was 79 years old, taught for 40 years and had just celebrated her 60th anniversary as a Racine Dominican. Amazing!

I would invite everyone to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life by going to the website of your favorite religious community. Find out how you could tell one of your own stories and thank them for how they have impacted your life. No doubt, they deserve our gratitude and we deserve the joy of remembering.