Teaching can be grueling work, but it feels so worth it when you see the effect you can have in changing a child’s life.
Even more inspiring is influencing a young person toward goodness and holiness. Teacher Katherine Bogner wants to remind other Catholic educators and mentors of how important this work is.
Bogner is a Catholic school teacher and Director of Religious Education. Teaching children about our Catholic faith is her specialty, and she’s got lots of great ideas for how to do so on her blog, Look to Him and Be Radiant.
But the message she’s sharing this time isn’t for kids. It’s for their teachers and mentors.
Most great saints had a mentor or teacher who helped them become the amazing people they turned out to be.
While prepping for a retreat for high schoolers, Bogner wanted to make something encouraging to hang up in the chaperone hospitality room, a little message to thank the priests, youth group leaders, overnight chaperones, kitchen workers, and retreat team.
So she printed the follow message and hung it on a bulletin board:
The Church entrusts to young people the task of proclaiming to the world the joy which springs from having met Christ. Dear friends, allow yourselves to be drawn to Christ; accept his invitation and follow him. Go and preach the Good News that redeems (cf. Mt 28:19); do it with happiness in your hearts and become communicators of hope in a world which is often tempted to despair, communicators of faith in a society which at times seems resigned to disbelief, communicators of love in daily events that are often marked by a mentality of the most unbridled selfishness.
Thank you for serving the youth of our Church. Who knows, you might be leading, teaching, mentoring, and praying for the next Karol, Dominic, Kizito, Chiara, Augustus, or Therese! Your presence here is a gift, and we are grateful for you!
This is such an inspiring and important message that can encourage Catholic educators to give our all and push through the hard days, knowing the eternal value of our work.
To reinforce the point, Bogner printed photos of great saints and their amazing mentors, and hung these around the message. It’s a beautiful display, and you can find it here if you would like to print it, too.
Besides sharing this idea on her blog, Bogner took to Instagram to share the message there too. She wrote in the caption,
Do you know the story of Ven. Jan Tyranowski? After being told by a priest that holiness was possible, even for a single layman like himself, he started taking his path to Heaven seriously. WWII was raging in his home country of Poland and after losing many priests to arrest, Jan was asked to lead the youth ministry at his parish. He shared his passion for the pursuit of holiness and had such an impact that 11 of his young men went on to priestly and religious vocations — including Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope St. John Paul II. Jan is the one who guided JPII during that tumultuous time, encouraging his prayer life and study, introducing him to the works of St. John of the Cross and St. Louis de Montfort, which were foundational to the spirituality later witnessed by the whole world.
How many saints had a parent, teacher, youth minister, godparent, or catechist who encouraged them on their walk with Christ? We who serve in that mentor role hope and pray that we clearly point the way to Heaven, maybe impacting the next Karol, Thérèse, Chiara, Kizito, Augustus, or Dominic.
I had the chance to catch up with her about this wonderful message she’s sharing. She told me:
I was inspired to create this resource to remind parents, teachers, youth ministers, and other mentors that we are on the path to holiness alongside the children in our lives. Jan Tyranowski inspired Karol Wojtyla, Louis and Zelie Martin guided Thérèse, and John Bosco taught Dominic Savio but they were all called to be saints. That eternal impact of living boldly for Christ is something that can never be far from the mind of a Catholic educator!
Amen to that! Thank you for this inspiring message, Katherine, and we pray for these saints’ intercession for educators everywhere.