I am Sister Stefanie MacDonald a Catholic Benedictine Sister of St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island, Illinois who teaches preschool at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy in East Moline. Before I became a Sister, I taught Kindergarten at St. Pius X School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I love teaching … but almost didn’t become a teacher.
I have a learning disability. Although school was hard for me, believe it or not, I’m glad I have this disability. It has helped me in my education ministry tremendously!
I believe my disability has made me a much better teacher. I used “differential instruction” long before it became the hot topic. Being a learner who always needed different and even unique instructional methods, I naturally use them with my students.
My personal story includes becoming a Sister, of course. Back when I was in Cedar Rapids, I taught all day and volunteered at my parish at night. I sang in the choir and work with adults with intellectual disabilities. I enjoyed being with my friends, and had a nice apartment. But I began to feel something was missing.
I had thought 15 years earlier of becoming a Sister, but hadn’t felt drawn to any of the communities I visited. I even stayed with the Franciscans for a year. But they didn’t live together. I didn’t feel it was any different from living alone, which I ended up doing.
At 35 years old, I once again felt the nudge. So I started looking at communities again. I realized that I needed a blend of living together and going out for ministry. My Benedictine monastic community turned out to be the perfect balance of work and life for me. I became a fully professed Sister last summer at the age of 40.
I’m starting this blog for a couple of reasons. First, I’d like to offer any wisdom I may have gained over the years to other teachers who may be faced with challenges I’ve encountered. Second, I’d love to connect with single Catholic teachers who may, like me, be looking for something more in life than work, parish activity and a nice house can offer.
If you want more info than this blog offers, feel free to email me any time. I’ll be very happy to talk!