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Time for the Long View: The Blessing of Summer

To Teach as Jesus Did:

Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

July 1, 2013


“Time for the Long View:  The Blessing of Summer”

Many years ago, while I was still in the early years of my preparation to become a teacher, I came upon an anonymous poem about teaching from Our Little Messenger, a popular Catholic publication for Catholic school children and their teachers in the 1950’s and 60’s.   Since the time I found it, I’ve carried that poem with me:  a tattered, faded, but still-relevant reminder of what it means to give nothing less than everything.

During this slower, sweeter time of July, I share that reflection with you here, trusting that all of us who serve in the ministry of Catholic education—teachers, staff members, administrators, pastors, parents, parish leaders, and community members—might recognize something of our own hearts in its simple expression of commitment, sacrifice, humility, hope, and untiring love:

                        Spring is my winter,
                                    and I am used, my spirit dry.

                        I am the fuel feeding the frenzy of another generation,
                                    futures not my own.

                        I am a teacher.

                       But what am I when they are gone?

I have been spent seeking, seeking them out—
          these students--
                     quickening their thirsts and hunger for the true
                              while saying,

  “Suffer my humanity
                        and learn to sort me out from what you are and must become.”

I am a teacher
           whose life and labor are ill-defined
                        and frozen fast together.

I need to rest, but what am I when they are gone?

I am a teacher.

I need to rest and have no choice
                        but to resume my quest for truth--
                                  to satiate my hungers and my thirst.

Soon again a call to fuel their fires.
I need to rest,
            but when I am consumed,
                              I am renewed.

I am a teacher.                                               


A blessed summer and season of renewal to all!

Kathleen A. Cepelka, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools

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