Every year on the first Friday of October, the teachers, staff, and administrators of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Manchester gather for a day of formation at the Grappone Center in Concord. I look forward to this day every year as it is a chance to be inspired and to be present with our colleagues from around the state. It amazes me how many teachers we have as we fill a huge room.
The morning began with donuts and coffee followed by morning prayer led by Bishop Libasci. We then heard a presentation by Sr. Mary Agnes Dombroski, DMML of St. Charles Home in Rochester. St. Charles' Home is a foster home for children who are temporarily away from their parents. The sisters who work at the home are saints among us and are well known for their running program (which gave them the nickname The Running Nuns). Sr. Mary Agnes spoke of childhood trauma, brain development, and how we can respond to children suffering from trauma. It was a very insightful presentation.
Bishop Libasci then celebrated Mass for us which was followed by a lovely lunch. The day concluded with a wonderful presentation by Prof. Gary Bouchard of Saint Anselm College. Prof. Bouchard talked about his experience as a Catholic school parent and spoke whimsically about his children's experiences at the now closed Villa Augustina school in Goffstown and Bishop Brady High School in Concord. Now that his children are older and their elementary school is closed, he seemed emotional. The whole talk struck a chord with me as, like Prof. Bouchard, I am a Catholic school graduate (K-college), Catholic school parent (St. Louis School in Lowell), and of course a Catholic school teacher. One thing he said really caught my attention: "Are we teaching our subject or teaching our students?"
It was a wonderful day amongst wonderful colleagues doing wonderful work for the Lord.