The DHS Commitment to Education Lives On        

 

Rose GauterrOver 300 years ago in a small seaport town in Brittany, France the first Daughters of the Holy Spirit lived a strong commitment to education.  Their effort and dedication impacted the lives of countless numbers of students.  Over the years thousands of Daughters have maintained this rich tradition of teaching ‘as Christ did’ wherever they have settled and/or been missioned.

While the trend in the USA has been for religious congregations to move away from the world of the classroom to involvement in various types of social work, we can still find a DHS presence in schools. Sister Rose M. Gauthier is one example of this living commitment to a proud tradition.

Rose was born in Greenfield Park, Canada where she grew to know the DHS in that region. She respected their classroom manner and felt called to follow in their footsteps. The young woman entered the order in 1965 and professed her first vows three years later in Putnam.

Sister is fully bi-lingual and sports degrees from Annhurst College and Eastern CT State University in French and Education respectively, degrees she has put to excellent use through the years serving school communities in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts specializing in early childhood education.

After an extended break from the classroom to minister as a pastoral assistant in Vermont, Rose recently returned to her first love and accepted a position as Art Teacher at St. Gabriel’s School in Windsor, CT where she oversees the Pre-K – 8 school’s art program.

ClassromBeing a true teacher at heart, Rose welcomes the challenges that such a broad spectrum of abilities and ages presents. She claims it gives her “the chance to see God’s creativity in so many kids...to help them develop their ideas and execute them...and to have the joy of turning kids on to learning”. She adds that working with such a variety of students reminds her that she too is still learning each time she steps into the classroom.

Sister, who is the only religious employed by St. Gabriel’s, finds this fact interesting and important in so far as it stretches her to be more aware of her role and the example she needs to provide of Christ present in the classroom in all subjects. She uses her teaching skills to guide the students in analyzing paintings, exercising critical thinking in discussing works of art and in studying the personal history of artists.The trick has been to use these techniques to reinforce student capabilities in spite of their grade levels. 

Because Sister Gauthier is considered a part-time teacher, she sometimes finds that there are not enough hours in any given day to prepare and present classes, to get to know each student as well as she would like to and to interact adequately with her colleagues.  She indeed appreciates the multicultural community at the school and deeply respects the fact that efforts are ongoing to maintain a spirit of openness, not only to St. Gabriel’s community but also to the whole world as exemplified in the school’s efforts to incorporate the teachings of Pope Francis’ Laudato Sí into the lives of the students.

Once a teacher, always a teacher the saying goes. In Sister Rose’s case it truly has become a personal tradition and her way of continuing the first mission of the DHS. She sees this as the place she is called to be right now. What the future holds is in God’s hands and still to be discerned and determined. For now, Sister believes firmly that her current experience,much like all her previous expeperiences in the classroom, connects her directly to the DHS spirit of 300 plus  years ago where openness to differences helps us to form community, the community of the future.

Sister Rose may be contacted at:  rosemgdhs@gmail.com    

 
 

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