Serving in all areas of education has been an important apostolate for the SOLT Sisters, whether it be in the traditional classroom, Montessori, religious education in the parish, or in some other fashion, and a manifestation of our charism from our first beginnings. Although currently we are small in number, about 110 professed Sisters, we serve in seven countries and in a large number of educational ministries. Everywhere from Kansas City to Belize to Papua New Guinea to the Philippines, teaching and handing on the faith is part of our daily lives.
One striking feature of many of the schools and missions where we serve is that prior to our arriving there, another religious community had been present and serving God’s people. We stand in a long line of witnesses, who have been steadfastly imparting the faith for many generations. Many times when religious communities can no longer remain in a particular location, they pray that the Father would send other laborers into His vineyard, and so often their prayers are heard. Even the beginning of our community can be traced back to a prayer of this kind.
Fr. John McHugh, SOLT, at the time young diocesan priest, was serving as pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Holman, New Mexico. At the end of the 1957 school year, Fr. John was informed that the Sisters of Loretto, who had faithfully served in the school for many years, would be leaving and shortly after that, the school building burned down. These two events and surely other stresses of parish life, prompted Fr. John to go into the church to kneel before the beautiful statue of our Blessed Mother and pray, “Mary, do something for this valley!”
Fr. John’s prayer was answered in an unexpected way. Within months, Fr. Flanagan arrived in Holman from Boston with a number of women, trained as teachers and aspiring to be sisters, to begin the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). The school was quickly rebuilt along with the convent and soon Immaculate Heart of Mary School was back up and running under the guidance of the SOLT Sisters. From there, SOLT has gone on to continue the good work that had been begun by others and to continue to hand on the faith in areas of deepest apostolic need.
We recognize that in being called to impart the faith, we are simply giving as a gift what we have received as a gift. (Matthew 10:8) So many individuals have come before us and handed on to us the beauty of the faith and we now have the obligation to continue to hand it on to the next generation. Each of us, as Catholics and Christians, are called to “go out and make disciples of all nations” and to teach them to observe all that He has commanded us (Matthew 28: 19, 20). May we have the courage to answer the call we have received. And may we know the fulfillment of His promise that He will be with us until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
SR. MEGAN MARY THIBODEAU, SOLT
Sr. Megan is originally from Monroe, CT and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a degree in history. She has been the General Sister Servant since 2013 and is currently living in Corpus Christi, Texas.