TEACH A MOTHER, CHANGE THE WORLD
“Women in time to come will do much.”
– Mary Ward, founder of the Sisters of Loretto
At the Abbey
Indeed, the training during my 5 years at the Abbey was the springboard based on the premise that we girls could do anything to which we set our minds and hearts.
The Abbey was my haven grounded in the quietude of the chapel, the solitude of the music rooms, the sharing of our deepest thoughts, trials and tribulation as well as aspirations huddled on the floor of the locker rooms after hours and during official retreats. Balancing life there was also the call to action with extra-curricular activities: sports, band, social activism through Action ’71, weekly visits to serve meals at the Good Shepherd Refuge and a year as Social Rep. on Student Council.
It was Mme Bischoff’s unique style of teaching that enamoured me to French in my final years, so much so that I decided to teach the language for two very rewarding years in Flesherton, Ontario and I remain in contact with my students of nearly 40 years ago. Valuing and nurturing relationships, familial or professional is another lesson learned at the Abbey. Staff and students continue to remark to this day about the special solidarity of our class of ’75.
Responsibility was instilled in us at the Abbey and so I left teaching to join the family business (Property Management) while simultaneously starting my own family. Social responsibility was a pillar of thought during high school which led me to use the business as a means to a greater end, to the greater good for our human family
For over a decade now, I have been involved with a Canadian charity which works to improve the lives of the desperately poor in the slums of Bangladesh and Pakistan – through education.
Amarok Society (check it out at amaroksociety.org!) teaches illiterate mothers to become neighbourhood teachers. Each school teaches 25 women who in turn in their hutment or hovel teach 5 children with no other opportunity for school …in effect, micro-schools. Women, now leaders in their communities, are doing things they never imagined they could do – starting businesses, teaching peers, mitigating conflicts, standing up for rights to authorities. Attitudes in the communities have changed. These women are respected. No longer is early marriage or dowry acceptable. Boys know it’s normal for girls to be educated. Amarok Society’s first child “graduates” are now in public high school or university. The mothers are invested in their families and have come to do much. Thanks to Amarok Society I was honoured to receive the Mary Ward Award.
Currently I am semi-retired, or as I prefer to say, redirected, now living en pleine nature at what used to be the cottage for 25 years but with a pieds à terre in Toronto – the best of both worlds.
I am most blessed and equally grateful to have been taught there is no limit to what we can do, especially from a place of love.