An Open Letter to My School of Community
Carolina shares her gratitude for her School of Community
Dear Partners in the Struggle,
I am writing to thank you full-heartedly for the last few months, hoping to share what makes this brief moment on Zoom every week, often the most crucial hour of my daily life. I understand that the audience is not just our beautiful crew of 12 or so, but I offer this letter to all our friends across the country at a time when the Movement is asking us to recommit to the most crucial gestures – among them faithfulness to the School of Community. This love letter is an indication of what keeps me anchored to Christ, and consequently, to a 7pm Zoom on Tuesday nights.
Thank you for making it unconscionable to talk about anything but what we actually experienced and tested out in the week from the text. My first SOC with you all stunned me. I immediately understood from André’s summary at the beginning of the hour that we are meant to honor and dig deep into text together, and interrogate it through our lives. Not a soul philosophized about their random interpretation of the text. You all committed full-heartedly to being in dialogue: with the author, with your souls, and very movingly, with each other. Fr. Luca, I’m also grateful to you and your decision to listen first, and never offer sermons. You’re here with us, as one of us, doing the work too.
Thank you for keeping me accountable to my own soul. The act of preparing for this small hour, just doing the examination of myself, and my week –knowing that we would have just one hour to say/listen to the most essential things, brought me back into dialogue with myself. Thank you for being the place I can bring my whole person to be corrected, to heal, and to come back to my very difficult job feeling cared for, loved. It reminds me of what my students, my faculty, and my families deserve. I’m humbly attempting to give what I’m receiving, even if I’m not always as generous as you are towards me. God put me in my job as a school leader, but you all are making sure I show up and keep accepting the offer. You may not know this, but a few months into our time together, the internal and external dialogue with all of you brought me to a confessional, and slowly enough back to Mass – as I missed the dialogue with the Father too.
Thank you for being your most ridiculously unfiltered, unusual group of humans I see in my daily life. The spectrum of folks who come to the table is wide – we have folks in NY, NH, OH, NE, and in every corner of Boston (which given our New England provincialism, might as well be different states). And you best believe if someone doesn’t show up, you’ll get a text in the first 5 minutes saying, “Hey, where are you? Are you coming?” Thank you for making me feel like someone’s always waiting for me, that my being there matters to myself, and to my crew.
Finally, I want to thank you for the conversations that carry beyond the confines of the hour. We hold each other’s questions, problems, concerns, or even unresolved problems in the text. We carry it forward like in a real school, with continuity and desire to grapple with a juicy problem over time – even when there’s no clean resolution from one week to the next. Monica and Jenn, you care about my questions like they’re your own. How do you do that? You have more children than I do!
Our School has such a radical capacity to simply care, that I’ve started inviting near strangers who have become dear friends, and close friends so that we don’t become strangers to one another in what matters most. Thank you for all the growth so far, and for all the patience with me (in advance). I’ll see you all tomorrow!
Carolina, Boston, MA