In love with life…and the transformative power of learning

In love with lifeby Julia Shideler

These days, most of my time is spent giving lessons at school or preparing for them! I am teaching 12th grade Biology and Geology at two local high schools and trying to improve their education with extra activities. I was very happy to read Pope Francis’ latest Encyclical, Laudato Si´, and discovered there is much I could pass on to my students as we delve into topics such as ecology, genetics, sustainable development, global climate change, our relationship with God and all creatures of the Earth. They enjoy learning from the Pope and I feel it’s giving them a new way to integrate their faith and relations to Earth.

On July 16, I coordinated a Geology Contest held between 3 local high schools. Our theme was inspired by the Pope’s message and so we made a banner which read, ‚In order to live in a better world, we want sustainable development . There was also Speech Contest, by which I was able to get a sense of my students’ own understanding and hopes. It was such a rewarding event—and the fruit of collaboration between many people! I was also able to meet new teachers and share my Geology lessons with them. I made contact with a local, Portuguese-run school and trust that our relationship will grow. Besides this, I enjoy the Peace and Leadership Seminars, leading Liturgies of the Word and spending time at home. It’s been a joy to have Juana—and I’m grateful for her presence. So, what else can I say? I love life and being on this journey! Peace and blessings to each of you.