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In the latest episode of “Charisms for Catholics,” host Jill Simons and guest Theresa Zoe Williams explore the spiritual gift or charism of teaching, exemplified by several incredible saints. Through their dialogue, they uncover how these saints exemplified this charism and how they can serve as both inspirations and intercessors for us today.

Saint John Bosco: A Model of Love and Mentorship

Saint John Bosco is renowned for his innovative approach to education, which centered on love rather than punishment. Theresa highlights Bosco’s “Salesian preventative system,” which focuses on growth rather than focusing on failings. This system not only fostered a nurturing learning environment but also proved its effectiveness as it fostered future saints such as Dominic Savio and Luigi Orione. Bosco’s method of engaging with his students, filled with humor and humanity, allowed him to connect with them deeply, earning their trust and respect. This deeply relational approach marks Bosco as an outstanding educator whose life was a testament to the charism of teaching.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton: Architect of America’s Parochial Schools

Another towering figure in the realm of education is Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Theresa points out that Seton was not just a teacher but a pioneer who laid the foundation of the parochial school system in America. Her visionary approach led to the establishment of the first Catholic girls’ school and ultimately, the widespread parochial system that many benefit from today. Seton’s work underscores the profound impact organizational structures can have in supporting education, showing that teaching extends beyond the classroom into the systems that uphold educational values.

Saint Anthony of Padua: A Lesser-Known Educator

While often recognized for his preaching and as the finder of lost objects, Saint Anthony of Padua also possessed a strong charism of teaching. His depth of scriptural knowledge and ability to convey this to others was so compelling that he was entrusted by Saint Francis of Assisi to educate fellow friars. This role, although less celebrated, was crucial in the formation of clergy within the Franciscan order and highlights the diverse applications of the charism of teaching.

Empowering Each Other Through Our Gifts

The discussion wraps up on a profound note, emphasizing how different charisms can complement each other and enhance communal growth. The friendship between Saint Francis and Saint Anthony serves as a compelling example of how diverse gifts can coalesce to foster mutual enrichment and deeper faith practice.
In “Charisms for Catholics,” listeners are reminded of the powerful impact that arises when individuals harness their spiritual gifts in service to others. These stories of saints not only enrich our understanding but also encourage us to foster our own charisms. As Jill and Theresa suggested, embracing these gifts can significantly influence both our communities and our personal spiritual journeys.