By Katie Beckmann Mahon, Communications Manager
At a time when distance learning is becoming the new normal for students and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the spotlight has been shining on the impact of teachers and staff at schools around the world.
Several of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, including Sr. Theresa Maillet, OP, have spent many years in education ministry serving students in both public and private schools.
Sr. Theresa has ministered as a Teaching Assistant at Felix Festa Middle School in West Nyack, New York, since 2008.
At Felix Festa, a school with nearly 2,000 students, Sr. Theresa’s ministry has led her to interact with various students in different capacities.
From the Achievement Center to the Testing Center to working with ELA students to helping out in the library and assisting with teaching English classes, Sr. Theresa’s ministry at Felix Festa has been nothing short of a fulfilling experience.
Sr. Theresa shared, “I feel that this is my ideal ministry because I get to surround myself with teachers who are so dedicated to our students. I also love seeing the children learn every day.”
Before Felix Festa, Sr. Theresa ministered at several schools and educational sites, both near and far to her Congregation in Blauvelt, New York.
“My first ministry assignment was teaching first-graders in Daytona Beach, Florida. That was quite exciting. I eventually ended up ministering in Ormond Beach, Florida, then at Christ the King in the Bronx. That was an eye-opener for me because I had never really been in the Bronx or New York City. After Christ the King, I spent a year in Jamaica, West Indies, then was asked to minister at St. Margaret’s in Pearl River, New York, as well as St. John’s in Goshen, New York.”
After her ministry at St. John’s, Sr. Theresa would then minister at the Assumption Academy in Emerson, New Jersey, for nearly 14 years.
When she left the Assumption Academy, Sr. Theresa initially thought that she would not minister in education again. However, an interaction with one of her fellow Sisters led her to pursue an opportunity at Felix Festa in 2008.
“God bless her soul, Sr. Margie Mullens. She was ministering at Felix Festa at the time when I was looking for a new ministry, and she helped me get an interview here. I’ve been at Felix Festa ever since, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Throughout her years in ministry, one of Sr. Theresa’s hopes has been to raise awareness about Women Religious and how they help others.
Sr. Theresa recalled a fond memory at her ministry, when one of her students, a young Jewish boy, came up to her at school, shook her hand and said thank you for working for God.
“I was touched by that moment.”
Along with raising awareness about the impact of Women Religious, Sr. Theresa hopes that she has positively impacted her students and colleagues.
“I hope my students know to believe in themselves and that they can do whatever they want to do in life and to treat others kindly. I hope my colleagues always know that I keep them in my prayers and that I am very grateful for them.”