|Beth LeBlanc was a co-worker at Overbrook Academy in Warwick, RI for two years.|
April 30, 2008. In the following interview, Beth LeBlanc shares
some of the insights she has gained from her two
years a co-worker serving at Overbrook Academy in Warwick,
Why did you decide to be a coworker? Was
it an easy decision?
From the time I
was in ECYD I knew that one day I would
become a coworker. Three of my sisters were coworkers in
Monterrey, Chicago, and Dallas, and the fourth by all means
would have been a coworker were it not for the
fact that she became consecrated instead. Nonetheless, as graduation rolled
around and I began to receive calls from different colleges
my resolution wavered. I began to think that I was
only becoming a coworker because it was the norm in
my family and, like all teenagers, I felt the need
to break out of the mold. But a conversation with
Fr Lorenzo Gomez, LC helped me to give God the
first chance and put my own plans second.
I finally gave my yes to God, the reality of
it as my own decision, rather than what’s expected, washed
over me. For the first time, I was handing over
the role of protagonist to God and, though this surrender
is the only thing that will fulfill us, it does
not come without some sacrifice.
What was your biggest
motivation to be a coworker?
What really motivated
me to stick by my decision was the fact that
my parents had always taught me that a promise made
was a promise kept, especially when this promise was made
|Beth LeBlanc with Daniela Chedraui, one of the students of Overbrook Academy, a language academy for girls.|
Externally, God used this as a motivation
but deep down I knew that I needed these two
years in order to make God the center of my
life. If I began my future with college I would
be building my life on my own plans, but in
giving a year I would be beginning a future built
on an option for God, an option for others, an
option other than myself.
Can you share more
about your apostolate? What have you learned from working with
I have been working for the past
two years at Overbrook Academy in Warwick, Rhode Island. Overbrook
Academy is an international all girls Catholic boarding school for
girls ages 6th – 9th and I am one of
nine coworkers who are deans of students. I am with
the girls twenty four hours a day and seven days
a week as chaperone and mentor, helping them to form
themselves in every aspect, especially basic human formation such as
building an upright conscience, social etiquette, and developing will power.
However, many times I end up learning more from them
than they perhaps ever learn from me. Chief among the
lessons I’ve learned from the girls is how to truly
love someone and how to never lose hope in a
While still immersed in the hectic schedule of the school
year, it is difficult for me to really analyze all
that I have learned, but every day I am continually
amazed at the action of God in a soul. I
suppose we all see small conversions in our everyday life
but such little miracles take on a whole new meaning
when you’re the one collaborating with God in order to
bring it about.
Perhaps at the end of
my year, when I am able to take a step
back and see all that has taken place, I’ll be
able to voice more eloquently my experience at Overbrook Academy.
|Taking a break at the hockey rink.|
Until then, I am so thankful for the opportunity to
know each of the 450 souls I have worked with.
How has the co-worker experience made a difference
in your life?
From the moment I was
born, I was raised in the Catholic faith. I come
from a very Catholic family with loving parents, exemplary brothers
and sisters, and Catholic schooling from kindergarten to twelfth grade.
Without the coworker program, I think I would have been
an okay person with no major revolts or heretical tendencies.
But Christ would not have been the center of my
life and surely he would not have been my best
By giving myself to God for these two
years, I’ve experienced who He truly is and how much
I need Him. I think that we can only meet
a person in the deepest part of our souls when
we have given part of ourselves to that person. This
is how the coworker program has changed my life –
it has given me the opportunity to meet God through
the generosity such a sacrifice asks of you. In the
long run, though we give a year of our life,
the coworker gains much more in return, we obtain an
experiential knowledge of God. We come to know the person
for whom we are giving our year.
God taken you in your years as co-worker?
lovely Rhode Island, I have been blessed to travel a
number of places throughout my years, both accompanying the girls
and traveling with the other coworkers. With the students at
Overbrook Academy, I have traveled all over New England on
their weekly field trips as well as to Rome, Italy
for two weeks over the Christmases of 2006 and 2007
and to Canada over Easter. I also had the privilege
to accompany a group of girls to the United Nations
for a week in February, 2008 to help promote the
pro-life cause to participating delegates during the Commission on the
Status of Women. With the coworkers, I was able to
travel to Rome and Jerusalem for two weeks in April,
In each location I have visited, God has reaffirmed my
decision to become a coworker because I have seen “the
world waning and dying for lack of Christ” and I
have seen how my poor effort can help.
How do you think your experience as a coworker will
help you to live your Christian mission in this world
when your year is over?
I cannot begin
to predict what God has planned for me in the
future but I have learned during these few years that
he gives the grace for whatever he asks. The saying,
“God will not be outdone in generosity” is really true.
know that in my life one of the greatest blessings
he has given me is the opportunity to be a
coworker. I trust that my future, whatever it may entail,
will affirm this belief because no matter what life brings
I know that it must be responded to in love
and in generosity. I would not have developed these convictions
were it not for my coworker years.