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Beth LeBlanc: How Two Years as a Co-worker Changed My Life
U. S. A. | MEMBERS | TESTIMONIES
“I think that we can only meet a person in the deepest part of our souls when we have given part of ourselves to him. This is how the coworker program has changed my life – it has given me the opportunity to meet God more deeply through self-g

Beth LeBlanc was a co-worker at Overbrook Academy in Warwick, RI for two years.
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, Rhode Island.

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.
When 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
Beth LeBlanc with Daniela Chedraui, one of the students of Overbrook Academy, a language academy for girls.
Beth LeBlanc with Daniela Chedraui, one of the students of Overbrook Academy, a language academy for girls.
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 to God.
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 teenage girls?

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 person.

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.
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 friend.

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.

Where has God taken you in your years as co-worker?

Besides 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, 2007.

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.

I 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.


PUBLICATION DATE: 2008-05-06


 
 


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