St. Teresa's Academy Hosts Students from France

By Barb McCormick, STA academic principal

Students from St. Joseph School in Le Puy-en-Velay, France meet Avila University President Ron Slepitza, CSJA while touring the university campus.

KANSAS CITY, MO: St. Teresa’s Academy (STA) hosted their “sisters” from St. Joseph School (SJS) in Le Puy-en-Velay, France from April 22 to May 3. The two schools entered into a sisters-exchange program involving students from both institutions learning more about their founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The Academy visited St. Joseph School in June 2017 and is now reciprocating the gesture by hosting the French students in the homes of several STA families.

Bringing together these two sponsored institutions is vital to continuing the legacy of the Sisters of St. Joseph, especially as lay persons follow in the footsteps of those before them. Knowing the founders and the history surrounding them both as adults and students of sponsored institutions will keep the charism of the sisters alive for years to come.

Martine Wendzinski, SJS chaperone and French teacher, has coordinated visits with students to many of the Sisters of St. Joseph schools. St. Teresa’s Academy thanks Sister Ann Landers and Sister Joan Tolle for providing Martine a home during her stay. This experience for both our communities is just the beginning of a partnership to expand relations globally, connecting institutions sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Students were welcomed by their STA host families on April 22 at the Kansas City International airport. The girls attended classes with their host and were provided special schedules to explore electives such as yoga, dance, acting, art, music, app design, and more. The CSJ Campers, STA students who participated in the school's CSJ Leadership Camp, welcomed them with a pizza luncheon on April 23.

Their experiences off campus included a tour of the Nelson Art Museum with commentary provided by STA instructor Mike Egner, a tour of the National World War I Museum with docent and retired teacher Pat Sirridge, and a weekend spent experiencing the city and surrounding areas with their host family.

On April 30, the French students took in a tour of Avila University and learned more about the relationship between Avila and STA. On May 1, students completed a full day of service learning activities, starting at Journey House with Sister Rose McLarney (pictured right). She then took the students to Jerusalem Farm where Jordan Schiele, the house leader, spoke about the four pillars of the organization and showed them how the pillars are lived.

On May 2, the students were welcomed with pastries and beverages as part of their last day experience on campus. Then, on May 3, St. Teresa’s students said goodbye to their sisters from France. All are looking forward to next year when STA plans to visit Le Puy and continue the formation of young women on the founders of their institutions.

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