August 11, 2017

Serra Club vocations essay

Sister helps student connect with God through prayer, study

By Catherine Jasper (Special to The Criterion)

Catherine JasperAnyone who knows of Holy Name School in Beech Grove has probably heard of a very important person with the school: Benedictine Sister Nicolette Etienne.

I had the wonderful opportunity to have Sister Nicolette as my theology teacher from the fourth through the eighth grades. To me, she exemplified a disciple in everything she did.

First and foremost, great disciples are teachers. They spread the word of God and work to evangelize others. In each theology class, Sister Nicolette taught us something new about God’s message. She tried her hardest to appeal to middle schoolers who were more concerned about their game after school than what God’s teachings were.

She used everything from entertaining videos to hosting class discussions. Some of her phrases used to memorize vocabulary words still stick with me to this day, an amazing testimony to Sister Nicolette’s knowledge of God and willingness to share it with others.

She truly cared about everyone who walked through her classroom door. She even made an effort to connect with younger students, who eagerly awaited the year they could experience her class.

I never expected a teacher to allow us to take time for ourselves in class. Almost every Thursday, classes were lucky enough to experience adoration. Before her class, I had never had time to sit gazing on God, thinking about his impact in my life. For those 45 minutes, I tried not think about anything other than God.

This was my first time experiencing total submergence in him. The minutes spent within the church taught me more about my relationship with God than any other class. Through this reflection, I was able to discern God’s presence and role in my everyday life.

The two greatest factors in Sister Nicolette’s life were love and God. She understood the power of love and allowed it to fill her up and spread it to others. God was a major part of her love. She allowed him to guide her and shape her life.

After my time in Sister Nicolette’s class, I felt my faith was solidified. I learned how to spread God’s message through my daily life, mainly by emulating Jesus’ love and acceptance of everyone.

I try my best to embody Sister Nicolette and allow my kindness to shine. Her class inspired me to love theology. It is just as important as any math, science or English class. She introduced me to my faith, and showed me new ways to connect with God.

Sister Nicolette is a wonderful teacher. She is Holy Name’s own personal sun, shining with positivity and love. I consider myself lucky to have been able to be her student and experience her gifts.

She taught one of the greatest qualities I ever learned: to have eternal faith in God. For this, I will forever be grateful toward Sister Nicolette.

(Catherine and her parents, Rob and Lori Jasper, are members of Holy Name Parish in Beech Grove. She completed the 11th grade at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis last spring, and is the 11th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2017 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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