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Alum shares heartfelt words with St. Joseph students

By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic

“Is Jesus really in that piece of bread that he puts in your mouth?” the first-grade boy asked.

“Yes, he is!” replied Rachel Doll enthusiastically. “It’s really Jesus! It’s his body and blood and his soul and his divinity and we get to pray with him. It’s the closest we can get to Jesus on earth. It’s awesome!”

The senior at Ft. Hays State College was paying a Catholic Schools Week visit to her alma mater, St. Joseph School in Ellinwood, when she was asked the question during a presentation to the kindergarten-through-third grade classes. She later met with older students.

The children made a few quick determinations. First, Ft. Hays is not a Catholic school, but that doesn’t mean Doll isn’t growing in her faith every day.

“I have a special group like you guys have here,” she explained. “It’s called the Catholic Disciples. We learn about Jesus just like you. We get to hear from priests and nuns. It’s really cool! They come and talk and teach us about Jesus.

“You never stop learning about Jesus!”

 Another determination the pupils made is that Doll thinks St. Joseph School is pretty cool.

“It’s awesome that we get to have this school. It’s pretty cool that we get to go here and learn about Jesus and everything. That’s not always how it is in other schools. In other schools they don’t always get to talk about Jesus, and here you get to learn about Jesus almost every day. We get to learn how to be good people. That’s what being Catholic means: to be a good person and to try to treat others with kindness.”

Rachel is studying elementary education, but just where she teaches and what grade, well, she’s leaving that up to a higher power.

“I would like to teach fifth grade, but I’ll do whatever God wants me to do,” she told the children. “I always make plans, and think I’m going to do this, and then God’s like, ‘Actually, you’re going to do this, instead.’ So, I always try to listen to what God wants me to do. I think I would like to teach fifth grade, but I like all grades. I think you’re all awesome.”

That old notion of Sisters being a bit on the temperamental side has gone by the wayside, but those antique notions still sneak in now and then. When one child asked Doll if the Sisters she encountered were mean, she replied, “The nuns are crazy nice. It’s almost scary how nice the nuns are. The nuns are super sweet and walk around and ask ‘How can we pray for you?” And they are the happiest people I know. I was always asking them, ‘Why are you always so happy?’ And they say, ‘Because we have Jesus!’

“Basically, they are married to Jesus! They spend all their time praying and spending time with Jesus. And they are so happy. They’re not mean at all.”

Doll spoke about the joy of adoration, drawing a similar question to one posed earlier regarding the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

 “He’s really there!” Doll responded. “Isn’t that so cool? And it’s hard for us because we can’t really see him. He doesn’t have eyes, does he? There aren’t any eyes on the bread. It doesn’t have a mouth either, but he’s there. At the last supper, he said, ‘This is my body, which I will give up for you.’ We have to just believe and trust!”


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