Sister Margaret "Meg" Walsh
"We want their faith to move them to action."
Sister Margaret “Meg” Walsh has taught religion up and down the spine of the hemisphere, from Peru to Nicaragua to her work now at St. Matthew Catholic School in Phoenix, Arizona.
The locations change, the classrooms change, the technology changes, even the language changes, but always she has one goal in mind:
“I would love if the children would just be able to say, ‘I love God,’ and that they do things because of it.” In Peru, where Sister Meg taught for 15 years, math, science or history weren’t the emphasis. The emphasis was religious education. So that’s where she was assigned. “It was just a natural walk-in for me,” she says. It's a ministry that has crossed borders continuing to this day.
St. Matthew Catholic School, where Sister Meg presently teaches, is the only dual language school in the Diocese of Phoenix. Grades kindergarten through fourth receive instruction one day in Spanish and the next in English, with a gradual transition to all English after that. Ninety-eight percent are from Spanish-speaking families, and most are Mexican-American. The majority receive subsidized lunches, but though the school is in some ways unconventional, it’s a modern American school. It has electricity, it has books, it has access to the Internet.
Sister Meg is grateful, but she has taught without any of these — always with the same goal of making known God’s love.
“In Peru, we didn’t have Internet, we didn’t have overhead projectors. Everything there was manual. Sometimes you didn’t even have books. And if you had one, you had to make copies.”
“To me, the blessing of that experience is that it taught me to be more creative even with fewer resources...which goes back to Julie saying you couldn’t teach something a hundred times the same way. You have to be creative. You have to change according to who you’re teaching.” Sister Meg teaches roughly 100 children, grades 6 through 8. “We want them to be bi-literate in reading, writing, speaking and listening,” she says. “And we want religion to be a reality in their world. We want their faith to move them to action.”
Photo caption: Sister Meg Walsh brings the goodness of God to her seventh grade religion class at St. Matthew Catholic School in Phoenix, AZ. Her students study the Bible in both English and Spanish.