Faculty Focus: April 2024

As Director of Campus Ministry, Mrs. May guides Fenwick students through retreats, service projects and the preaching team.
What is your educational background?

Born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, I attended Springfield Catholic High School as a teen. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies from Saint Louis University. Then I earned a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Notre Dame.

What did you do prior to becoming a campus minister at Fenwick?

Before I worked at Fenwick, I taught freshman theology at Notre Dame College Prep for three years. Prior to that, I was the Director of Religious Education at Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph Parish in Chicago.

What are you currently reading for enjoyment?

For fun, I am reading “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I am currently working towards a certificate in Spiritual Direction, and for that program I am reading “Spirituality for Seekers: Reflections on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola” by Roger Haight.

What interests do you pursue outside of school?

I love spending time with my family, especially my husband and my daughters, ages four and eight. We love to take trips to the zoo, aquarium, or area forest preserves to hike and bike. I also love to read, cook and bake. This summer, we will take our first family camping trip (wish me luck) and I look forward to using my stand-up paddle board at nearby lakes.

To what teams and/or clubs did you belong as a student?

I attended Springfield Catholic High School in Springfield Missouri. In high school, I played volleyball, basketball and belonged to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes club. I also took horse-back riding lessons outside of school.

Which clubs/sports/activities do you run at Fenwick?

I co-moderate the Preaching Team with Fr. Christopher Johnson. 

What quality/characteristic marks a Fenwick student?

Fenwick students are dedicated, focused and compassionate. I get the honor of organizing the Christian Service Project in which junior students complete 30 hours of service. Each year I witness students grow into people of compassion through these service projects. Students volunteer to tutor younger children, work at food pantries, remodel homes, teach Sunday school classes, help at local Churches, and so much more. Each year, our students inspire me to be more compassionate to the poor and vulnerable in our community. Fenwick students inspire me to focus on my goals through dedication and hard work.

When did you decide to work in education, and why did you choose this field?

In college I participated in an Internship and was placed at a middle school in St. Louis. It was a Nativity-Miguel model (similar to the Christo-Rey model of schooling), and I loved building relationships with the students. I realized the power education has to transform lives. This experience inspired me to learn more about working with young people and pursue higher education so that I could give my best to students.

What personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your work?

I am a warm, joyful and organized person. Offering warmth to others might sound strange, but to me it's about making other people feel comfortable and at ease in my presence. Talking about religion and spirituality can be hard, and it’s important for students to feel comfortable to have conversations about faith. I am a joyful person and that enthusiasm is really important for retreats! Being organized is also essential for managing the service and retreat programs. We have many students and many details to track - I love color coding!

What is the greatest success you have had in your role?

I feel most proud during the month of May when junior students participate in exit interviews for the Christian Service Project. Students speak about making connections with community members in ways they never expected. I find it most rewarding when I hear a student talk about a new perspective, understanding or appreciation in their life as a result of their service project. I work hard to cultivate community partnerships so that students can have positive and meaningful service experiences, and so hearing student reflections about service is my biggest success. 

What challenges do students face today?

I think the biggest challenge facing students today is loneliness. As humans, we have a need to belong and it can be so hard to find belonging while also still figuring out your own identity. Friendship is important for all people, no matter their age. While we are technically more connected than ever, the art of relationship building is something we need to actively work on in order to help young people belong to strong communities. In campus ministry, we say we are “with you on the way” because we hope that all students will feel welcomed and accompanied through their high school years.
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