My Journey to the John Paul II Institute


My journey to the John Paul II Institute was a slow and transformative one. As a college student and later as a high school English teacher, I felt a growing desire to shift my focus from teaching English to theology. This desire was fueled by my introduction to theology of the body during my undergraduate years and the discovery of theological and spiritual themes in my teaching of literature. After years of longing, I finally enrolled in the Institute in 2011. The program deepened my understanding of Christian anthropology and the Church’s vision of reality, but it also had a profound impact on how I saw myself, my relationships, and my work as an educator.

The Path to the Institute

A Growing Desire

During my college years, I began to recognize a deep longing within myself to explore theology more fully. This was sparked by my introduction to theology of the body, which opened my eyes to the profound connection between theology and human experience. As a high school English teacher, I found myself naturally drawn to highlighting theological and spiritual themes in the literature I taught. This further fueled my desire to shift my teaching focus to theology.

The Decision to Enroll

After several years of wrestling with this desire, I made the decision to enroll in the John Paul II Institute in 2011. It was a leap of faith, but I knew deep down that it was the right path for me. I wanted to deepen my intellectual understanding of Christian anthropology and the Church’s vision of reality, but little did I know how much it would transform my personal life and my approach to teaching.

The Institute Experience

Surprising Transformations

As I journeyed through the program at the Institute, I was amazed at how the vision of reality presented in the teachings of John Paul II began to shape my perspective on myself, my relationships, and my work as a teacher. It was not just an academic endeavor, but a path of conversion.

The Gift of Community

One of the greatest gifts of my time at the Institute was the companionship of my classmates and mentors. They became dear friends, many of whom I am still close to today. They helped me not only to understand the teachings intellectually but also to live them out in my daily life. Through their support and guidance, I learned valuable lessons about trust, surrender, and the gift of everything being given.

Lessons Learned

During my time at the Institute, I learned important lessons that continue to shape my life and work. I learned that I am not reducible to what I do and that I am invited to embrace everything as a child, trusting in Christ’s presence in my everyday life. These lessons have had a profound impact on how I see myself, my family, friends, students, and my role as a teacher.

A Shift in Focus

Teaching Theology

After graduating from the Institute in 2013, I returned to the teaching profession, but this time with a focus on theology as my main discipline. I was given the opportunity to teach a freshman Scripture course, and later I proposed an introduction to Philosophy course as a senior elective. I felt confident in my ability to develop curriculum that communicated an authentic vision of reality from the heart of the Church.

Education as Transformation

On a deeper level, my experience at the Institute has transformed how I understand education. I now see my role as introducing students to an awareness of reality in all disciplines. I believe that these students are invited into the same relationship with Christ that I am, and I am there to accompany them on their journey. My goal is to help them engage with their experiences at a deeper level, articulate their thoughts, and recognize Christ’s presence in everything through an understanding of Scripture and philosophy.

The Task at Hand

Teaching with this vision of reality in mind is no small task. It requires continuous learning and the support of a community of friends who help me see more clearly. While I still have much to learn, I approach my role as a teacher with confidence, knowing that I am never alone. By deepening my own prayer life and living out this vision more fully, I can guide my students with hope and faith, even in the face of challenges.

Gratitude and Fruitful Friendships

The Gift of Friendship

I cannot express enough gratitude for the friendships I formed during my time at the Institute. These friendships have continued to be a source of support and inspiration for over a decade. They are a tangible presence of Christ in my life, helping me to walk in faith, discern my vocation, and navigate the ups and downs of teaching and life in general.

A Beautiful Adventure

When Christ becomes the reference point for everything, life truly becomes a beautiful adventure. My experience at the John Paul II Institute has shaped not only my understanding of Catholic anthropology but also my relationships, my work as a teacher, and my approach to education as a whole. I am eternally grateful for the transformative journey that led me to the Institute and the friendships I formed along the way.