Authentically living my faith
Members of the Loyola community share what it means to be Jesuit educated
November 24, 2015
I began my college career at Mount Saint Agnes College with the Sisters of Mercy. In 1971 when Mount Saint Agnes merged with Loyola, which was then an all-male college, I was in the first class of women of Baltimore’s coeducational Jesuit college—and I was the first woman to register for the first semester atLoyola. It was my sophomore year.
I was a sister with the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore during my undergraduate and graduate careers at Loyola. My college education further enriched my understanding of the Catholic faith and of our rich history. This fueled my faith—and it still does, though I have since left the convent to pursue a different calling.
I lived in Franciscan community during my undergraduate and graduate studies, so the Mercy Sisters, Jesuits, and Franciscans greatly influenced me during those formative years. Because of this influence, I have continued to grow as a Catholic woman with ongoing prayer and study of the Scriptures. My faith also grows by ministering: by sharing my faith and by leading scripture studies, faith sharing groups, and Catholic marriage preparation groups.
Professionally, I felt well-prepared and motivated to work in the field of speech-language pathology, thanks to my Loyola education. Spiritually, I received a foundation in solid Jesuit teaching by people who authentically lived their faith. They served to compliment my formation as a Franciscan Sister and to reinforce my Catholic education and upbringing in the faith.
Today I serve as executive director of St. Elizabeth School (SES) in Baltimore, a nonpublic special education school for grades 1 to 12 that was founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore. As executive director, I lead the administration—a word that stems from the word ministry. It’s a true honor to serve in a role that allows me to serve others and my faith, every day, while adhering to the SES mission and our Franciscan values. I strive to serve our students and their families, as well as our staff who demonstrate the Franciscan values St. Elizabeth School represents. These values are similar to Jesuit values; we believe in the goodness of all creation and that all persons should be respected and valued.
As special educators at St. Elizabeth School, we view students from every perspective—not just academics, but social, emotional, communication, physical, and vocational. This cura personalis approach allows us to better serve our students and prepare them for life beyond our classrooms. Both Jesuit and Franciscan values are a seamless robe with which I attempt to clothe myself daily.
My Jesuit education has helped me to seek to grow in faith and Christian ministry. It has been one of the many blessings in my life, both spiritually and professionally—and I am grateful to God for these gifts.
Christine Manlove is the executive director of St. Elizabeth School, a Baltimore nonpublic special education school for grades 1 to 12. She earned her B.A. in Speech Language Pathology and Theology in 1975, and her Master’s in Speech Language Pathology in 1976.