My experience volunteering at Mount Carmel High School (MCHS) in Benque Viejo Belize was nothing but blessed. It was an experience that God used in His good Providence to lead me closer to Himself and to a vocation as a religious sister in SOLT.
Having just graduated from college in 2007, I was unsure of what God wanted for my life. Was it to attend graduate school or enter religious life? I was newly discerning a religious vocation and didn’t know what to do. I had heard of the SOLT High School in Belize so I thought I’d give a year of service to the Lord and then see what direction He wanted my life to go. Looking back, I can give only thanks and praise to the Lord for bringing me to MCHS.
I found the simplicity of life in Belize a great gift. I was free from worrying about bills and the everyday concerns of living in the world. My only responsibility was to serve. I was not only to teach the students but also listen to them and befriend them. This is what really sets MCHS apart from other schools. I felt a common desire among the volunteer teachers to really help the students and either directly or through example, lead them to God, showing them how to see His beauty, truth and goodness.
It was such a privilege to be able to serve in a school where Our Blessed Lord was truly at the center. I distinctly remember a MCHS staff retreat we had within a few days after arriving in Benque. Fr. Dan Estes, SOLT, gave a powerful talk to all the teachers about how it was our primary duty to bring God into EVERY subject, whether it be English, Science, Math, etc. How we are to teach the kids to glorify God in everything. After that retreat, I knew I was in a good place.
I went to Belize discerning God’s call for my life. Due to the simplicity of life, I was able to spend two years there steeped in prayer and the sacraments. My life was simple. I prayed, I taught, and I enjoyed holy fellowship with the other volunteers. I believe this is what brought me to see God’s plan for my life. After my second year of service, I discerned Our Lord was calling me to be His spouse, specifically in SOLT and I am currently in my first year of novitiate with the Sisters of SOLT in Kansas City, Missouri. Benque Viejo and Mount Carmel High School will forever hold a special place in my heart. I pray Our Lord continues to pour His grace and blessings into Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School.
MCHS Volunteer Teacher 2007-2009. I taught English, Public Speaking, and Life Skills to 1st and 2nd Form students (9th and 10th graders).
Sr. Mary Katie Dolan