Samaya and Sister Therese Ann Zanmiller work on essay writing.

Samaya and Sister Therese Ann Zanmiller work on essay writing.

By Sister Dorothy Zeller

Good Counsel Learning Center in Mankato, Minnesota, United States of America, completed 51 years of one-to-one tutoring of children and adults. Originally named the Reading Center, the focus in 1967 was on improving literacy among children. Over the years, other subjects were added, and we began to tutor adults.

At first, the majority of tutors were School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSNDs) who tutored after a full day of teaching or during their summer vacation; lay teachers were hired as needed. Today, tutors include semi-retired SSNDs who appreciate the opportunity to use their energy and years of classroom experience.

In the past 10 years, the Center clientele has expanded as the people and needs have changed. Today, Somali, Sudanese and Vietnamese families add a new dimension to the Center and to the Our Lady of Good Counsel community. The immigrant students share their community with us through their dress, food and culture. We recognize anew the charism of Mother Theresa who brought Sisters to the United States to teach the children of German immigrants. We are honored to continue in her footsteps.

Over the years, the Learning Center has also served the needs of the Central Pacific Province and even our international congregation. This past year, our SSND postulant from Argentina and six Sisters from several religious congregations in Vietnam were tutored at the Good Counsel Learning Center. These Sisters live in small communities with us and interact daily with everyone on campus. They bring an experience of interculturality that is natural and most beneficial.

Photo Credit:  Heidi Sampson, Mankato, Minnesota, USA

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