Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
The oak tree is one of the most loved trees in the world. It's a symbol of strength, honesty, and knowledge.
It is also a physical and symbolic presence on the Father Ryan campus, connecting both Elliston Place and Norwood Drive. For the oaken doors that welcome students to the Neuhoff Library today are the same ones that opened the door for generations of students on Elliston Place. In addition, an oak tree from the Elliston Campus was planted on Norwood Drive on the path to the Blessed Mother Grotto.
Like the oak, our Father Ryan students are nurtured to develop deep roots, a broad presence, a strong character and a lasting impact.
Natalie Corso is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and a product of Catholic education from kindergarten through 12th grade. She earned her B.A. in Mathematics Education from the University of Mississippi. During that time, she studied abroad in Italy and student-taught for a year at Lafayette High School in Oxford, Mississippi.
During a trip to Nashville while in college, she fell in love with the city and decided it was where she wanted to put down roots after graduation. She joined the Father Ryan community in the fall of 2017. For the past three years, she has enjoyed teaching Algebra I and II and has been an assistant coach in the softball program. In addition to volunteering at events and in other capacities at Father Ryan, she also interviews potential students for admission, serves on committees, and is a mentor teacher.
Ms. Corso loves traveling, hand-lettering and listening to podcasts. She also enjoys playing sports and hiking. One of her favorite experiences was in Cinque Terre, Italy, where she hiked between the towns and indulged in some of the local cuisine. She feels blessed to call Nashville and Father Ryan her home.
St. Teresa of Calcutta was born in Macedonia on August 26, 1910. At 18 years old, she joined the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin, Ireland. She vowed herself to a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience and took on the title Mother, which was customary for the Sisters of Loreto. In May of 1937, St. Teresa was sent to Calcutta, India, and served as a teacher and principal of St. Mary’s High School for seventeen years. Although she loved her school and her order, she was also aware of the suffering outside of the convent walls. While aboard a train on the way to a retreat, she heard God speaking out loud to her, giving her a “call within a call” to leave the sisters of Loreto and start the Missionaries of Charity.
With the Pope’s approval, St. Teresa adopted a new habit, a simple Indian sari, and began her new work. She visited and cared for impoverished families, washed the sores of children, and nursed sick and dying men and women. Although St. Teresa began her work with only a few sisters, the Missionaries of Charity are now serving all around the world and have helped the poorest of the poor in many countries.
St. Teresa of Calcutta was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 because of her attention to the poor. In her acceptance speech, she emphasized that she did not accept the award for herself, but only to bring the world’s attention to the most defenseless, including the children being lost to abortion. Because of her devotion to the most vulnerable members of the world, St. Teresa was nicknamed Mother to the Poor.
St. Teresa of Calcutta died on September 5, 1997. After her death, personal letters revealed that she had experienced terrible doubts about God’s love and presence in her life. Although some people reacted hatefully to this revelation, many others found her more inspiring than ever: she had continued to live a life of faithful joy and service, even without the affirmations that humans long for. St. Teresa of Calcutta was canonized by Pope Francis on September 4, 2016.