How this principal's little school is a powerhouse
It’s not quite enough to say Beth Reamsnyder is faithful. More accurately, she is full of faith.
Beth talks about the role of faith at Sacred Heart, which she and Father Joe Krupp, the pastor, say is the core of the school’s mission: “The purpose of this school is to form saints. We are full of imperfections, and it may seem like sainthood is only for a selectively chosen few. However, that is not the case. We put in his capable hands what we are not capable of doing by ourselves. When you know that, you know he has you, whatever challenges you’re facing.
“We are called to sainthood because his love is perfect and he perfectly desires us to be with him for eternity. He desires us to be his own, his saints.
“This school is a testament to God’s desire for his saints. It’s a powerful little school that has been operating since the beginning of the Great Depression in 1928. It understands how to love and suffer and give. And that spirit of selflessness, giving and stewardship is reflected back by the community.
“We are blessed beyond measure by people in this part of Michigan. Hudson used to be a manufacturing town, but many of the factories have closed and workers were forced to move away. Many who stayed commute to neighboring cities, yet they make a joyful sacrifice and invest in our community and in our children’s futures. That sacrifice and investment are returned tenfold in hugs! Everyone who visits is lifted up by our kids.
“Our school is like ‘The Little Engine that Could,’ working hard for the community and praying for our neighbors. It’s everything a Christian school should be. The people who work here give everything in the missionary spirit of Catholic education. They see future saints in our children. And our kids are prayer warriors like nobody else – praying together daily, attending weekly Mass and lifting up community intercessions.
“When I started teaching here in 2012, we had 36 students. This year, we opened with 84 kids. It’s all because we let God in! They are his kids that he brings to us from home or public schools, Hudson or neighboring communities. We provide a classical education and give students a deeper understanding of the cardinal virtues – prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude.
“Those virtues also form the foundation of our discipline policy. When you give the child the virtue, the vice will die. When a child misbehaves, we identify what the child is struggling with. Then we pray about it and walk through it together, sharing their struggle. Behaviors that caused problems dissipate, and our parents recognize and are thankful for this growth,” she says.
Beth’s faith is the rock of her personal life, as well: “It’s part of raising children to be saints. The end-game is to be with God in heaven, so we have to begin with the end in mind. Wherever God’s calling, you have to be a saint pursuing it. When terrible things happen in your life, you will never make sense of it without keeping sainthood in mind.
“I know this. My husband, David, and I have two children – Charles (13) and Cora (5) – and six in heaven. Three miscarried after Charles, and three since Cora was born. After suffering those early miscarriages, we were delighted and nervous when I became pregnant with Cora. We lived in Baltimore at the time and went to the best Catholic hospital we could find.
“When the doctor there told us our baby wasn’t developing in utero, we were concerned. When another examination indicated the baby was three weeks behind developmentally, the medical staff thought there were probably other complications. They offered to do a D&E and urged us to test my amniotic fluid for other defects. But we pushed back. ‘So what if our baby is blind?’ we told them, ‘We’ll learn Braille!’ We decided to change hospitals.
“Our new doctor ordered an amniocentesis, but honored our decision to let the pregnancy continue. The test showed that my amniotic fluid was clean, and after just 38 weeks’ gestation, Cora was born weighing three pounds, 15 ounces. My placenta was huge and misshapen, but our daughter was normal.
“Our doctor pulled us aside and said, ‘She’s little, but she wants to fight. We’re not going to stop fighting, because she’s not going to stop fighting.’ Cora was in neonatal intensive care for two weeks, then we took her home and never looked back. Now she is a petite kindergartener here at Sacred Heart. Inquisitive, chatty, loves gymnastics – Cora is going to conquer the world and rename it tomorrow! And she adores her big brother.
“She certainly renamed my world of being a mom, a teacher and a human being. Those roles were forever shifted with her birth. Thinking about it now, that may be where I began to form my belief of keeping the end in mind,” she explains. Beth sees her role as an intentional disciple; this is what she is called to do. She says, “We are all called to be who we are created to be. We’re not here to fix anyone. We’re perfect as we are. Whether we’re dealing with loss, joy, death, birth or any challenge, our life can’t make sense outside the lens and the truth of God. Here at Sacred Heart, classical education is what we do because it points us back to that truth.
“It’s not about me or my faith, it’s about preparing the next generation to discern Christ’s voice in all that’s going on. We let them know we’re not perfect, and we’re not supposed to be. But if we let God in, he can make sense of our beautiful messes.
“Faith, the lens of Christ, teaches us to handle our challenges and joys by handing them over to God. We trust that he’s got control and calls us to be with him in heaven. As a mother, a Catholic educator and a faithful person, I’m always keeping that end in mind.”
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A Catholic education is among the best gifts parents can give their children. At the 33 schools in the Diocese of Lansing, students grow in faith, knowledge and service. To learn more about our Catholic schools, including information on tuition assistance, visit dolcatholicschools.org.