Leaving then returning – The path for many Mount teachers

Most high school students would usually go through their four years of school, go to college, and then move on from their school life, but what about those who come back? Ever since MSJ was established back in 1876, they have taught thousands of young men to prepare them to become the men God intends them to be. Unbeknownst to them, many students would come back to MSJ to teach the next generations of students. What is it that makes the former students come back though? What, or who gave, them the idea to come back? Is it some sort of calling?

Theology teacher Mr. Stromberg is the perfect person to talk to about your calling, as well as Mr. Felts. Both were students at MSJ, where they participated in class and extracurricular activities and then came back to the Mount to teach. Their way back to MSJ might not have been the path they were expecting, but it was a welcomed one at the least. 

Mr. Stromberg’s Theology class

Mr. Stromberg’s journey at MSJ started in 2013 when he was a freshman. After four years, he graduated in 2017, but his time at MSJ was not over. When Covid-19 struck, he got contacted by MSJ. “Because of Covid kind of, I was able to do a guest lecture with Mrs. Abdo and Mrs. Hubbard,” said Mr. Stromberg. “I loved it so much, and then they brought up, ‘We’re doing junior retreat this year still, you should come back as an alumni,’ and I was like ‘Yeah, that’d be absolutely amazing.’” His way back to MSJ was just beginning. 

Mr. Stromberg went on junior retreat as an alumn, which was one of the callings trying to bring him back to MSJ. “I know I love Saint Joe, but moments like that help me remember why I love Saint Joe so much.” Not only was he able to go on junior retreat once when he was a student, but now twice as an alumn. 

“I was sitting down doing homework, and I get a text from Mr. Bonham, ‘Mrs. Hubbard is leaving, would you like to come back and teach?’” He knew what his answer was but needed a second opinion. “Short answer, yes. I would love to come back to Saint Joe, but could I have some time to reflect and pray on this.” After some time of thinking, he reached out to Mr. Shearer and asked for advice. “He gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten in my life, and he said, ‘Take the next two days and pretend like you said yes to them. After those two days, if it feels good that you said yes to that decision, it’s probably a good sign.’” He realized that this was the right decision and the one that he wanted to pursue. “I really felt like this is what I’m being called back to be with.”

“Take the next two days and pretend like you said yes to them. After those two days if it feels good that you said yes to that decision, it’s probably a good sign.”

Mr. Stromberg

Mr. Felts’ also came back to teach at St. Joe, where he had his own calling. He started his journey at MSJ in 2003 and graduated in 2007. “I loved my time here as a student,” said Mr. Felts. After he left high school, he went to college, where he majored in English and minored in Theology. Throughout his time in college, he kept in touch with Brother James, who had been one of his teachers. “He let me know about an opening for theology,” Mr. Felts said, so he then applied for that role. “I always wanted to be a teacher, wanted to be back here teaching, and so I took that opportunity.” Brother James was the reason why Mr. Felts knew about the opening, and because of him, he was able to return to MSJ and follow that calling of coming back. 

Both Mr. Stromberg and Mr. Felts had a calling to come back to MSJ to teach, and be a part of the Mount’s legacy. Everyone has, or will have, their own calling which will grab them to do something they want to do. Maybe you’ve played a sport all your life and many people say that you should pursue that – that would be a calling to practice more at that sport. Maybe you like art, and you keep on getting inspired to make something. That’s a calling. It might not be as easy to hear that call, but if you take moments to reflect on it and say yes to an opportunity, it’s the right decision if that yes feels good. 

Cooper Funk is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class