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Posted March 9, 2015

Book: 5 Minutes with the Saints: More Spiritual Nourishment for Busy Teachers
Authors: Lou Delfra, C.S.C., and Ann Primus Berends
Ave Maria Press.
Notre Dame, IN. 2014. Pp. 170

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

These meditations on education, comprised of insights and anecdotes from great Catholic saints, are designed to motivate and inspire today's educators. Like the popular 5 Minutes with Christ (2011), this book was crafted by members of the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program, the most prestigious Catholic educator-training program in the United States. Designed to provide daily encouragement to teachers, each meditation features a personal reflection and a short prayer by such saints as Andre Bessette, Ignatius of Loyola, and Elizabeth Ann Seton.

An Excerpt from the Book:

St. Ambrose -- Whatever It Takes

In the Gospel, we are taught to have faith and not draw back from doing those things which are above our human strength. Hope is incentive to labor.

As governor of a territory in northern Italy, Ambrose was sent to broker a peace between two groups feuding over the election of the next bishop of Milan. He so impressed the rival groups that they unanimously demanded that he become the bishop. There were just a few problems: He wasn't a priest. He had never studied theology. And he hadn't even been baptized yet.

The emperor, however, accepted the will of the crowd and, in just one week, Ambrose was baptized, ordained, and consecrated as the bishop of Milan. Seventeen centuries later, we celebrate him as a Doctor of the Church, a holy hero whose teaching and understanding of God have shaped the faith ever since that remarkable, whirlwind week.

Perhaps Ambrose's experience of being thrust into leadership led to his prayer. Hope gave him reason to strive, and the hope we find in the gospel likewise gives us the strength to do work that seems otherwise impossible.

Saint Ambrose Catholic School in Tucson, Arizona, is a Notre Dame ACE Academy where children and teachers wear T-shirts that read, "Whatever it takes IS what it take." The motto reflects the same bold faith and courageous hope that inspired Ambrose's own leap of faith centuries ago. For the teachers at Saint Ambrose, sometimes it seems that the gospel demands an impossible task --- to provide a Catholic education of the highest quality to children in a community crippled by poverty. However, that same gospel, the living Word of God, offers the strength, zeal, and tenacity needed to do whatever it takes to put each child on the path to college and heaven.

This simple mantra --- "Whatever it takes" --- reminds us of the promise of Ambrose's prayer" that if we act in ways that spread the hope of the gospel every day not only will we be able to accomplish feats above our human strength, but we will also inspire other to do the same.

About the Alliance for Catholic Education
Reflections and contributors
Saints index, e.g. Saint Albert the Great, (The important questions0, Saint Alberto Hurtado, (Becoming authentic lessons), Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, (A powerful humility), Saint Alphonsus Liguori (Daily perseverance).