Three speakers visit Discipleship classes


photo courtesy of Jeremy Cramer

Mr. Richard Foley discussed his experiences in the Vietnam War with Discipleship classes.

Henry Bird, Staff Writer

Ms. Michelle Leblanc’s Discipleship class hosted three speakers to discuss the Corporal Works of Mercy, a model that explains how people should treat one another. Throughout the week of March 14, three different speakers visited her classroom to discuss how the Works of Mercy and God played a role in each of their lives. Following the speakers, students discussed in class about what they had learned from them.

On Monday, BSM graduate Ms. Monica Schaffer discussed how she had learned about her faith through working with immigrants. “She worked with women at Sarah’s Oasis, where she helped them with their healing processes, their path to citizenship, and any other basic needs they had,” Leblanc said. Schaffer also discussed how her faith had a large impact on her life, even from a young age.

Their next speaker was Mr. Richard Foley, who visited on Tuesday and is a Vietnam War veteran. Foley was forced to kill innocent POW’s, experienced large amounts of combat, and suffered from alcoholism after returning to the United States. After attending A.A. meetings and sessions with counselors, he overcame alcoholism. He now talks with prisoners about his faith and experiences, and volunteers with other veterans. “His story was really the most impactful. The things that he had to go through in the war were horrific,” Leblanc said.

The final speaker was Mr. Clarene Shallbeter, whose daughter is a BSM graduate. On Wednesday, Shallbeter discussed his experiences working with both adults and children in prison, as well as how you’re never too old, or too young, to find your calling in life. “When he was 58, he found his calling from God, and started visiting prisons and juvenile delinquent centers to help them out. He said they’re all always just so lonely,” Leblanc said.

On Thursday, the students all discussed what they had learned about God and the Corporal Works of Mercy from the speakers. Then, they sent letters back to the speakers, thanking them for coming in. “Sending letters is one of the most important parts. Foley talked about how getting feedback from kids is really helpful for his healing process,” Leblanc said.