BETWEEN FRIENDS: A tribute to my religion teacher PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 12 May 2014 11:03



One day after the  Holy Week this year I was reminded of my high school religion teacher.  I went through the leather bound missal that was a gift from my sister for my 18th birthday and there I found the “stampita” that my religion teacher gave me as a reward for my performance in her class .  On the stampita I had written “Given to me by Miss P. Lasutaz, 1952.” This must have been around the end of my 2nd year in high school.

At this time she must have long passed on to the other life.  When I had her for my teacher she was no longer young, most likely in her 40’s or 50’s. She was short and on the plump side. I found out from other people that she used to be a religious sister but was dispensed from her congregation so she could take care of her elderly mother, as she was the only one who could among her siblings.

Miss Lasutaz certainly knew her subject matter and looking back over the years I feel she inspired me not only to know but also to love my Catholic religion.  I learned about my faith not just in rote catechism manner but much more.  Before I graduated from high school I had “read” the  4 Gospels in entirety. I put “read” in quotation marks because that is all that I did… nothing more.  I found Matthew much easier reading than John. I could recite the Beatitudes and other famous verses and I became familiar with the parables from the Gospels. In later life  when I was already an adult it was a surprise to me that  many people I knew had not done what I had done in high school – read all the 4 gospels. I say this not to brag but to pay tribute to my high school religion teacher who encouraged me to read the Bible.

I was sharing some thoughts with a friend in a recent recollection and she said that she graduated from a Catholic university in the north but not once did she get to open the Bible. I  don’t know if I heard her correctly but she said that they were not allowed to. And yet my Miss Lasutaz encouraged me to read the Bible in high school.

We do not often realize it but many of us are what we are today because of the quiet influence of a teacher or a friend. Most certainly Miss Lasutaz, my high school religion teacher, played an influence in my own life. I imagine her enjoying  heaven and I hope she will pray for me, the high school girl whom she taught  about the Catholic faith.