Bethlehem High School is taking a three-week winter term with their teacher, Brigid Manion, to learn about the music, art, history, and life in Appalachia. Some of the exposure so far has been, reading a novel together, making and playing the dulcimer, clogging, and through partnering with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, visiting an Appalachia area of Kentucky.

As part of the SCN volunteer program, Sister Luke Boiarski and Ellen Sprigg spent time with the class to orient them on Appalachian culture, showed them a documentary, took them hiking at Natural Bridge State Park, and traveled to Beattyville, Kentucky, to meet Dora Ross from Kentucky Cornerstone Ministry.

Miss Dora, who has lived in Beattyville her whole life and runs an outreach ministry that reaches out to several counties, told them about growing up in the mountains and the importance of faith, family, community service, and staying on the right path in life. The students were very engaged in hearing Miss Dora’s testimony, the hardships she faced, and how God leads her in all she does.

Growing up with no electricity, washing clothes by hand, planting and harvesting their own food, and learning to sew her own clothes at nine years old, were some of the stories Miss Dora shared. She showed the students how to use a loom where she makes rugs from scrap material and sells them for the ministry. “There ain’t nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it!”, she told the students.

One of the questions from a student to Miss Dora was, “What do you love about living in the mountains and what has been your greatest joy in life?”

She replied, “I love the peacefulness. I can walk on this hill and hear and see and smell and touch all of God’s beauty every day.” After a long pause, she said, “My greatest joy in life is helping others.”