“It wasn’t my plan,” explained Edna Ramos, MTS ’20. “It was God’s plan; it was meant to be.”
This past year, as she prepared to send one son off to college at Rice University and the other into his freshman year of high school, she knew that one chapter of her life — the one in which she was a stay-at-home mom raising her two children — was coming to a close. She needed to determine what the next phase would hold, what meaningful work she could undertake.
In the midst of much prayer and meditation, then a prayer retreat, it became increasingly apparent to Ramos, who is bilingual, that her work needed to be with the Hispanic population. Prior to the birth of her children, she had received her bachelor’s degree in labor relations from the University of Puerto Rico, where she’s from, and worked in human resources, mostly for pharmaceutical companies. When her first son was born, however, she quit her job to stay home with him. She had been a volunteer and taught catechetical formation in her parish for 14 years; this past spring, she received her Master Catechist certificate from the Diocese of Dallas.
After her revelation during the prayer retreat, she signed up to work with the Hispanic teens in formation for sacraments.
She also began doing some research online, trying to find degree programs for careers ministering to adults, and came across the University of Dallas website and the Master of Theological Studies program offered by the Ann and Joe O. Neuhoff School of Ministry. However, she couldn’t afford it. She began to pray, asking God to show her, if this was what she was meant to do, the way to do it.
Interestingly, during this same timeframe, a priest from her parish, a good friend, told her how overwhelmed he felt; he had so many well-intentioned volunteers who wanted to serve the church but were not trained, either to lead or to work in ministry. Then, while on vacation, she received an email from UD about a scholarship, funded by a grant from the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, to complete the Master of Theological Studies degree, then teach in the Escuela Bíblica Católica. It felt like a sign.
“I thought, what’s my excuse?” she said. “This was my way to discern my path. I applied to UD, then for the scholarship. I told myself, if this is it, then it will be it; if not, it’s not meant to be — I would either wait and do the program later or do something else.”
Then, in August, Ramos learned that she had received the scholarship. It was clear: This was her path.
“It all came together,” she said.
She is now taking two classes, one on the New Testament on campus, the other on Church History online.
“It’s a totally new experience for me,” she said. “When I was last in school, there was no internet, no email; we used floppy discs. I’m getting used to cyber classrooms, but I really like being a student again.”
According to the terms of the scholarship, she must complete the degree in two years, so the academic load is high. However, Ramos feels very motivated, secure in the knowledge that this is what she is meant to be doing.
In the photo: Ramos in her Religious Education classroom with her fifth-grade students and fellow catechists Esther King and Ashley Mouton.