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 | By Misty Poe | Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Catholic Schools Form Joyful Disciples

Every year, Catholic schools in the Diocese of Austin adopt a distinctive theme to be a pillar for the community for that specific year. For the 2022-2023 academic year, “Joyful Disciples” is the theme that has invited us to reflect, act and teach in such a way that is uniquely experienced in our schools. With 20 Catholic schools in Central Texas, being joyful disciples is applicable not only as we strive to form children in wisdom and holiness but also as an opportunity to invite others to witness the authentic discipleship happening in our communities. In the following pages, we have compiled quotes about joyful discipleship from students and faculty members in our Catholic schools.

Number of schools


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In Texas


In Diocese of Austin

Number of students


In the U.S.


In Texas


In Diocese of Austin

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Austin award more than $6.5 million in tuition assistance for students every year.

Bishop Louis Reicher Catholic School in Waco

“My Catholic education has helped me cultivate my faith and strengthen my relationship with Christ. I love having great mentors who are willing to lead me in my faith and want what’s best for me. From elementary all the way to high school, I’ve been taught how to be a genuine person rather than just knowing the facts about our faith. I’m given the opportunity to grow in my faith daily, and I have learned to live life more joyously because of it.”

– Andrea Elizabeth Sanker, 11th grade

Cathedral School of St. Mary, Austin

“At Cathedral School of St. Mary, the presence of God’s beauty and love are evident throughout every aspect of the school day. Our school recognizes the importance of celebrating the languages and cultures of our diverse community while supporting some of the most vulnerable learners. It is a privilege to teach a classical curriculum and to learn alongside colleagues and students to discover what is true, good and beautiful in God’s world. Daily I am joyfully reminded of God’s love and his amazing designs in all disciplines.”

– Jennifer Smith, learning specialist

Holy Family Catholic School, Austin

“My Catholic school education has helped me become a better person in so many ways ... I have grown closer to God and I’m beginning to learn to trust him with everything. I’ve learned the importance of being kind to others and how to be a good friend … Through my family and school, I’ve grown to be more joyful. My Catholic education has allowed me to practice my faith and helped me become a joyful and loving disciple of Christ.”

– Riley Meadows, 8th grade

Holy Trinity Catholic High School, Temple

“Some might be surprised to know that I am joyful — that I enjoy my job, that I like my students, that I am excited about coming to school every day … However, I really am joyful, and I want my students to be as well. I am passionate about what I teach and encourage them to be also. My mother gave me a sign that I keep in the front of the room: ‘Teachers who love teaching teach children to love learning.’”

– Chris Mosmeyer, director of fine arts, English, forensics, Latin

Sacred Heart Catholic School, La Grange

“Being involved in Catholic education has been such a blessing. It is so much easier to keep Christ the focus of my life when he is at the forefront of everything we do at school … Much of our day is spent in prayer — before and after meals, mid-day when we stop to pray the Angelus together as a school and before we leave at the end of the day. These practices help me keep my focus on being a joyful disciple of Christ ...”

– Laura Elliott, 4th grade math/science and 6th grade ELAR/social studies

San Juan Diego Catholic High School, Austin

“I started going to a Catholic school in second grade. It brings me joy to learn about my religion and God. I have never been closer to my religion than I am now. I have also cultivated the idea of being a disciple of God. Throughout my education, I have always been encouraged to do what I can for my community. I have developed this good habit of being a disciple and much more while receiving a Catholic education.”

–  Camila Salcedo, 9th grade

Santa Cruz Catholic School, Buda

“I have attended Santa Cruz Catholic School for 10 years … Everything I have learned has helped to form me into a joyful disciple. My teachers have all invited me to become a joyful disciple by being present and sharing their knowledge. My religion teacher has a quote in his classroom that I read every day: ‘Love God, love others.’ His class has taught me about the grace of God ... My classmates have also formed me into a joyful disciple. We build each other up and support each other.”

– Alex Cisneros, 8th grade

St. Austin Catholic School, Austin

“The honor of teaching in a Catholic school is having the discussions, interactions and quiet conversations that help students discover their true value and worth far beyond any academic performance. Their faces light up with an understanding that God calls them as they are, that his love is all encompassing … My prayer is that every student graduates with the mission of being wholly holy — living fully as the person God has created and with the mission of living that light in the choices of each day.”

– Sally Doris, Middle School ELA

St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School, Austin

“Being a student at St. Dominic Savio has made me a joyful disciple because I am able to find God’s love and joy in everything I do. Having the Catholic teachings built into my high school education has made it easier for me to stay connected with my faith ... When I head to college next fall, and for the rest of my life, I will have a foundation to keep my faith strong and always have a Catholic community behind me.”

– Elena Antenora, 12th grade

St. Gabriel’s Catholic School, Austin

“When joining St. Gabriel’s as a kindergarten parent, I learned about the Catholic faith alongside my child ... In the weekly all-school Mass celebrations, Catholic traditions and faith-filled community, I found inspiration to become Catholic as well. Now I am able to joyfully share this faith every day as a staff member at the school and pray that I am able to facilitate that same amazing journey with the students.”

– Kathy Roy, director of religious education

St. Helen Catholic School, Georgetown

“Children carry within them a natural love for God and all the blessings he brings. Being in a Catholic school with them daily makes it so easy to answer the call of being a joyful disciple. My life is infinitely richer for the experiences I have had working in Catholic education.”

– Mary Kay Sims, principal

St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic School, Austin

“Growing up in a Catholic environment, especially through Catholic education, has given me many opportunities to live as a joyful disciple. It's helped me become more open about my faith, helped me understand my faith more deeply and helped me to find ways to spread God's word, even as a kid. Catholic education has shown me the importance of simple acts of kindness and has shown me how to love others as God loves us.”

– Kate Cisneros, 8th grade

St. Joseph Catholic Academy, Killeen

“My Catholic education has shaped me by making me an excellent student not only in school and sports but also in my 4-H group. I love my education because I learn not only at school but by volunteering in my community. At my school, we get a deeper understanding of what it means to Catholic through our studies in theology, Latin and weekly school Masses.”

– Hailey Dodge, 7seventh grade

St. Joseph Catholic School, Bryan

“While my responsibilities as principal cover a multitude of departments and areas, my greatest joy is in learning alongside my students and teachers about the truths of our Catholic faith. In each conversation, classroom, meeting, athletic event, and in Mass, I get to encounter Jesus with my school family … Catholic education has given me and my family a way to grow together in our faith and share it with a community of believers committed to bringing each other closer to Jesus.”

–Julia Mishler, principal

St. Louis Catholic School, Austin

“I have been a teacher for 42 years, and I can honestly say that most days my job brings me a great deal of joy. Here at St. Louis Catholic School, my joy has been heightened because I realize that God has granted me grace in helping me find a career I love. By doing it well and with enthusiasm, I am able to be a joyful disciple who spreads the joy of learning and kindness to my students.”

– Beth Foley, ELA teacher, grades 6-8

St. Mary’s Catholic School, Taylor

“As Christ is the source and summit of our greatest JOY on earth, there is no better place to live and work than in a Catholic school! Everything we do is centered on Christ … and thus the day-to-day rhythm of life is naturally joyful. Not to mention the children … Laughter abounds all over campus —- in the halls, in the classrooms, on the playground, in the gym! And the closer we bring those precious children to Jesus, the more joyful they will be!”

– Heidi Altman, head of school

St. Mary’s Catholic School, Temple

“I have been in a Catholic school since I was a child and I’ve been growing in my faith ... I’m glad I’m Catholic and that my religious education has helped me be the person I am today. I have been invited to live as a joyful disciple because of my education ... I minister my faith and stop any misunderstandings that people commonly have about Catholicism … with this education I am getting, I can make a difference.”

– Cielo Gonzalez-Fernandez, 8th grade

St. Mary’s Catholic School, West

“St. Mary’s is a beautiful place. In religion, I listen and get to know Jesus more. When I read in church, it helps me focus on Jesus. I feel like the school and my friends will always be there for me. At Good Morning St. Mary’s (morning assembly), I look around and notice how lucky I am. I want to share this and feel I can be a joyful disciple by serving others.”

– Temple Kucera, 4th grade

St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, Austin

“My grandfather was a high school teacher … I remember him once telling me that the name that Jesus was called the most in the Bible was teacher. ‘“Teaching. If it was a good enough job for oOur Lord, it must be a very special job, don’t you think?’” he said. … Tteaching is not merely a profession but a vocation. As a teacher at SMCA, I feel blessed to be able to combine my passion to serve students with my passion to serve Jesus.”

– Kathleen Dahill, English instructor

St. Theresa Catholic School, Austin

"I love being a Catholic school principal. It is my happy place. There is an indescribable joy that fills my heart each day when I arrive at St. Theresa Catholic School. This amazing community inspires me to be a model of Christ in all I say and do, and to share the joy of Christ’s love with all those I meet, for there is a world in need of God’s love.”

– Brian Wheeler, principal