by Carol Landry, Journey Community, Austin, Texas
Latin. Hebrew. Academia. Vincentians. Theresians. How do these themes converge? Meet Dorothy Stewart, an 89-year-old member of the Theresian community, Companions on the Journey in Austin, Texas. While not officially a “Woman of Wisdom,” Dorothy is an inspiration to her community and has much wisdom to share with us all.
Dorothy craved books and knowledge at a young age growing up in New England yet was often deterred by her teachers and even librarians, as was the case, sadly, for many young girls in the early 20th century. She pressed on and fortunately through the years had some teachers and nuns who were willing to help her advance, one even teaching her to sing Gregorian chants and another from the Jewish Theological Seminary who taught her the story of Esther. However, when Dorothy had a class in Latin, she felt a real calling. She received a scholarship to college and chose to study Latin. She went on to teach at several universities in the US. Even now, Dorothy has a full schedule tutoring students in Latin and English.
Dorothy has been active in the St. Vincent de Paul Society for many years, and only somewhat recently discovered Theresians. Now, she considers Theresians her sisterhood. She does not have a sister of her own; her Theresian community members are her sisters. They are her safe place. They are her rock.
And this very special, very humble lady is a guide and mentor and inspiration to many.