Category Archives: education

Holy Week – the Ultimate Shift!

The biggest Feast of the Church year, the epicenter event of our faith – Easter.  I wondered if it was ever going to get here!  Lent is like that sometimes, okay, always.  The end of Lent approaches.  The time between Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil requires a colossal liturgical mood change.  While the change happens overnight, it is important to live in the present moment.  I have to work hard to focus and keep my mind on today and now; don’t think about tomorrow, stay where I am today.  That can be a real challenge, but the more I observe Lent and the day at hand these last days, the more joy-filled and poignant Easter becomes.  I wonder how Our Blessed Mother didn’t implode and then explode between the sorrow of the cross and the joy of the Resurrection.  Maybe she did, that’s why the Spirit left us little news of her those three days and immediately following.  He put her back together, after the explosion if there was one, that is certain.  Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, upon whose writings The Passion of the Christ movie is based, says that Jesus “stayed with her a very long time as her sorrow had been so deep.”

Triduum

Titanic shifts like this one are mirrored in life.  The ultimate one, I think, will be at the point of death, please God.  May it mirror Jesus’ Resurrection, not so much in the passion – if He will in His mercy grant us a bye there – but in the glory of heaven.  May we wake up one day on the other side to see His Glory in ways we cannot imagine!

But hush, it is not time yet to look at His glory; rather be in the now.  Be where your hands are.  Receive the grace of the present moment.  For a few ways to help your kids stay in the days, our Sisters in the primary grades have found a website with a few ideas at http://eyesonheaven.net/good-friday-activities/ .  The Church’s liturgies are obviously a great way to live these days.

Sometimes kids need a little something else to help.  When they were kids, the Dunavan Sisters (Sister Mary Fidelis and Sister Mary Agnes) used to have to go pick up rocks for a while on Good Friday.  If you don’t have a place with rocks, maybe your child could descend into the tomb and clean out or off the floor of their closet.  The Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy are also beautiful devotions.

I’m praying that our hearts may receive well the graces of the sacred time of today.  I need to remember the door of my heart opens only from the inside.  Yours, too?

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Violeta and Our Kids

In the words of her sister, “Violeta has cancer in her blood”.  Only six years old and a beautiful little girl, these events remind me again that He is God and I am not, as it doesn’t make sense to me.  Still we trust in the Lord and do all we can to help.  (See the Litany of Trust from two weeks ago if you need help there.)

We are praying for Violeta.  Several things have converged together as we learned of Violeta’s illness:

  • Cece, who assists in our school, suggested we pray to St. Jacinta. (Cece’s suggestion reminds me of the young girl in the story of Naaman the leper who suggests the army general go to the prophet in Samaria to be healed.  (2 Kings 5: 1-13)  I love it when the little among us have great ideas on which we take action.)
  • Jacinta is one of the three children of Fatima. She along with her brother Francisco will be canonized in a few weeks on May 13, the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance in Fatima.
  • Jacinta was a six year old girl who was ill, much like Violeta.
  • Jacinta was Portuguese, Violeta is Hispanic; they even look a bit alike!
  • And the clincher for me, which came after the other realizations……Violeta’s last name is Jacinto!

And so we pray often.  Each day at the closing announcements we pray, “For Violeta, St. Jacinta, Intercede for her,” three times.  The children are also praying in their families and classrooms, as are the faculty and many adults.

Helping is taking the form of prayer and action.  The Student Council members are getting white bracelets with orange lettering, the colors of Leukemia Awareness.  They will say, “Team Violeta” on one side and “St. Jacinta, Intercede for her!” on the other. They are teaming up with the Rosary Makers for a package deal, or will also offer an ala carte option, I would imagine.

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The Rosary Makers have gone mad; mad as in making rosaries like crazy and marketing them for the cause, even faster than they can make them.  Taking orders for specific colors has allowed them to manage the flow.  The girls who channeled the rosary-making efforts in the sixth grade toward helping Violeta are clearly evidencing the feminine genius in their desire to help, as well as organizing the project and carrying it through.  Sister Mary Guadalupe hardly knew what she was starting when a few months ago she offered to teach anyone who wanted to learn how to tie the knots.

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After the children launched the rosary-making for Violeta, and Sister was placing yet another order for rosary rope, we wondered if the twine makers might be willing to join in the work of charity.  Sister sent the following email:

Praised be Christ our King! What high quality twine and beautiful colors you provide for our rosary making!  A few of us, Sisters, have been making rosaries for several years, and your company has become the “go to” place for the best materials.  This year I taught my 6th grade students to make the knotted rope rosaries and many (about 40 out of 61) have become rather proficient making them. Since January, I have placed 2 orders for 10 spools of twine and many of my students have ordered on their own as well. We run out quickly each time. This morning two of my students had an inspiration that they would like to help one of our kindergartners (who was diagnosed with leukemia last week) and her family by selling some of the rosaries that they have made (and will make) as a fundraiser. They also want to make rosaries for children in the missions through the Holy Father’s Missionary Childhood Association. Would you consider assisting with this project by donating some twine or giving us a discounted price, or maybe even free shipping? We would be grateful for any assistance that you would be able to give and are grateful for the resources you provide to spread the kingdom of God through the rosary.  Recently I had to limit the children to taking only one rope to tie at a time, as they have become rosary-making maniacs.  The troubles we have some days are not what one might think!  Thank you and God bless you!

In His Love,

Sister Mary Guadalupe

The response of Twine By Design:

Good Afternoon Sister Mary.  After explaining your needs to our President of Twine By Design, he would like to make a donation of the twine.  Please email us your order instead of going through the website.  It is so wonderful that your students are interested in doing this as a fund raiser to help the other student and their family.  I am so sorry the youngster is ill.  I could not imagine having to go through that at all.

Thank you and God Bless,

Twine By Design Customer Service

 

Then a little later they added:

Hi Sister Mary, I wanted to also maybe make a suggestion, I don’t know which colors you were interested in, but we do have the option of making some or all of them the Leukemia Awareness colors (orange and white).  We were not sure how much you were looking at having donated, but we can mix and match if you want certain colors that are on our website and if you wanted the Leukemia Awareness colors we would be willing to make you some of that as well.  Please let us know exactly what you would like and we will get it together for you.

Thank you again,

Twine By Design Customer Service

What a beautiful response from the company!  That’s http://twinebydesign.blogspot.com/  if you want to support them, a good number of our kids are launching off on making their own rosaries.

Thank you for your prayers for Violeta.  She is doing considerably better and is in the midst of a four-week round of chemotherapy in Omaha at Children’s Hospital.  If you’d like a rosary or to contribute to a fund for Violeta email to office@stpeterslincoln.com. or send a note to school.

For Violeta, St. Jacinta, Intercede for her.

St. Jacinta, Intercede for her.

St. Jacinta, Intercede for her.

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Our Lady’s Rosary Makers – Not What You Think

IMG_4401Sixth graders are on fire.  They have made hundreds of cord rosaries and it appears we are still early in the process.  Eighth grade Giana Girls are also engaging in the process.  Even some fourth graders have gotten involved.  Sister Mary Guadalupe is the main instigator, and she is willing to teach a new Rosary Devotee how to tie a knot any chance she gets.

This week a small group of sixth graders came to me with a charitable request.  IMG_4397One of our kindergartners has recently been diagnosed with leukemia.  The girls, some of whom have very close associations with leukemia in their own families, wanted to help that kindergartner and her family.  They’d like to market their rosaries for her.  I love how their hearts that are making the connection that we could do this to help another.  The boys will be helping, too, but this core group has a good dose of the feminine genius that we will fan into flame.  They have the green light from me to proceed with their plan.  They have a strategy for posters as well as a time and place to engage not only the school community, but also our parish and a couple other parishes.  Some have also begun to reach out to their family members.  The leadership ability of these young people is growing, as is their charity to those in need.

IMG_4402We have been communicating with the cord manufacturers to see if they, too, would like to contribute to our cause.  I’m wondering who they think is on the other end of the communique.  Sisters in their 80s are a grace for the Church (someday I hope to be one), but that is not the “Rosary Makers” of today, here at our school!

Just yesterday a few eighth graders proposed a project to promote solidarity and prayer for the same intention…more on that next week.  In the meantime, join us in prayer for that little one and her family.  Many of our children have “tied one on” literally.  May they tie Rosary knots for charity and the good of the Mystical Body with regularity throughout their lives.

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Only a Good Friend Tells Me There is Breakfast on My Face

A while back a few of the little people in my life were visiting with me after lunch.  I had some fragment of lunch on my habit.  One of the little ones said, “Sister you have something on your……on your……..on your altar.”  How do you not laugh at their comments! We all need a little chuckle especially during Lent.

In Baptism each of us is given a share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  My altar is the desk of my office, my pew in chapel, the dining room table, the kitchen, the garden.  From each of these I offer to the Lord a sacrifice of love.  Some are so easy to give, even a joy to give, others, well, not so much a joy, but probably even more meritorious to give.

If I had a child, or better yet children, in diapers, I would put a crucifix over the changing table.  Just high enough that the little one wouldn’t be able to reach it at the maximum size for that changing table.  That would be my place of sanctity, the best place to offer to God a sacrifice of love.  (I have yet to run into anyone who says, “I just love changing a good dirty diaper!”)  As a former student of mine who now has seven children said to me just this week,  “I’m counting on God’s grace for all the little things I do to keep our home running.  I couldn’t do them without Him, and I wouldn’t do them all if it weren’t for Him.”  That’s a woman becoming holy.  God be praised.  May we all be among the faithful becoming a bit more holy.  Where is your altar of sacrifice?

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Hey, what are you doing in my soul?

On rare occurrences, a phrase strikes me as so true that it seems like it flowed  right out of my soul, or straight from God’s heart to mine, where it fits like home.  The Litany of Trust has more than just a few such lines.  We, as CKs, used the litany of trust as the novena prayer for our recent retreat for young women discerning important life matters.

For me, each of the lines is cause for a long meditation. As it is Lent, if the Litany does the same for you, I wonder if there is a place for it in your Lenten practices too.

LITANY OF TRUST

From the belief that I have to earn Your love,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear that I am unlovable,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the false security that I have what it takes,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From all suspicion of Your words and promises,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your Will,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From anxiety about the future,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From resentment, or excessive preoccupation with the past,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From restless self-seeking of the present moment,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From disbelief in Your love and presence in the midst of suffering and trial,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being asked to give more than I have,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of what love demands,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From discouragement,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

 That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings, and transforms me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That you are with me in my suffering,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That my sufferings, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That Your plan is better than anything else,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You always hear me and, in Your goodness, always respond to me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You provide the grace to forgive myself and others,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That my life is a gift,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You will teach me to trust You,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You are my Lord and my God,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That I am Your beloved one,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Sister Faustina Maria, SV

I have worked with Sister Faustina Maria on a few occasions.  She is not a Saint from long ago, but a young Sister filled with life in the Sisters of Life in New York City.  God bless her, clearly this Litany is the fruit of prayer!  Thank you for your willingness to share the fruit of prayer, Sister.  It seems appropriate to close with the Church’s symbol for trust and hope, the ANCHOR.  It helps us stay firmly grounded amidst the storms of life.

anchr

Blessed Lent to you all!

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Catholic Schools Week

Catholic Schools Week – this year day 100 of school happens on Tuesday, too.  Both are big events in the primary grades.    The following display beautifully combines both of them.

img_4267It amazes me the variety of things that the children get excited about.  There’s kudos from the children to so many in our school on this wall.  We have everything represented from Father Townsend to flash cards, the Sisters to hot lunch.  Grandparent’s day is also on the wall.

Other events for the week include:

Monday –Parent and Grandparents’ Day – Come for Mass, a donut with your children/grandchildren and a program by the children.

Tuesday – Student Day – Madonna Wellness and Safety programs, Read and Feed, and Ice Cream Sundaes are in order

Wednesday – the Lord’s Day – we have Exposition after Mass and Adoration through the day with Benediction at 3:00.  We also have a vocation panel of a seminarian, novice and a Knight of the Holy Eucharist.

Thursday – Missions Day – 6th graders run a mission Carnival for the younger children which will culminate in  “Kissing of the Pig” by the teacher in whose bank the most money is placed!  Mary’s Meals is the undisputed winner as all proceeds go there.

Friday – Faculty and Staff Day – SFA (School Family Association) hosts a luncheon for all teachers and staff after the 1:30 dismissal.

We will be compiling a large cross on the wall made of contributions from all the children.  Kids come dressed in variations on the norm throughout the week, from faith based shirts to pajamas (this one took a little while to sell to me, but the kids had fun with it last year.)

We look forward very much to the upcoming week.  If children are sick next week it is not uncommon for them to be in tears as they really do not want to miss the festivities planned.  May God continue to bless our school, our families and our efforts to be conformed to His likeness.

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Jesus is the Reason

Jesus loves you, He came as a Baby to prove it, and He would eventually die on the cross to show it again.  Our program last night, A Children’s Story of Christmas, highlighted that with clarity.  The children emphasized the message with the joy and innocence of children, cute animals, A REAL BABY in a live nativity, graceful dancers, actors, and, last but not least this year, hand bells and a violin!

Beautiful Children

Cute Animals

Classical education involves beauty, truth, and a degree of timelessness.  All three were incorporated with dignity, portraying the most important message ever brought to earth.  Thank you, Miss Bohlig, who directed and wrote the play.  Thanks also especially to Mrs. Purbaugh and Miss Barry who were instrumental in helping every step of the way.  We also appreciate your efforts as parents and teachers to work with many details to make the whole play successful.

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Live Nativity

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Graceful Dancers

A parent sent an email this morning, illustrating that this is not done without a lot of effort!  Permission was given to quote the note anonymously:

Good Morning!  I had to send you a quick note of thanks after seeing the Christmas play yesterday.  I have to admit that after going to one of the practices a few weeks ago, I was worried about these kids pulling it all together.  I think they all did a fabulous job and it is a testament to your ability to lead them and pull out their unique sets of talent.  I can only imagine how much work this was – thank you so much for providing a great experience to the students and wonderful memories for all of their families!!

This year’s performance was definitely one of my favorites.  (and not because ________ was in it!!)  I loved that it was so simple and that the nativity was the center of the program rather than just something something touched on towards the end.  It really put me in the Christmas spirit!

Job well done by all!!  Thank you for all of the time and effort you put into this play and into these students.

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Hand Bells and Violin

Another quote, “That big fellow and the twenty pound hand bell lends masculinity to the handbell choir!”

big-bell

Yet another, “That was beautiful!  The last song left me with tears in my eyes!”

sisthThanks, Lord, for helping provide the talent and the guidance to put together such events in Your honor!

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