Landon the Bug Whisperer

I’m not real fond of bugs.  I can kill a big spider if I need to, but if there’s another capable party, I’ll watch thank you.  Not so for Landon!

IMG_4515Before school in the courtyard, the second graders are pretty much all on an insect hunt!  It is obvious they are in the midst of a bug unit.  Though we have yet to complete two weeks of school, they are all about the bugs.  I find Landon in the courtyard with a HUGE CICADA on his shirt.  IMG_4512He is not screaming, not squirming, not chasing other children around with it, not doing most of the things I might expect an average second grade boy to do with a large scary looking bug.  Rather, he is calmly putting it on his shirt where others are getting close up to take a good look.  If it moves he gently picks it off his shirt and moves it to where he wants it.  As he pulls it off his shirt, I’m glad to see those little pinching gripping legs are not pull threads loose on his shirt.  I’m also working hard to look very calm and asking him to not let it crawl very far up toward his face, which he seems not to mind in the least.  Right after we took these pictures, Landon points up and says, “Look there,  a moth!”  IMG_4517It was way up on the roof of the awning; yes, he has a clear dose of love of the great outdoors and the Father’s little animals.

He is a Bug Whisperer of sorts.  Calm, draws them to himself without hurting them, he enjoys them.  I won’t go so far as to say the bugs enjoy him, as I can’t read the enjoyment level of a bug, but they sure are not scared of him, or that thing would have flown, ran, bit or scratched.

There’s pretty much a room full of Bug Whisperers in there.  I went in for the photo op this morning and asked who really likes bugs.  The hands shot up everywhere, so here’s a few of them in front of the themed bulletin board.  IMG_4519Clearly Mrs. Magnuson, too, is a Bug Whisperer.  Sister Mary Maximilian collected a few specimens at the Motherhouse for the crew, but she does not get the title of Whisperer, me either.  Nevertheless it is beautiful to see the Spirits gifts in others and in His creation appreciated by his children.  Well done, Father, Mrs. Magnuson, Landon and the whole lot of you!

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Eclipse of _____Doubt?

OK, I’ll admit it, I was impressed.  I knew the eclipse would be rare, time wise especially, but I did not anticipate it would be as awe inspiring as it was.  When I took my little glasses out and looked at the sun on a normal day preparing for the eclipse, the sun was puny.  About the size of a pea in my funky glasses.  So as the eclipse develops we get half a pea, yup, that’s how I was viewing it, still it is rare and we need to plan for it with the rest of the world.  To me it highlighted the regularity and predictability of the planets in their rotation more than putting a pretty picture before me.

Yesterday, God became more of an artist in my mind.

He was a master creator, and made beautiful things, but He did this one for those few minutes for our pleasure, and I really enjoyed it with 500 of my friends, big and little.

Mr. Vu also added a beautiful dimension to the day! Hole cameras constructed with binoculars, made the pea into an egg sized image.  Great improvement!

With the slight cloud cover, I thought we might get nothing, but the sun came right through.  Still I thought, we can see the sun and the partial phases, but in totality, we get no direct sun, so will the clouds, block the corona entirely?  I had no clue, but we all went out to see.  God had such a surprise in store for all of us.  Young and old, we all got to take it in, even the very little ones, watched the darkness descend for a few minutes.  I was so taken with the sky that I didn’t realize it got that dark until I looked at the pictures.IMG_4281

Oh God of wonders, thanks for sharing one with us yesterday.

We praise you.

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Eclipse on the Horizon

We are very much looking forward to next Monday’s eclipse! The visual below is one of my favorites from NASA.

eclipse paths

The rarity and predictability of the eclipses strikes me to the core with the complexity and REGULARITY of the orbit of the planets.  The planets have been orbiting for a long time, and if their orbits were even a little bit off meaning farther away of closer, they would eventually either fly into space or be pulled into the gravity of the planet around which they orbit.  But NO, when God placed the planets in motion he did so with a perfect balance between the centrifugal force of their mass in orbit and the gravity of the planet around which they orbit, and the Father did that for each one!  And then He waits for us to figure it out and be in awe!

 We hope to open ourselves to His wonders on Monday.  To do so with our children we will need to follow a plan and have a good deal of order for the sake of taking in the experience and doing so safely.  Here’s the general plan:

  • During recess Mr. Peter Vu, who has been dubbed our specialist for the event, will have a tent up and children may view the preliminary developments via a pin hole box or using the Solar Safety glasses.
  • About 15 minutes before the eclipse we will have a fire drill.
  • Children will move to their assigned spots on the new parking lot.

 site with parents

  •  In order to take in the sounds, possible temperature change, and growing darkness, we are going to ask the children to be quiet until after the eclipse (second whistle)
  • Children may sit, or stand, depending upon age and stability on their feet when they get to their spot.  Teachers will be with their classes
  • Anyone looking up at the sun must put their glasses on before looking up.
  • A minute before “totality” we will ask all children to put their glasses on via the PA system.
  • Ten seconds into totality, one whistle will sound.  All may safely take off their glasses and view the total eclipse.
  • One minute later (ten seconds before the eclipse ends), a whistle will sound twice signaling all to put their glasses back on and safely view the ending of the totality phase.
  • When the whistle sounds twice the children may speak and emote all they wish.

If you wish to join us you are welcome!  They say viewing with a group adds to the experience!  If you need glasses from us here we have several extra pair.  Call 402-421-6299 or email the office to reserve a pair.

  • If parents wish to join us for viewing, the old parking lot near the basketball poles would be a good place.  During the ten minutes the children are asked to be quiet, to be able to take in the sounds, we would appreciate the same from the parent area.
  • If you wish to have your child with you, please come early enough to sign them out at the front desk (10:30 at the latest), and then view by the bell tower if you wish to stay on the grounds.

SUN AND MOON, Bless the Lord!

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Glad to See a Sad Kid?

It just doesn’t sound Christian to be glad to see a sad kid.  I must confess, I kind of was.  This is what I saw.  Typically that little fellow comes out of school running 100 mph, gives his dad a hug and off they go.  This day, he trudged out, the weight of the world upon his little shoulders, slumped.  He looked up at his dad.  A tear or two rolled.  Dad bent down, and as they left, dad said to me, “He loves his teacher.”  It was the last day of school.  Yes, I was kind of glad to see more than one sad child leaving.  I must add I saw the same among the teachers.  One of them shared that, though she had no intention of letting any emotion out, it just happened.  One of the more callous boys said, “Oh boy, here she goes again.”  You have to love them!

God be praised for kids who love school and their teachers, and teachers who love their kids.  We are here to teach and learn; that works a lot better when we love, too.

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Eighth Grade Interview Highlight

The adolescent came in with confidence, gently closed the door, sat down, smiled and introduced himself.      Later in the interview came the phrase that warmed my heart, the one that evidenced maturity that goes far beyond his junior high aged soul.

The question posed to the student in the interview was, “Considering the long term and short term in life, what are your goals?”  I was pleased to hear several start with, “Well, heaven, of course,” then go on from there.  Many mentioned God’s will.  The one that grabbed my heart was the boy who, after mentioning striving to do well in high school and college, said, “…and have a strong Catholic family and SERVE THEM WELL.”

I could go on a long time about the science of the adolescent brain and delayed development of the frontal lobe.  The news typically brings us negative news about the evidence of such, of which I will go on NO LONGER.

Here’s a young man, who has witnessed the goodness of Christian giving and longs to be able to spend himself in love of others in the context of family, or who knows, maybe a parish.  Either way, GOD BE PRAISED.  It is good to see such vivid examples of the fruit of grace in their soul.  May He bring to fulfillment the good work He has begun.

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Porn-proofing your Kids – the ESSENTIAL Conversation


From an email this morning, (shared here with permission):

“I absolutely loved the meeting last night. Father is spot on and did a good job being direct and to the point.  Everyone needs to hear his message, even those without children.  Is it possible to put the video on the St. Peter’s website after tonight’s replay?  I think so many good Catholic families could benefit from this. Even our CCD families.

Thank you for “forcing” us to attend.  I will be honest, I had no desire to go.  I thought “really, another meeting?”  I am so thankful I went.  Powerful stuff.

God bless!

LeAnn Hofeling”

I don’t like calling meetings any more than you like going to them.  Yet, some things you just have to do.  We requested “required attendance” by a parent of each family with a child in 6th-8th grades.  The bleachers were full.  God be praised.  We will pick up a good number more tonight with the second meeting where we will view a recording of the meeting.

A couple things Father Kilcawley said struck me in a new way:

  • First, a child’s first exposure to pornography is basically never their fault. Kids feel like it is among the most grievous thing they have ever done, but more than likely they have stumbled upon it or been led there by one who will deeply need God’s mercy.  (Do you know what a mill stone is?)  The conversation about that first experience of your child with porn is essential.
  • The kitchen lockbox – The likelihood of a child with a bit of insomnia coming back after the phone later at night is rather high, probably not often but occasionally. The box on the kitchen counter with a timer that unlocks automatically makes so much sense.  Kids are not waiting for someone to remember to unlock the box either.  All can be confident, when the time elapses, the box opens. I will get my device back in the morning, kids can be assured.
  • One parent told me, “Going into the meeting I thought, ‘I use computers all the time every day. Do we really need this software?’  Coming out I thought, ‘YES.’”
  • Another said, “I used to get all my girls’ texts on my phone. After school my phone would blow up each day.  I couldn’t wade through all that, so now I have software that monitors.  I still check occasionally, but the software sure helps.”

In a few days we will have a link to the meeting available also.  While Father’s explanation was much more than the resources given, several people have asked for information on those items.  Resources referenced last night:

  1. Diocesan Website tools for parents (how to talk to them about porn, how to install filters, etc.):
  • Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen Jensen (Fr. recommended to introduce around 2nd grade)
  • Wonderfully Made! Babies by Ellen Giangiordano (Fr. recommended to introduce around 4th grade)
  • Plunging Pornography: A Catholic Bathroom Book by D.J. Hueneman  (for teens)
  • Every Parent’s Battle: A Family Guide to Resisting Pornography by Dan Spencer III

Thank you, parents.  They are your kids, yours is the primary responsibility for forming their souls.  I am glad to work with you, as are our teachers.  Working TOGETHER is ESSENTIAL.  We will continue to work at improving our school, as you work so hard to build sound homes.  Sometimes, when I see and hear things that impact our culture so profoundly, I must call a time out for a huddle so we can collaborate and continue on in the game with greater unity.  God be praised.  May the little beneficiaries of our work continue to grow in wisdom, age and grace, and may we do so too in the process.

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First Communion, Last Communion, Only Communion


I remember my First Communion dress.  I was five years younger than my next sibling, so we no longer had a hand-me-down dress.  Instead, I borrowed from a neighbor in town whose daughter was a year older than me.  I was especially tall for my age so I recall that my mom had to add two layers of 3-inch wide lace to the bottom to make it long enough!

Every year, First Communion brings back memories.  The second graders’ faces are always beaming as they line up to process in to Mass.  Their hearts are bursting with excitement and nervousness as they prepare to receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the very first time.  It’s a beautiful time for all of us adults to renew our own love and devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  Our Founder, Bishop Flavin, would often remind us Sisters of a maxim that used to be found in most church sacristies as the priest was vesting for Mass.  It says:

“Offer this Mass as if it were your First Mass, your Last Mass, your Only Mass.”  In the same way, we should

receive Communion as if it were your First Communion, your Last Communion, your Only Communion.

cropped rejoicing

From the book, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, Lucia shares about her First Communion day:

Once the Mass began and the great moment drew near, my heart beat faster and faster, in expectation of the visit of the great God who was about to descend from heaven, to unite Himself to my poor soul.  I had the good fortune to be the first one to receive.  As the priest was coming down the altar steps, I felt as though my heart would leap from my breast.  But he had no sooner placed the Divine Host on my tongue than I felt an unalterable serenity and peace.  I felt myself bathed in such a supernatural atmosphere that the presence of our dear Lord became as clearly perceptible to me as if I had seen and heard Him with my bodily senses.  I then addressed my prayer to Him:  “O Lord, make me a saint.  Keep my heart always pure, for you alone.”  Then it seemed that in the depths of my heart, our dear Lord distinctly spoke these words to me:  “The grace granted to you this day will remain living in your soul, producing fruits of eternal life.”

(Lucia and 1910 children in Portugal dressed for First Communion)

Thank you for celebrating the sacraments with your children!  The importance of consistent celebration of the sacraments as proscribed by the Church is essential for the children’s formation.  You are showing your children that their relationship with God is a priority (far greater than soccer, dance, etc.).  After all, this is THE relationship that matters most in life and will last into eternity!  If you know of friends who don’t take their children to Mass every Sunday maybe you could offer to take their children with you when you go to Mass.  Perhaps seeing their children’s desire will be an instrument of conversion in their own hearts.  After all, the gift of the Real Presence of Jesus is an amazing miracle and privilege.   We can exclaim in a more concrete way than Moses who asked the people of Israel, “What great nation is there that has gods so close to it as our God is to us whenever we call upon Him?”  Indeed, Jesus waits for and longs for us in the Blessed Sacrament.  His delight is to dwell in our hearts whenever we receive Him.  Let us all aim to make every Communion as if it were our First Communion, our Last Communion, our Only Communion.

God bless you!

Sister Mary Angela, C.K.

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