Tag Archives: children

Jacob’s Leg and Grace

One of our older boys , Jacob, was involved in a very odd accident when a vehicle in attempting to avoid a car in front of them struck a group of students on the sidewalk as they were leaving after spending some time standing up for life.  I have observed many things since then, among them:

  • Jacob has built the Mystical Body of Christ through his suffering.
  • The remorse of the man in error has been noted by many, even Jacob’s mom.
  • Deb, Jacob’s mom is also witnessing to grace received.  When asked what it was like getting that call, Deb who was out of town at the time, commented that her husband, Wayne, was close by and what a blessing that was.  (She didn’t get stuck on being out of town, I think I would have.)
  • Jacob’s joy in the midst of the cross has been beautiful.  His mood at the hospital has been so good.
  • A few days into the hospital stay Deb arrived for a visit.  Can you imagine a mother’s pain upon arriving and hearing your son in the next room getting the packing removed from the wound?  He doesn’t know you are there, but you can hear him in a whole lot of pain.  Deb didn’t dwell on the trauma of hearing that, but was only concerned about her son.  I couldn’t get past that detail in my own mind, I’m not sure who experienced more pain from that scene, Jacob or Deb.  Deb must understand Our Blessed Mother a bit more after that experience.
  • Staying upbeat when you have three chipped vertebrae and a severe wound, builds not only the Mystical Body, it also sets a great example for those around you.  Thanks, Jacob.
  • The students and staff here have been visiting Jacob, and inquiring about him.  Visiting the sick is a corporal work of mercy.  Keep it up, 8th graders!
  • The children have gladly joined together in prayer for Jacob, and he and his family can feel the benefits.
  • Jacob and his family have been grateful for the prayers and works of mercy.
  • Father Townsend has been to visit a few times and brings back a good report.  That’s our pastor!

I just got off the phone with Deb, Jacob is headed home, and very soon this afternoon it looks like!

Lord, help Jacob continue to heal well, bless him and his family, and bring good from this accident as only You can.   (Deb thanks for permission to print this.)

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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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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!”

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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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Presents vs. Presence

When I was a little girl, each Christmas we received one new family game, encouraging us to play something together.  That’s a present that leads to presence.

Presence wins over presents very often.    How many of you that have a child in kindergarten or first grade came to the Christmas program yesterday?  Was it necessary?  Could you have simply told your child that you would have someone tape them singing and would watch it later at home?  Kids love to have someone come watch them…..What a joy to see their beaming faces in person and knowing that they are watching for you to watch?

Watching that program in person was a real treat.  (And I’ve seen lots of Christmas programs!)  I was present to see a couple little ones up front put their whole hearts into the songs.  I was present when “Mary” got up the courage to go back on stage after she had stage fright.  I was present to experience the utter delight of children and parents alike as the students held their elbows to the side for what seemed an eternity before they skyrocketed upward as they sang, “We………………………..WISH you a Merry Christmas!”  You wouldn’t have wanted to miss that program.  Yet, so often there are obstacles to genuine presence with those we love.

070Recently I was talking with a parent who said, “I’m quitting Facebook, I don’t use it much but every time I do, I feel like a rotten spouse and parent.  People only post their “A game” items.  Those don’t happen every hour or even every day.  We see their “A game” and feel like, ‘Aw, gee, I never make those cute little treats for my kids…..etc, etc’“  She said the technology was not helping her in the long run so she was finding ways to step back.  She is working on presence to those closest to her.

I’d like to follow-up with last week’s note and give a few more compelling reasons for stepping back from technology with young children.  Last week we noted the correlation between technology use and a decreased ability to self-regulate and an increase in tantrums and impulsivity.  Further reasons:

2) Delayed physical development likely caused by decreased movement which enhances attention and learning ability.

3) Sleep deprivation fostered by 75% of kids having technology available to them in their rooms.

4) Mental illness, specifically depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, ADD, and a host of others, associated with technology use.    Adolescents are experiencing a similar experience to the mom I spoke to in paragraph 3.  In summary they are led to think, “Look at all the fun things every other kid gets to do and here I sit at home……”  Little do they know what a blessing home is for them.  Kids need to learn to handle boredom.  Figuring out how to stimulate our minds or finding some activity which I enjoy, constitute essential parts of maturation.

I had better stop there as one can only handle so much of the quagmire.

Jesus stepped into our quagmire to pull us out of it.  He also sends grace to help us figure out how to make our way out.  May this Advent bring you the openness of heart to accept these gifts from our loving Father, for which He sent His Son to earth.

Thank you, children for bringing to life the joy of Christmas.  We could see joy and heartfelt love so clearly on your faces!

May His decision to be present among us enable us to be more present to each other in His name.

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Goodness In Action

The Sisters and I came across this scene as we left school at 4:45.

teddyLook closely at the little fellow, he’s hardly as tall as the pews, when on his knees as pictured here.  He’s praying the Stations of the Cross.  I’m not sure if he can read the words in the book he is using or if he uses the pictures, but it doesn’t matter, prayer is more important than reading, and this little fellow is at prayer.  His family has a holy hour and we often see them on the same day of the week as we gather in Church to check out with the Lord before returning to the convent.  He does my heart good, I know Catholic Education is good, very good, but Lord thanks for the confirmation in the flesh.

flag-folding

Speaking of confirmations of goodness, our Student Council also did a beautiful job with the Flag Folding Ceremony.  Mike Smith our custodian, is a career military man.  He would want me to add in, not just military, Army!  Quite some time ago we spoke of a short Veteran’s Day commemoration after Mass on Nov. 11th.  Mike said he would take care of it.  When you have a good man saying he will take care of it, you trust he will do so, especially a military man.  So I asked few questions, other than, Mike it can’t be longer than 10 to 15 minutes, please.  Kids and teachers have to get back to class and to work….WOW did he and the kids put on a beautiful Flag Folding Ceremony.

Mike began with the two daily bugle calls from military bases, retreat and call to colors during which the Student Council processed in with a large flag.  The music and the colors were very striking.  The attention of all was riveted.  Then as Mr. Smith read the meaning of each fold the students folded the flag beautifully.  For adolescents, whom we later learned were new to flag folding, to do such a solemn job with dignity is a tribute to them and to Mr. Smith.  WELL DONE.

Just over a week ago, our children presented our pastor with a spiritual bouquet for his Feastday.  For those of you who are not familiar with Spiritual Bouquets, they are a gathering of prayers for an individual.  Here the artist of the card presents the card to Father.  Inside the prayers of the students are listed, thousands of them!  You can see the card a little better in one picture than in the other.

first-grade-prayersFinally, first graders are taking their rosaries to Mass and diligently praying for the poor souls.  On their way back to the classroom after Mass, their teacher heard one of them say to another, “I think I got one today.”  (Praying for souls to be released from Purgatory……one more in heaven?)  If he didn’t have one before that act of faith, I think the Lord would bring another soul to heaven on the merits and confidence of that little child.  And again this morning one of the little ones said, “I prayed one hundred Hail Marys for those guys.”  He used the time during communion profitably as well as those minutes before Mass!  Well done!

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