Tag Archives: parents

Violeta’s Miracle?

Maria, Violeta’s mom, came into my office with Mr. May.  He said, “Maria has a story for you.”

She began in her broken English, pausing frequently to find the right word.  Occasionally, I guessed at the next word, until she said, “Just wait, you listen.”  I shut up and listened.

She continued slowly, “In January, when I found out I was expecting, I thought, ‘Oh, Lord, I have three girls, how can we manage another baby?’ and I cried for three months.  Then in March, we found out Violeta had leukemia, and I cried for two more months.  Then the doctors were trying to figure things out and who might be the best match for treating Violeta……and guess what……even though the baby was not born yet, the baby is the best match.  Rosa Maria is the best match!  So when she was born…”  There was a very long pause….

At his point the Holy Spirit is buzzing every bone in my body, and I can’t stay quiet and I said, “They saved the umbilical cord blood rich in stem cells and will use it for the transplant!”  Her smile and tears confirmed the blessing.  We smiled, laughed and hugged all at the same time.  Maria continued, “I said to the Lord, ‘Oh, sorry, sorry, sorry.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.’”

Lord, thank you for using two crosses to bless one another, and thank you for reminding us to trust in You.  Thank you for Violeta and Maria Rosa, who is now about two months old.   Her stem cells were given to Violeta on Monday, October 23rd, after the chemotherapy in which all her potentially diseased blood cells were killed.  I just spoke to Maria and she said, “Right now Violeta isn’t feeling well, but the doctors say it is all good.  We have to be very careful she does not get sick, but it is all perfect.”  (This story is retold with Maria’s permission.)  Violeta will not be back to school for a long time yet, but the road to recovery is unfolding.  Let’s thank God for His goodness!

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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.):  http://www.lincolndiocese.org/internet-protection-pornography/tools-for-parents
  • 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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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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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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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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The Power of Your Blessing

The power of a parent’s blessing to protect and sanctify children was the topic of a portion of Jesse Romero’s talk at the Christ Our Life Conference in Des Moines last weekend.  Twenty of us CK Sisters were privileged to attend.  As parents, you are charged with an awesome responsibility when God gives you a child.  It follows that He would grant you the corresponding gifts to raise them well.  What sense that makes that He would charge your blessing with efficacy!  The primacy of the supernatural over the natural would point toward the power of a parent’s blessing.

As teachers, we also have a formative responsibility.  Therefore, grace is to be had in blessings.  Our teachers often intercede for their children.  Some also bless them, either physically, or silently.

I asked some sixth graders how they feel about their daily blessing by Sister Mary Guadalupe as they leave the classroom.  I edited a few things in their comments, (mostly taking out “like”) but here’s what they said:  (The pictures do not necessarily correspond with the text under them.)


I feel like she really cares about us.

She wants us to be safe.

They make me feel good inside especially if I have been flustered.

It makes you feel grateful; grateful for everything.

It makes me feel like you love me.

Happy that I learned a bunch of stuff and that good things happened during the day and that we had a fun time.

It just keeps God with you the rest of the day and throughout the night and it just seems to keep me happier.

She wants us to have a nice day.

I feel holy.

I feel that she does it to make us happy and to give extra graces to go on with our day.

It is hard to put into words….it makes me feel special.

It makes me feel safer and happier at the end of the day.

I think it’s great that she gives us an extra blessing; we always need extra blessings.

It makes me feel like our teachers really like us.

I feel like I am good when I leave.

The blessing at the end of the day means she cares for us.

At the end of the day I like it because then you feel like you’re not just leaving all empty.

I feel like it’s a good way to end the day.


I encourage you to bless your children.  Trace the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads before they go to bed.  A little holy water can also help, but don’t let the lack of holy water hold you back.  Your love and the physical touch of blessing, reinforces the love you have for them and makes it tangible in yet another way.  A blessing mixes your love with the Father’s love, and pours it over them.  Can you think of anything better?

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