Monday, August 22, 2011

Do you remember the first time you saw a Sister in habit?

Do you remember the first time you saw a Sister in habit? What was your reaction? Do you remember watching to see if you could get a glimpse of the Sister's hair when she wore the wimple, or a chance to see her ankle or did she change the style of her shoe from one with a heel to no heel? I remember noticing little things like that when I had Sisters in grade school at St. Mary's School in Luxemburg. Well, that is what I am experiencing now being the first Sister in habit here at All Saints School. Here are a few examples to illustrate this:

1) About day 4 that I was working at the school, my janitor who is in his early 60's and not Catholic came up to me and said, May I ask you a personal question?  Sure. How many blouses do you have and skirts? You wear the same thing everyday. So I explained about the habit, the vow of poverty etc. Do you mind just wearing the same color always? No, I get use to it. You don't have to think too hard in the morning when you're getting dressed as to what to wear. He just nodded his head as I saw the wheels turning. Thank you- I was just wondering.

2) I have been here more than a month and it isn't as hot as Yuma or Hawaii and I thought I can wear a black blouse today instead of my usual white blouse and vest. Do clothes make a difference? Do people notice what Sisters wear? You better believe they do. I wasn't on campus a half hour when I saw the janitor and his reaction was,-WHOAAAAA-What's this??? You are wearing a black blouse now? Is that allowed with the habit.

3. Then I met students and did they look at me and stare. In the 3rd/4th grade room as I walked into the room the girls all said-OHhhhhhhh-you're all in black; you are black, black except your buttons are a little light in color and you still have white on that thing on your head. Great opportunity to teach the word Veil.

4. I was in  my office working with my door partly open. I heard an adult who gives money monthly for Adopt A Student Program. She was talking to my secretary that she heard a Sister is the principal here for the first time. She told her she hadn't seen a Sister since she was in grade school-may I peak in her office to see the Sister? And that she did and she smiled and said-this brings back so many memories. I haven't seen a Sister since I went to high school. (She also doubled her monthly donation!)

Besides clothes they watch what you do:
After our parish's 20th anniversary dinner I pitched in to help wash the dishes. People were in shock but pleased to see that I was human, down to earth and not afraid to work.

I met with the deacon who is working on Arizona Rosary Day. He is planning a breakfast to raise money for the bus from our parish. I told him I would help work the breakfast. He had the most shocked look on his face and he looked at me  and said, You will help work the breakfast?? I said sure. I 've done this many times. Do you cook or do you do dishes? I said I am great at dishes. I was trained well at our Motherhouse. I come with experience. A parishioner who was at the anniversary dinner spoke up and said, I saw her doing dishes. She really went at it. She's good!

Sometimes we think we don't make a difference or that people don't notice us. But they do! And we are appreciated. In our Franciscan way we often bring a smile to people and we keep them guessing as to who we really are. We are a mystery to them at times-in a good way!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Our Franciscan Community Director's First Impressions

Imagine our excitement to have our Community Director Sister Louise and Sister Mariadele with us for the first time in this new mission spot at Our Lady of the Mountains, AZ.

Click here to see the photos Sister Louise took on her camera.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Great-Grandmother was a Sister!

Being the first Sisters at a parish is alot of work for the parishioners to get ready, before the Sisters arrive. In our case at Sierra Vista, they had to do the following: find a house to rent for us, buy us beds and dressers and put them together, get dishes, towels, silverware, and everything needed in a kitchen. They also had to get us a car.

I saw in the Parish Finance Meeting Minutes the discussion about contacting two car dealers. It turns out they didn't have to. One of the parishioners donated his 2010 gold Honda with only 9,000 miles on for us to use. Joe Hood, the parishioner, is blind and his wife,who was the driver died in Spring. When Joe heard that Sisters were coming to the parish he knew he had to donate the car he no longer needed for the Sisters because his great-grandmother would want him to do that. For as you see, his great-grandmother was a Sister.

We asked to meet Joe in person to thank him and he took us out for breakfast after Sunday Mass and then told us the story of his Sister Great-Grandmother. She was married and had three children when her husband was accused of stealing horses (this is in Ilinois). He was quickly lynched from a bridge. Being a widow with no job she could not afford to keep her children so she gave them to relatives to take care of and entered the Convent herself. It took three months after his death for his wife to prove her husband was innocent. Joe was 5 years old when his great-grandmother died and she was buried from a cathedral. Joe proudly has a picture of his Great-Grandmother in her full habit of wimple, coif etc with her three children and  Joe in her arms as a baby. Like Joe said, " It was only right that he donate the car to the Sisters" for that is what he knew his Great-Grandmother would want him to do. We are so happy too! God bless Joe!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Beautiful plants of the desert!

As you can see the ocotillo in our school parking lot is taller than me.
I don't get too close to it. I can hear the bees buzzing in the purple bush behind me. The beauty of the desert!

The Day is Here At Last!

Three weeks ago today Sr. Mary Gabriel and myself landed at the Tucson Airport-not knowing what to really expect at our new mission in Sierra Vista. Today I can take a look at our convent and school and know that we have accomplished alot in these three short and very busy weeks. Nine new teachers with energy and enthusiasm galore have been hired. Classrooms that weren't used last year have been cleaned out and are ready for today's Open House. Sr. Mary Gabriel worked hard at putting the library back together. We now have book shelves in the computer room with books that had been abandoned in boxes for several years.

As I arrived early this Saturday morning to take a walk through the school neighborhood I was welcomed by the Young At Heart group from the parish cutting the grass and weeds on the parish and school grounds. I was surprised and very grateful as the grounds definitely needed trimming up for the Open House. As I walked the gravel roads by school into the mountains I saw beautiful homes with desert landscape nestled below the Huachuca mountains. Wow! I would love to live in this neighborhood. I could walk to and from school and be apart of the beauty of the mountains.

Upon returning to the school grounds I met two of the men who finished the grass cutting. They were very sweaty but had smiles on their faces when I stopped to talk to them. One of them proudly told me, " I put your bed together." He was one of the Young at Heart group that came to our convent before we arrived to put our beds and other furniture together. They are just a couple of the very generous and outgoing parishioners I have met here.

Yes, we are ready for Open House today to meet the parents and students. Monday school begins and we will have 3 year olds through 8th grade coming through our gates to begin the 2011-2012 school year. I thank God for the many blessings of these past three weeks that got us to the point where we can really be proud of All Saints Catholic School and Our Lady of the Mountains Parish.