Sister Donna Jo and Sister Martin-Elizabeth were full of Christmas joy as they greeted students and staff at St. Walburga Monastery for Mass. We began our Christmas celebration by gathering as one sacred community to give thanks to our Lord Jesus. Our dear friend, Father James Worth of St. James Parish in Springfield celebrated a most beautiful Liturgy. We remember his inspiring words as he spoke of Jesus being the Truth, the Light and the Way. Father Jim shared that this may not be easy, "We are called to speak the Truth with courage, like Mary's cousin Elizabeth, even when others may not want to hear. " Brittany Henderson of our Gospel Choir sang a very prayerful rendition of "Mary, Did you know", and the Gospel Choir concluded with the entire assembly joining in "Silent Night". It was truly a holy morning. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
19 December, 2009
It was a packed house for the matinee performance of the most delightful Christmas musical entitled "Christmas Para Todos". This special afternoon performance was held for the senior citizens, the students of local grammar schools, and the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburga Monastery. Everyone left having received the true gift of Christmas- JOY which overflowed from the hearts, dance and songs of the cast and crew. Produced and directed by veteran Broadway actress Liz McConahay Wanfried, this high-energy playful theatre production filled the air with the Spirit of Christmas. Many of our students, who have trained and performed with Ms. Wanfried at the Young Artists Institute of NJPAC, brought their high level of experience to the stage Friday afternoon and evening. This was no ordinary Christmas play. The music arrangement was done by Emmy Award winning composer, Gary Schreiner, whose music can be frequently heard on the Oprah Winfrey Show. There were also a few added surprises to the festivities - guest broadway actress Danielle Chambers, whose angelic voice deeply touched each of our souls (she was absolutely magnificent) and the appearance of a British Rock Star (of the Foreigners)!!!!
Need we say more? If you missed Friday's performance, you can catch Monday evening. It is a five star performance * * * * * that you will not want to miss! We give thanks to God for the blessings He continues to bestow on Benedictine Academy. Merry Christmas to all!
Santa rode in on his scooter from the North Pole to thank all the students on the nice list for participating in Macy's Make-a -Wish come true for terminally ill boys and girls. As Santa's elves distributed candy canes, the National Honor Society students were busy collecting gifts for the Christmas Giving Tree and spreading cheer with the Gospel Choir to the patients at St. Michael's Hospital; Junior students were gathering coats for the homeless, and the Theatre Group was rehearsing for the most delightful play - Christmas Para Todos!
"The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces...
let us rejoice and be glad that He has saved us!
Blessed are all who wait for him!" (Isaiah 25; 30)
15 December, 2009
How blessed were we to receive the gift of a visit from Bishop Cruz to Benedictine Academy. His inspiring words of faith and hope will remain in our hearts for months to follow. Stopping in each classroom, the Bishop left his pearls of wisdom... "When you fall, get up" ... "Do not be afraid, God is with us." Perhaps, we were most touched by the Bishop's gentle, humble heart and deep faith in Emmanuel. He shared a most beautiful story about his reunion with a childhood teacher. Flying back to Cuba after 40 years, Bishop Cruz spoke about the Sister who had taught him the faith as a young boy in the back room of a small pharmacy. As we reflect on our own Benedictine school and the Sisters who have dedicated their lives to spreading the Good News of Jesus, we,too, are filled with grateful hearts. WE give thanks to Sister Sharon, Sister Germaine, Sister Martin-Elizabeth, Sister Lucy, Sister Lauren, Sister Donna Jo, and all the Sisters of St. Walburga Monastery for the outstanding catholic education our students have received at Benedictine Academy for almost a century. May God Bless You one and all.
Posted by Mrs. Michalski a/k/a Mrs.M. at 15.12.09
13 December, 2009
Mary , Theotokos, was chosen to be the bearer of blessings to all nations; to proclaim the greatness of God's Name. In December of 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego on a hill in Tepeyac, Mexico. She said, "I am your most merciful Mother... I want to show my loving clemency and compassion to those who call upon me in their sorrows." Roses blossomed in the middle of winter as a sign of God's love. And even today, a beautiful rose received is a sign that God hears our prayers and is with us in the midst of our winter sorrows. During our Advent Prayer Service, our Gospel Choir so sweetly sang a responsorial chant as we prayed to Our Lady for her intercession to our Lord Jesus for peace and justice in our troubled world.
P.S. You may be wondering what happened to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception? We celebrated Mary being conceived without sin, destined to be the Mother of Jesus, with an Advent day of prayer, rest and relaxation.
In 1897, an eight year old young girl asked the editor of the newspaper, the New York Sun, if there really was a Santa Claus. " And the editor Francis Church responded,
"....Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. ... . Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. ..."
On Dec. 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas we celebrated the faithfulness, generosity and secret gift-giving of the real Bishop Nicholas of Myra. Nicholas was a saint known as the Wonderworker for the many miracles of love God granted through his intercession for the poor and young children. He became a model for the legend of Santa Claus and the joy of gift-giving during Christmas. Our Campus Ministers, Priscille and her many elves delivered gingerbread houses to all our staff with young children. And everyone was invited to send a letter to Santa Claus with one wish for a better world in the year 2010. Santa will be delivering these letters to Macy's as part of their Make a Wish Program. For every postcard they receive, Macy's will be donating $1. to Make a Wish Foundation for young children with a terminal illness. Doing small things with great love is a tradition at Benedictine Academy!
Our school community gathers each Friday for the lighting of our Advent Wreath and to hear God's Word. We prepare for the coming of Jesus in a new way this Christmas Season, a time of tremendous hope. This Advent tradition reminds us of the beautiful words of the Prophet Isaiah: "The people of darkness have seen a great light... you have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing..."