26 December, 2010

Christmas Prayer Celebration

We concluded the year with the same spirit that we begin each and every day, sacred prayer. Our Gospel Choir led the school community with Silent Night, as the Advent Candles were lit, and our listening hearts were turned to the joy of the coming of our Lord Jesus. Giving praise to our loving God were our grace-filled Praise Dancers. The Service came to a closure with Sister Karin Kracht, OSB singing and playing Joy to the World. Mr. Jennings, staff, students, and alumnae all joined in as we raised our hearts and voices to fill the world with the Spirit of Christmas. Wishing a Merry Christmas to all our family and friends!

Colameco's Food Talk Show

Mike Colameco, chef and PBS talk show host came to Benedictine Academy as an early Christmas gift for Ken Jennings, our Principal, the Staff, and several of the Benedictine Sisters. Inspired by his grandmother, Mike shared his pathway to becoming a weekly television and radio talk show chef. His new book, Mike Colameco's Food lovers Guide to NYC, reveals the inside story to culinary delights. It was a delightful afternoon hearing his family traditions and fond memories of gAdd Imagerowing up Italian. At Benedictine Academy, we believe that the Arts are an important part of our culture.


11 December, 2010

New Jersey Leadership Conference

It was an exciting day as 12 schools came together at NJPAC to exchange ideas, share friendship, and be trained as Jefferson Award High School Student In Action Leaders. The conference focused on team building, development of leadership skills, and youth ethics.

Mrs. Karen Hatcher, Director of Students In Action, gave a historical background on the Jefferson Awards, a Nobel Prize for public service in America. "In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft,Jr. and Sam Beard desired to honor Americans who have performed outstanding public service and inspire others to follow their example." She looked around the room and was deeply moved by the level of enthusiasm that filled the air. She was in the midst of young Student Achievers who were ready to become the new leaders of the next generation. Guest Speaker, Mayor Christian Bollwage challenged the High School Student Leaders to become service champions by having a vision and working hard. Determination and a listening attitude were key to their success. He shared stories from his own experiences and journey to becoming a leader of the city of Elizabeth. The one important message that everyone walked away with was the knowledge that true leaders must have followers, even if it is only one or two people. Without followers, there is no movement. Happy Birthday Mayor Bollwage!

Robert Provost of the Star Ledger shared an inspiring message regarding the importance of having BIG DREAMS. Mr. Provost said, "Small dreams have no power to move mountains... " He then encouraged the students to follow George Bernard Shaw's Vision for our world: "Some people see what is and ask, Why? I dream of things that never were and ask, Why not?" It is the latter dreams that move mountains. Lastly, he shared the ten most important two letter words in the English language. "If it is to be, it is up to me!"

Benedictine Academy was the first high school in New Jersey this past September to become a certified Jefferson Award Student In Action Service Leadership School. We continue to lead the way in forming our students to become leaders and to make our world a better place. A special thank you to Jefferson Awards, the Star Ledger and PC Richards for this amazing Student Leadership Workshop.

Make- A- Wish Foundation

Macy's gives a Million Reasons to believe in the Miracle of Christmas.
Inspired by the New York newspaper editorial in 1897, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", Macy's has set-up Santa Mail Stations in their stores across the country. For every letter they receive, Macy's will make a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to one million dollars!
Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes to a child with a life-threatening illness in the spirit of joy and hope. At Benedictine Academy, we too believe in the magic of Christmas love. We are writing our etters to Santa and encourage you to do the same. Help Santa make a child's wish come true!

06 December, 2010

Great Leadership Opportunity


"If you are a student with a passion for improving your community, we would like to help you turn that passion into action. We are looking for leaders who are high school juniors and seniors in the U.S., and secondary students in sixth form college or college of further education in the U.K. As a Student Leader, you will participate in:

  • An eight-week paid internship at a nonprofit/charitable organization;
  • A week-long Student Leadership Summit in Washington, DC (July) to gain valuable civic, social and business leadership skills (all expenses paid as part of the Student Leaders Program) ."


03 December, 2010

Museum Of Russian Icons Webinar

Third Millennium Education is no longer confined to a classroom!

This past Wednesday, a webinar was set-up between the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts and Benedictine Academy Religion Class.

Our students were able to take a live personalized virtual tour of the Museum to study the history of Russian Icons as an art form of prayer. This was a pilot program that was developed over several months. The response was an overwhelming success. At Benedictine Academy, we believe critical thinking and intellectual curiosity are the cornerstones to learning.

by Alfredo Tadigo

World Aids Day

Pope John Paul II, in his 1995 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa, put the challenge before us:

"The battle against AIDS ought to be everyone's battle. Echoing the voice of the Synod Fathers, I too ask pastoral workers to bring to their brothers and sisters affected by AIDS all possible material, moral and spiritual comfort. I urgently ask the world's scientists and political leaders, moved by the love and respect due to every human person, to use every means available in order to put an end to this scourge."

Today, we raised money for Catholic Relief Services to send aid to our brothers and sisters across the globe. For every donation, a student or staff member received a red bow to place on our Christmas tree by the Blessed Mother. It was a visible sign to our community that we care and are working together in solidarity to give hope to all families affected by this disease.

Season of Hope

Our preparation for Advent begins with the Advent wreath, candles, and prayerful reflection.
Rev. Peter John Cameron so beautifully shares, "As we enter into Advent, the worries and the wear-and-tear of life remind us just how much we need God. Advent is the assurance of the constant closeness of God, as St. Augustine reminds us:

Life itself was manifested in the flesh so that

what only the heart can see could be seen also

by the eyes, and thus the heart be healed."

24 November, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

Rev. Bill Paige, friend and world renown speaker, takes the time to bring Jesus to Benedictine Academy in between Europe, Dominican Republic, and Texas. He reminds us that an Attitude of Gratitude for the ordinary, every day acts of kindness in our lives can bring blessings of joy to one another.

Reflecting on the scripture passage about the ten lepers, he noted that only one leper went back to give thanks to Jesus after his healing. The question before us is, "Do we give thanks to our Lord for all the blessings we have in our lives?" Do we take the time to thank Jesus each day?

Our beautiful Praise Dancers opened the Prayer Service praising God and our wonderful Gospel Choir concluded the Prayer Service by thanking Bill and the Lord.
We have a Eucharistic heart at Benedictine Academy as we give thanks and praise to God for all the blessings in our lives. Happy Thanksgiving everyone and "Thank You" for being part of our Benedictine family!

22 November, 2010

Thanksgiving Food Drive

This Thanksgiving seems very different. Our sisters and brothers in our own families, our own communities, our country, and across the globe are suffering in so many ways. And yet, it is a time of thanksgiving. Gratitude of heart is the healing balm for all the ills of our world.

Each day we pray and give thanks to God for the gift of our lives, for the gift of Benedictine Academy, for the gift of Sr. Germaine, Mr. Jennings and Ms. Banks for their dedication and unceasing labor of love to our school, and for the gift of each other.

This past week, the Student Council joined forces with Students In Action to share their food with others. That is what family does. We take care of each other. The reality is we are all sisters and brothers; we are all God's children. We need to care. If we don't, who will?

19 November, 2010

Vow Of SIlence

Students In Action joined forces with Peace & Justice Club in becoming a voice for the voiceless by taking a vow of silence. Today is the 21st anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Tens of thousands of people around the world walked in solidarity with children who are being silenced by poverty and exploitation.
There are over one billion children living in poverty, many of whom are suffering fro hunger, child labor, discrimination and lack of education. Their rights are not being upheld. Their voices are not being heard.

After 8 hours of being silent, our students gathered together to discuss their experience. One freshmen student shared, "After today's vow of silence, it breaks my heart that young children go through this everyday. Today I felt ignored and left out, as if no one understood me."

Another Junior student shared, "It made me feel somber, not being able to express yourself. Even if you need help, you have no voice. It was as if you were being condemned. It was very difficult."

SIA and PBJ students are more determined than ever to become a voice for the voiceless and make this world a better place for them.

18 November, 2010

We Are All Sisters and Brothers

At our school, we have several dozen different nationalities, yet we are all sisters and everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Mother Teresa said, "If you knew me, you would love me." Isn't that the truth? We need to take the time to listen to one another, instead of judging and gossiping. We need to "Stand Up" for love and say "No" to the hurt.

15 November, 2010

21st Century Teaching

Hi everyone. Today was our professional training day. Raquel Williams, a technology speaker/teacher at the NJEA, shared with us the latest teaching methods for our 21st century students. It was both fascinating and exciting as we learned about how to utilize technology in developing lesson plans that utilize critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. I would like you to meet my Avatar that I created. She is the spokesperson for our Jefferson Award Student In Action Leadership Team.

Click here to comment on this Voki.
Get a Voki now!

13 November, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Energy filled the auditorium as our students received certificates recognizing their accomplishments for First and Second Honors. We also welcomed Mrs. Karen Hatcher, the Director of the Student In Action Leadership Program. Benedictine Academy is the first certified Jefferson Award Student In Action Leadership School in New Jersey. Service Leadership is a hallmark of our Benedictine charism and what it means to be a Christian.

Seventeen of our Student Leaders were formally inducted as members of the Student Leadership Team and will be attending a Student In Action Leadership Conference in a few weeks. Their goal is simple. To be role models and inspire their peers to help make our world a better place.

This day was EXTRA SPECIAL because eleven of our students were nominated for the Jefferson Award Student In Action Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. Special guest, Chocolate Thunder, former player of the New Jersey Nets, is best known for his shattering of backboards as he dunked winning baskets. The Basketball Man of the Millennium opened the sealed envelope and presented this prestigious Award to sophomore, Barbara Borges.

Barbara began a new volunteer service project known as Erica's bracelets. She and her friends make bracelets to give with their prayers to cancer patients in hospitals. After the awards, Darryl Dawkins coached our girls in a free throwing event. It was truly an A+ day at Benedictine Academy.


William Paul Young, author of The SHACK, came to Benedictine Academy last week to speak to our school community about the meaning of hope and forgiveness. It was a blessed day for our students, faculty, the Mayor and friends as we gathered in the Benedictine Sisters' St. Walburga Monastery to listen to Mr. Young share his story and the story behind the story.

We are grateful to the Benedictine Sisters for opening their space for a small private luncheon before the lecture, and to Mr. & Mrs. Peter Anderson for their warm hospitality and delicious food.

The Shack has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for over one year and has sold over 15 MILLION COPIES! The overwhelming message that came through is that each and every one of us matters to God! (S)He loves us and will never abandon us. All shall be well. We only need to TRUST.

Wm. Paul Young was a most beautiful gentlemen who was warm and gracious. He patiently gave countless autographs before and after the lecture, and photo opportunities. A light-hearted smile filled the air around this most humble man. We thank God for the gift of his presence at Benedictine Academy.

05 November, 2010

You Don't Know Me

Dr. Michael Fowlin, actor, psychologist, poet, performed at Benedictine Academy yesterday. He was truly amazing as he slipped in and out of characters, portraying real young people who have suffered the pain of other people's indifference and ignorance.

“Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about another’s pain,” Fowlin stated. “Bullies are not the problem,” he noted, rather, Zebras are the problem,” he added, pointing out that in the animal kingdom, zebras will simply stand around and watch another animal being attacked. “Know the difference between what you are supposed to do and what you need to do,” Fowlin pleaded. “Speak up!”

Our brothers at St. Benedict's Prep joined us to hear how we can make our lives count. I wish that for a day everybody could take off their masks and be real with one another,” Fowlin said. “We don’t pay enough attention to one another ... I’m not ‘the guy in the wheelchair’, I am a human being, I have feelings, but sometimes my feelings are crushed. If all you ever see is my physical disability or wheelchair, you don’t know me. I’m beautiful,”

“You are all inherently beautiful,” Fowlin told his audience. He challenged the students to “smile at or say hello to at least ten people you don’t normally greet- you never know whose life you could be saving.” “Stand up- don’t be a zebra!” Fowlin added. “I charge you to go out and make others feel beautiful also.”

29 October, 2010

Peace Cranes

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God." (Matthew 5) In anticipation of our convocation speaker, Dr. Michael Fowlin, our Peace & Justice Campus Ministers gathered together to make 295 origami peace cranes.

Sadako was a little girl who had developed leukemia as a result of the explosion of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. She started to fold paper cranes in the hospital a year before she was to die. Her wish was that there would be no more war in the world and only peace would prevail on earth.

We continue this practice of Peace at Benedictine Academy. Our Campus Ministers wrote a message of peace on each of the wings of the paper cranes. These peace cranes will fly free over Dr. Michael Fowlin at the conclusion of his presentation this Thursday, November 4. Come and join us as we are made instruments of God's peace.

Prayer Vigil for Eric

Our students gathered around Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to pray for her intercession for the healing of Eric LeGrande, the Rutgers football player
who was severely injured in a game a few weeks ago.
In the candlelit vigil, our fingers passed over the beads of the rosaries
as our lips prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of he Holy Rosary.
At Benedictine Academy, we believe in the power of prayer
and the mystery of the Eucharist.
"Amen I say to you, if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by My heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered in My Name,
there I am in the midst of them. "
Matthew 18:19-21

Habitat for Humanity

"Dreams take shape" as our Senior Campus Ministers, Sisters of the Spirit, help finish building a home for Habitat for Humanity. Our Campus Ministers know they serve the Lord by serving others. As they worked hard on a most beautiful autumn day, they prayed that the homeowners would enjoy their new home. "Habitat for Humanity puts an end to poverty housing." Together, we can and are making our world a better place. Benedictine Academy has recently been awarded the honor of being a certified Jefferson Award Youth Initiative School, as well as being an authorized a United States Presidential Volunteer Service Organization. Each year our students are recognized for their outstanding service to the local communities. Their inspiration is our Lord, Jesus Christ.

23 October, 2010

Peanut Butter & Jelly Time

PBJ Campus Ministers heard the cry of the poor and organized a Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive to fill the pantries of the Elizabeth Coalition for the Homeless. Panera Bread donated dozens of loaves of bread and the Franciscan Sisters donated two HUGE 5 lb. cans of Peanut Butter. Benedictine Students and Staff joined together in solidarity donating dozens and dozens and dozens of jars of peanut butter & jelly.

Then it was Peanut Butter & Jelly Time after school this Friday! Over 80 students came to decorate lunch bags and make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Everyone had an amazing time as we made over 190 sandwiches. Then off we went to deliver the goodies to the Elizabeth Coalition for the Homeless. It was just in time as the pantries were bare and people were waiting for the kindness of someone to drop off bags of food.
At Benedictine Academy, we believe we have a shared responsibility in caring for the needs of the local community. We can and are making our world a better place to live.

22 October, 2010

Junior Retreat

The Junior Class headed for the Ramapo Mountains to retreat at the beautiful Franciscan Spirituality Center in Ringwood, New Jersey. It was a peace-filled day as they walked the sacred grounds enjoying God's Presence in the gentle breeze. From Our Lady of Lourdes in the grotto to our Lord's Agony in the Garden, our students had time to reflect with their Benedictine Sisters over the breaking of the bread.

As a special surprise, Eddie of Eagle's Wings, brought a guest from Tenafly Nature Center - the resident Barred Owl and the Red-Tailed Hawk. Both birds are permanently injured and cannot be released into the wild. As we read from Scripture, Wisdom Passages and words of encouragement from Isaiah, we listened and learned of the nature of two of God's most beautiful creatures. Abby, the friend of the hawk and owl said only one thing was essential, "No Hooting Please!" Our Juniors returned home soaring like eagles!

17 October, 2010

Spanish Heritage Celebration

For the past week, Benedictine Academy has been celebrating Spanish Heritage Month. Each morning, when we gather together as one sacred community for prayer, a student shared knowledge regarding the Hispanic culture and their great people in history. The more we understand who we are and each others heritages, the more we value the human dignity of one another.

The Gospel Choir practiced mornings and afternoons to prepare to lend their voices for the closing celebration.

Freshmen Retreat

Last week, the Freshmen gathered together to build community with God and one another. As they listened with the ear of their hearts to each other's stories, they came to know and appreciate more deeply the gift of God's Presence in one another.
Our school theme this year is Team Power. Led by six of our Seniors and our Retreat Director, Eddie, they learned that they could soar like an eagle. In formation like the Blue Angels, a synergy is created that produces A+ results. It was a fun-filled experience as they laughed together, prayed together, ate together, and formed close friendships with God and their new Sisters.
"B" is for Benedictine and seeing the beauty of God in each other....
Psalm 91. 1 " He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide ...

And He will raise you up on eagles' wings, bear you on the breath of dawn..."

09 October, 2010


Every year it is a tradition at Benedictine Academy to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Rosary at St. Walburga Monastery Chapel. On Thursday, October 7, the entire school community joined their voices in prayer for Mary's intercession on our behalf.

It is said that when we pray the Hail Mary's, our prayers are placed as beautiful roses at the feet of Jesus, our Lord. Mary, Mother of Jesus, is Mother to us all, regardless of our faith.

Our Senior Campus Ministers, known as Sisters of the Spirit, led each decade of the rosary in the language of their culture. How blessed are we to have our Heavenly Mother to protect and guide us through our lives. Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us... Amen.

Breast Cancer Walk

Last week was a very important day. As one sacred community, our school walked in solidarity with our brothers and sisters to raise awareness and funds for a cure for cancer. Sister Germaine, our President, led the way with our Senior Students and Mr. Jennings, Principal, and the rest of the community joined in the 3K walk.
Mrs. Rodrigues and the Portuguese Club collected over $2400. to donate toward cancer research.

May our God of love heal all who are suffering with cancer, most especially our family and friends. May their pain cease… May their strength increase…. May their fears be released… May God’s blessings, love and peace surround them. Amen

03 October, 2010

Feast Days Galore!

Feast Day of St. Therese (known as the Little Flower), Guardian Angel Day, and Feast of St. Francis are pouring down blessings from heaven on Benedictine Academy. The Senior Campus Ministers were busy distributing Guardian Angel Prayer Cards and friendly stickers to their classmates as they passed through the hallways throughout the day. Sharing kindness and a smile with their Sisters filled their hearts with joy.
Angel of God My Guardian dear
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

This month is also National Keep a Positive Attitude Month. Each day we are encouraging one another to give a smile to every one we meet. Ariana says, "a little positive spirit goes a long way in changing someone's day." So join us in BEING THE EFFORT and BE THE CHANGE!

26 September, 2010

Celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit

As we begin all good works, we begin our new school year with the celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit. It is a wonderful tradition to walk en masse, as one sacred school community, across the street to the Benedictine's Sisters beautiful monastery chapel to celebrate Liturgy. Our dearest friends, Monsignor Bill Hatcher and Father Jim Worth of St. James Parish in Springfield, were our Presiders of the Word and Music.

As the Gospel Choir sang so joyfully, Open the Eyes to our Hearts Lord, each of our new students received the gift of their own personal Bible. In loving memory of alumnus Cathy Donnelly, this tradition began many years ago, originating from the friendship of two beautiful young women who went to Benedictine Academy. At Benedictine Academy, you enter as strangers and leave as sisters!

16 September, 2010

NEW Interactive Science Lab

The Most Reverend Bishop Manuel A. Cruz blessed our new Interactive Science Lab this past week. Reverend Monsignor Kevin Hanbury, Brother Ralph Darmento, Sister Sharon Mc Hugh and the Benedictine Sisters, Mrs. Cynthia Readlinger, BA Staff, friends, and alumnae celebrated and gave the Lord glory due His Name in thanksgiving for our new lab .

Following Sister Germaine Fritz's (President) inspiring opening remarks, Mr. Ken Jennings (Principal) shared a few of the outstanding accomplishments of our student achievers. Whether it was attending a summer program at Princeton University, participating in an International Seminar in Ireland, performing in the NJPAC Theatre Performing Arts Program, or interning at Trinitas Hospital as part of their pre-nursing/medical program, our AP SCHOLARS and younger underclass women were learning and growing.

At Benedictine Academy, we believe that every student can be challenged to pursue leadership opportunities. Critical thinking and intellectual curiosity are the cornerstones to success.

11 September, 2010

"The Call within the Call"

It was on September 10, 1946 that Mother Teresa received the "Call within the Call" to leave Loreto and go into the slums of Calcutta to bring Jesus' love to the poor.
Mother Teresa would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year. She would often say, "Do Something Beautiful for God". The students at Benedictine Academy decided to "Do Something Beautiful for God" by collecting 100 bags of nonperishable food items for the poor and the homeless. At Benedictine Academy, we believe that every student is called to be a leader and give service to the community. It is a shared responsibility for us all.