25 November, 2011

Mrs. & Mr. Everton Harris Visits BA

Each year, we have the distinct pleasure of seeing our dear Ericka Davis, Class of 2007, come visit during our Thanksgiving Prayer Service.  This year, she brought her new husband, Everton to meet her Benedictine Academy family!  Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Davis!

Ericka is currently studying Early childhood and is President of Ladies with Values.  Her husband, also studying and a Preacher, has recently opened his new church near their college campus in North Carolina.  They visited with several of the freshmen classes sharing the importance of self-respect and listening to the Word of the Lord.  When asked what was their favorite Scripture passage, they replied:
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want... " Psalm 23 

We gave Ericka and Everton a WOW experience in appreciation of their encouraging words of wisdom and warm hearts. 


During our Thanksgiving Prayer Service, we gave thanks for all the acts of mercy and good works that our entire school community has been performing.  November was overflowing with food drives, clothing collections, operation shoe box for little children, bake sales, tutoring, and helping the homeless. However, there was one outstanding student who stood out among her classmates.

Caroline, a Student In Action Leader, proudly shared how this unsung hero spends several hours each and every week tutoring young children who cannot speak English, visiting the elderly in nursing homes, and reaching out to lend a hand to anyone in the local community who is in need. 

When asked why, she simply replied it was her life-long passion to help others.  It gives her great joy when she can bring a smile or share her gifts or talents.  The students applauded loudly when they heard it was Ewa, a sophomore student leader. We give thanks to God for Ewa and ask God to bless her in abundance as she has blessed all of us.

Attitude of Gratitude

It is a Thanksgiving Tradition to have our loyal friend, Rev. Bill Paige, share a Thanksgiving reflection for our Ecumenical Prayer Service. We had the added blessing of meeting his delightful granddaughter, Morgan.  

The Scripture reading was from Luke's gospel: Jesus parable of the Ten Lepers.  Jesus healed ten lepers and yet only one returned to say "thank you".  The power of "thank you" is so underestimated and under utilized in our daily lives.  What does it cost?  We are so quick to ask for help, for God and others to have pity on us, but so slow to give thanks and praise in return.

Bill reminded us of the importance of showing our gratitude to God as well as other people in our lives. Let us remember to say "thank you" and show a grateful heart for every kindness shown to us.  It will bring us, the Lord and others much happiness.

N.J. Governor's Award

A few weeks ago, the Star Ledger issued a special edition spreading the Good News on Benedictine Academy's SHAC SQUAD.  The Shac Squad had received the N.J. Governor's Award for their efforts in raising awareness to help eradicate Human Trafficking.  
Our Students In Action Leaders were selected, one of nineteen nominees out of over 800 adult/youth nominations in the state, for their exceptional community volunteer service and acts of charity!  
The New Jersey Youth Service Award recognized their work with the United Nations Blue Heart Campaign,  Colleges and Universities, and younger children in the local communities.  

23 November, 2011

Thanksgiving Food Drive

Two months ago, our students made a commitment to perform 
911 good deeds.  In remembrance of the good lives lost on 
September 11,  they have been doing small acts of kindness, 
generous giving to help those in need, and volunteering 
their time and talents to the local and global communities.
Filled with passion to make a difference in this world, our school 
community showed what the Power of One and the Power of 170 
students when they joined together. 

This morning, the Elizabeth Coalition for the Homeless sent a large 
van to our school to collect over 1520 cans and boxes of dry goods 
to feed those who have less than us.  Together, we can and are 
making our world a better place!

22 November, 2011

Operation Shoebox

The holiday season brings much cheer and joy to all the little boys 
and girls around the globe  But what about the child who will wake 
up on Christmas morning to an empty spot under the tree?  

While our National Honor Society was planning and organizing gifts 
for the Christmas Giving Tree for the Elizabeth Coalition for the 
Homeless, Ms. Medina's students decided to work with Santa 
in wrapping shoe boxes filled with stocking stuffer items such 
as new boxes of crayons, pens, T-shirts, balls, stuffed animals 
and boxes of Uno.  They also collected over $100 to give for 
shipping costs of the shoeboxes.

Franklin Graham, the President of Samaritan’s Purse, which oversees 
Operation Christmas Child, encourages all his volunteers to “Pack 
your shoe box with love, send it with prayer, and share the Good News 
of Jesus Christ with a poor little child. That’s the power of a simple gift.”

At Benedictine Academy, we did just that!  Students and staff 
brought in shoeboxes packed with love, good things, and a 
little prayer.  It was an early Christmas for all of us as we experienced 
our own gift of joy this season.

Clothing Drive

Benedictine Academy is paying attention to the signs of the times.  
The early snow fall was a message from Mother Nature warning us to 
be prepared for the cold winter months ahead.   We also had cause to 
reflect on our neighbors who were falling on hard times.  "Whatsoever 
you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto Me.  When I was 
naked, you clothed me..." (Matthew 25:31-46)
Mrs. Paul sent an S.O.S.  throughout the school and we collected 
over 20 giant bags of clothing weighing in at over 1000 lbs!!!  
 At Benedictine Academy, we believe it is our responsibility to reach 
out into the local communities and serve our brothers and sisters in need.      

20 November, 2011


Three of our Senior Globe Changers Leaders, Ariana, Andie, and Caroline
had the distinct privilege and honor to be invited by Ken Morris, Jr., 
the great great great grandson of Frederick Douglass, the "Father of
Civil Rights" to be part of the Faith for Justice Team, comprised of young
people across the country who are interested in advocating against Human Trafficking, a 21st century Modern Day Slavery.
THE FREDERICK DOUGLASS FAMILY FOUNDATION has recently released a new Service-Learning program for schools entitled HISTORY, HUMAN RIGHTS, and the POWER OF ONE.

Kay Buck, the Executive Director of CAST, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Tracking, says:  
"The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking is honored to partner 
with the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation in their effort to create
social change by engaging our youth ... 

Youth are a critical force in this movement and this curriculum will go far in nurturing anew generation of leaders and agents of social change."   

For more information, go to 
http://www.fdff.org/history-human-rights-and-the-power-of-one.html  or call us at (908) 352-0670, ext. 125


It was a fun-filled day as our Faith for Justice Team gathered family and friends to make a video for/with the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation to abolish Human Trafficking.

We feel it is our social responsibility to stop this gross injustice. The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation received the rights to the most awesome song by Christian Singer, Israel Houghton, The Power of One.

Benedictine Academy Students are joining several youth groups across the country to advocate on behalf of their suffering younger sisters and brothers across the globe.

As the lyrics state, "What if all depended on me to change the world?  Don't hang around. Stand up or sit down...  It all began with the Power of One joining the hundreds of millions of people believing... we can change the world.

18 November, 2011


Although it was a cloudy day on the outside, the sun was shining brightly on the inside of St. Joseph's Shrine Retreat Center in Stirling.  Rev. Bill Paige, Youth Chaplain of Young Life shared the Good News of Jesus to our sophomore class. 
As he spoke about the importance of forgiveness, Bill reminded the students that before we can forgive others, we must first forgive ourselves.  We gently closed our eyes and listened to the Word tell us of God's healing touch.  We laughed, we cried, and we broke bread together. 

Gathered in the Name of Jesus, we experienced His loving presence in our midst.  At Benedictine Academy, we are one sacred community, a family who cares about our sisters.

08 November, 2011

Celebrating our Youth

On Sunday, November 13, the Archdiocese of Newark will be celebrating young people who have given outstanding service to the community, school and/or parish.   These are the young people who move us to say "Thank God" for all of their support throughout the year.  

We have two Junior Students at Benedictine Academy who will be receiving the recognition and honor they so justly deserve.  On Sunday,  MARTHA DEVIA and KELLY AMORIM will receive the ARCHDIOCESAN YOUTH RECOGNITION AWARD.   

We congratulate you both and are grateful for all you do and are to our communities.  Our prayer is that God bless you one hundred fold for all the blessings that we and others have received from your good works.


The Elizabeth Coalition for the Homeless is celebrating 30 years of serving the homeless and poor of Union County.  One of the events of their celebration is the making of a beautiful quilt comprised of 26 squares, one square for each group that has worked so generously by their side over the years in serving the  needs of the local community.  

Benedictine Academy feels honored and blessed to have the privilege of being part of their tapestry of love.  Our students have consistently responded with joy to their call for clothing and toy drives, Christmas giving tree, babysitting the younger children and tutoring the older children.   Take a peak at our square designed by one of our Student Campus Ministry Leaders, Joyce Mendoza.  

Her message is clear.  At Benedictine Academy, we are a family whose mission is to "listen, learn, lead and love!" 

07 November, 2011

Eve of All Saints Day

Sister Martin-Elizabeth and our Library Circle of Student Helpers made their traditional visit to the St. Walburga Monastery to spread good cheer and Halloween treats with the Benedictine Sisters in the Infirmary It was a wonderful time by all!

One of the distinct features of our school is that our students and their families are part of the Benedictine Sisters extended family! In times of joy and sorrow, we walk together bringing the love of Christ to one another. 


We are proud to announce our 1st Students In Action Award for the new school year on a most fitting day of celebration - ALL SAINTS DAY!  As we gathered as one sacred community, our Benedictine Family reflected on the way to bring happiness to others. 

 For the Month of October, there were two key individuals who stood out among the crowds of students and staff who are continuously performing selfless acts of kindness.  They have been our unsung heroes, year after year, in raising funds to help find a cure for cancer.  Whether it be organizing the Annual school-wide Breast Cancer Walk, working tirelessly to get sponsors, or giving from their own pockets to support research that gives hope to all families, Cheila Cardosa ( a Senior) and Mrs. Luisa Rodriguez (Business Plant Manager) are leading the way.   MERCI Cheila and Luisa from your BA family!

Benedictine Academy is a Regional Gold Medal Jefferson Award Winning School.  Co-founded by Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy and Sam Beard 40 years ago, Jefferson Awards joined forces with the Carnegie Corporation andHarvard University to establish what has become known as the Nobel Prize for public Service in America.  This year, Benedictine Academy was recognized in Washington D.C. as the Best new Jefferson Awards Students In Action School in the nation.  We humbly give thanks to God for the privilege, the honor, and the grace to be His instruments of love in the world.

04 November, 2011


This Halloween we joined forces with Global Exchange to Reverse Trick or Treating.  At a school-wide assembly, the Students In Action Leadership Team spoke out against child slave labor in the chocolate industry:  

"10 years ago, Hershey, along with many other chocolate companies, joined the campaign to stop child labor and many of the other abuses involved in the cocoa industry. 10 years came and went and Hershey has yet to take action against these inhumanities. Imagine if it was your little brother, sister, cousin, or friend, who worked for long hours on cocoa farms performing hazardous work like using machetes, carrying heavy loads, and coming into close contact with toxic pesticides. For thousands of children today that is their daily life. 

You can be part of the fight against child labor for chocolate by raising the bar. Those who signed the petition last year have already begun with one small step, refusing to eat Hershey brand chocolates. Now it is time to take it another step and spread the word starting this very day with Reverse Trick-or-treat.

Every time someone offers you any kind of Hershey candy just give it back. And with it spread the knowledge. That Hershey has not taken action to stop child labor and that there is a better option. Fair trade chocolate, grown in good conditions, by actual farmers, that get paid an honest days wage. Tell people, because knowledge is power. Plus fair trade chocolate is just as sweet as that Hershey bar; perhaps even sweeter.

Any of you who are willing to take this step and reverse trick-or-treat sign the petition today and become an even bigger part of this change. "
Thank You

 For additional information, check  Equal Exchange  http://www.equalexchange.coop/reverse ,
Green America  http://www.greenamerica.org/livinggreen/chocolate.cfm
International Labor Organization    http://www.ilrf.org/stop-child-forced-labor/cocoa-campaign/news/as-profits-soar-chocolate-industry-fails-to-deliver-on-p

Benedictine Academy Child Slave Labor:  http://teacherweb.com/NJ/BenedictineAcademy/Religion-Michalski/apt12.aspx


We remembered our loved ones, and the loved ones of our benefactors and alumnae, both at the celebration of the Mass of All Saints and on All Souls Day, as we gathered as one sacred community in prayer.  

           If roses grow in heaven,
      Lord please pick a bunch for us,
Place them in our loved ones’ arms,
And tell them they’re from us.
Tell them that we love them
and miss them,
And when they turn to smile,
Place a kiss upon their cheek,
              And hold them for quite awhile.
 We remember our loved ones every day.
          Let them know they will never really be away.

The Book of Life travels between St. Walburga Monastery and Benedictine Academy.  Our prayers are joined together as one family. 


This month we celebrated All Saints Day at the Benedictine Sisters' Monastery Chapel.  We were especially blessed to have Father Dong Yadao from St. Teresa's Parish in Summit.  Father Dong was recently ordained to the Priesthood last May 28, 2011 at the Archdiocese of Newark in New Jersey.

 During his inspiring homily,  Father encouraged everyone present to know (kilala) Christ more deeply because that is the only way we can spread His gospel of love.  By our baptism,  we are all called to sainthood.  

The Gospel Choir and Sister Karin added their beautiful voices of praise as we chanted the Litany of Saints and asked the Lord to "Open the eyes of our hearts".   At Benedictine Academy, we believe the celebration of Eucharist and prayer are the foundation of "living the good life".