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1917 - "War against Germany"

The year of 1917, the most important in the history of our country since the Civil War of 1861 to 1865 was a blessed one for St. Mary's both spiritually and materially. For these as also for many graces of the past and for those which Divine Providence may still have in store for us we are deeply grateful.

At the opening of school we had 85 boarders and 240 day pupils, a slight increase over last year. A Protestant girl from Omaha, Helen Borsheim, eighteen years of age, daughter of a Catholic mother, was baptized while at home during the holidays and came back to us as a Catholic girl. This was a great joy for both Sisters and children.

The next event of importance was the annual retreat of the children from January 29 to February 2, conducted by Reverend M. F. McNulty, S. J. of Chicago, a famous mission­ary of the Missouri Province. About one hundred pupils took part in the retreat and edified everyone by their recollection and devotion. Besides the above mentioned students, the fol­lowing were baptized and received their first Holy Communion: on January 1, Maude Forsberg, who was married to a former pupil of St. Mary's; on February 9, Miss Nellie Clyde, who had been at St. Mary's for five years and all during that time had nourished the great desire to become a Catholic, but was forced to wait, owing to an opposition from her sister who supported her until she had obtained her teachers' certificate; on April first, Miss Margaret Helen Thropmartin, who was married later to one of the young men of the parish.

On February 11, a terrific wind storm tore a great num­ber of slates from the roof of the new building, and the broken particles crashed into a considerable number of window panes. The insurance company compensated us for the entire loss. The words of Holy Scripture, "God lessened the winds for the shorn lamb" fitted well in our own case, for the wind ceased until there was time to repair the damage. In May a number of our innocent little ones approached the Holy Table for the first time and received the Bread of Life into their pure young hearts. On Good Friday, the United States declared war against Germany. It was a painful thrust for us, as it was the same day on which our dear Lord was crucified.

On June 14, school closed with the usual Commencement exercises. Eleven Young Ladies received their Teachers' certificate, a gold monogramed trophy, the Diploma of the Academy and a card of admittance to the State University of Nebraska.

The program given in the evening in the K. of C. Hall received great applause and approbation from the audience which was made up mostly of parents and relatives of the graduates. Scarcely were the days of these important and responsible doings over when seven of our Sisters went to the Summer School of the Jesuits in Omaha. There were 24 of our Sisters there from our various convents. After four years of home and Summer School study, the following Sisters completed their courses and received their degrees: Sr. Annunciata, B. A., O'Neill; Sr. M. Cherubim, B. A., New Lexington; Sr. M. Etheldreda, B. S., O'Neill; and Sr. Dolores, B. A., New Lexington. From August 8 to the 15 the Sisters annual retreat was held. On September 10 our school reopened. The following Sisters were transferred: Sr. Ludmilla to St. Ann's, Buffalo; Sr. Alacoque to Los Angeles; Sr. Amanda to Denver. They were replaced by: Sr. Dolores from New Lexington; Sr. Felicia from Stella Niagara, and Sr. Jolenta from St. Ann's, Buffalo. Sr. Immaculata came to us from the hospital in Alliance during Christmas vacation to replace Sr. Xaveria in the classroom, as the latter was ill and unable to remain at her post.

An extraordinary event was the visit of our Most Rev­erend Archbishop Harty of Omaha on October 28. He was touched and much impressed by the hearty welcome he received from the parish and from our student body. The latter pre­sented a bouquet which contained $50.00 for his new cathedral. He was surprised to find the pupils here in this "Western town receiving such a thorough and cultured education. 91 chil­dren received the holy sacrament of Confirmation. In spite of hard times, the people of our parish are very generous. The church collection for his Excellency amounted to about a thousand dollars. In all, they have given six thousand dollars for the new cathedral.

On November 28 we had the great pleasure of hearing Mr. C. S. Griffith, a master of Shakespearian works, who pre­sented the "Merchant of Venice" and "Macbeth". All who heard him will long remember the splendid lessons he drew from both.

On December 31, we had exposition of the Blessed Sac­rament all day and monthly retreat. The day closed with Benediction and a solemn Te Deum in thanks to God for His loving care and Providence during the past year. Again the motto of dear Mother Magdalen proved true—"God will provide."

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