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Apr182010

1927 - "Sacrifices"

With great confidence in God's help, we entered upon this new year. The children returned in the best of spirits, and the school work continues as heretofore.

Mother Justine with a postulant went to Stella Niagara. On her return, she brought with her Sr. Armella Orlossky who took charge of the laundry. Sr. Reinharda went to St. Ann's, Buffalo. Sr. Bernita was also called away, and re­placed by Sr. Rolanda. On January 25, Mr. Ralph Leopold, a pianist of note, gave a concert in our hall. It was his first visit to O’Neill, but the same applause was accorded him here as he was accustomed to receive in the large cities where he has given many concerts. He proved to be a most in­teresting entertainer, and after the concert told us that he had studied in Berlin, and Breslau, Dresden, Gorlitz, and in the mountains of Saxony. He was well acquainted in all these places.

On February 17, the pupils staged the historical play by Mark Twain, "The Prince and the Pauper. It deals with the childhood of Edward VI during his fathers (Henry VIII) reign. It was carried out to perfection and the rich ap­parel, fitting to the times, which were rented from a firm in Omaha, added greatly to the attraction of the play.

Our Freshmen teacher, Sr. Remigia Finneran, became dan­gerously ill of carbuncles and Mother Gerard sent Sr. Electa to help out for several weeks. On February 18, C. W. Taylor visited our school as state inspector and expressed himself as well pleased with everything. We enjoyed another concert given this time by the contralto, Mrs. Edna Swanson ver Haar, who had visited O’Neill before. Her singing was highly ap­preciated by all and the concert was a great success.

At the end of March, Mother Justine went to Stella Niagara to take part in the retreat for superiors which opened on April 8. During her absence we had one of our most severe snow storms. The snow was wet and heavy and hung like lead on our great old trees. To shake it off was impossible, for it clung tenaciously to the branches and broke several of them off. We were completely snowed in. The railroads were blocked and other means of transportation failed as everyone feared to attempt a passage through the giant snow drifts often as high as a large building. Some of the boarders who had not left for Easter vacation had to remain here. In spite of it all, we rejoiced to have Mother back with us again for the latter part of Holy Week.

The few weeks remain till the close of school we re filled with restless activity. The two parlors and the guest room were badly in need of repairs. A new steel ceiling was placed in each and the ceiling and walls painted in light pleasant colors to match the other furnishings of the rooms. They are simple and plain but beautiful. Our pupils of the grades and high school took part in a contest for excellent penmanship, and won seven out of the eight prizes offered for the best contestants.

On April 6 the Seniors gave their annual class play in which all took an active part and received great applause. Commencement took place on June 1 when sixteen young lad­ies received their diplomas of graduation.

The Sisters' retreat opened on June 6 and was given by a Marist father from Washington, D. C. During the re­treat Bishop Beckman of Lincoln, who is also Administrator of Omaha, arrived in O'Neill and administered Confirmation, to 100 or more candidates. After the close of the retreat, Sr. Alexandra, Sr. Ethelareda went to Holy Rosary Mission to make retreat. At its close, Sr. Etheldreda and Sr. Winifred went to Omaha to attend the Creighton Summer Ses­sion. Sr. Humiliate and Sr. Valeria Klein went to Alliance, the former to help in the Sisters' Summer School there at St. Agnes, and the latter to take treatment at the hospital. Mother Justine and Sr. Dolores attended a Catholic school meeting in Detroit the latter part of June. The Eucharistic Congress of Chicago was shown here in O'Neill in the movies, and the Sisters were permitted to attend.

In July plans for the longed-for new addition were studied and considered. The first plan by the architect, Steele of Sioux City, left much to be desired, but the second flan was accepted. About the middle of August bids were offered for the erection of the north wing, and after much competition, the building of it was given over to Mr. Daniel O'Connell of Atkinson for $15,000. This new wing extends northward, back of the front staircase of the first building. It connected with the convent by a large skylight. On the ground floor of this wing are found the bakery, a store room, milk cellar, a small dining room for workmen, etc. In the two upper stories are ten cells for Sisters, bathroom and lavatories, a community room, and two large light airy verandas. Mother Justine found great difficulty in raising the funds necessary for the building, as the people in this vicinity have lost their crops year after year and business is at a standstill. By and by, she managed to get enough to permit the work to go on continu­ously. When the excavations began, unexpected difficulties presented themselves. The ground was filled with pebbles, stones debris from the former convent, built by the parish and destroyed by fire. Owing to this, the work progressed very slowly. Large stones could be removed only with very great exertion, and hollow places had to be filled in before the real work on the foundation could be started. The erec­tion of the building was entrusted to good St. Joseph who as special patron, was to watch over all. During the last month of vacation several changes in the personnel of St. Mary's took place. Sr. Stephen went to St. Rita's, Columbus as superior, and Sr. Pauline replaced her here in the sec­ond grade. Sr. Valeria did not return here from the hospi­tal in Alliance, but was transferred to St. Charles' Sem­inary, Columbus. Sr. Eleanor came in her place.  Sr. Augusta, who taught fifth and sixth grades, was called to St. Ann's, Buffalo, and Sr. Albertine came here to take up her work.

School reopened on September 5. A very large number of boarders were registered, and we ascribed this blessing to a special devotion to Our Lady of Victory, held during va­cation. During the first days of school the number was 75 and soon it went up to 80 or more.

Towards the end of September, Sr. Antoinette arrived to supervise the school. She remained here until October 13 and was present for the installation of Father Cassidy as a member of the Holy Father's Household with the title of Right Reverend Msgr. Bishop Beckman carrier out the investiture. Archbishop Keane of Dubuque, and Bishop McGovern of Cheyenne, Wyoming, were here also besides a large number of priests . The Mass for the occasion was sung by a well-drilled priests' choir with a priest as organist. Three days were dedicated to these festivities. Dinner for the Bishops and Priests was prepared in the afternoon in the Golden Hotel while the same service was offered to the parish in the evening. Thirty-eight of the clergy were present, counting the Bishops.

During the last week of October Mother Gerard, our Pro­vincial, was with us for visitation.

Again Mother Justine had to make a trip, on business, to insure the progress of the new wing. An arrangement with the Josephinum for necessary funds had failed, and other sources had to be sought. In the meantime, extreme­ly cold weather set in, such as had not been known for 40 years. It was very difficult to continue the plastering of the rooms. Coal stoves were heated night and day in the rooms, and large open sheet iron vessels half filled with coke were kept burning all the time to prevent the plaster from freezing. The openings between the rooms had already been cut but no doors attached, so the holy season of ad­vent offered numerous mortifications and sacrifices in the way of dusty building debris, and coal gas. However, the severe weather soon subsided, and work could be carried on more easily.

On December 8 a very large number of day pupils and boarders were received into the Sodality. The Christmas holidays soon arrived, and eleven boarders remained here during vacation. This year, no Midnight Mass was held in the church nor in the chapel, as Right Reverend Msgr. Cassidy’s health would not permit it. Besides, he had now only one assistant. We were all sorry to lose this privilege, but the deprivation gave us another present to lay at the feet of our Infant Saviour.

During Christmas vacation our faithful hardworking Sr. Salome, who had been here many years, was transferred to St. Vincent's, Columbus, and Sr. Juventia came on Dec. 28 to take her place.

With grateful thanks to God for the blessings of the past year, and with perfect trust in His help for the fut­ure, we bring this year to a close. The personnel at St. Mary's at present is: 22 Sisters, 80 boarders, two hired girls and two hired men.

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