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Jun182010

1935 - "Crosses are Sweetened"

This year was destined by the Heavenly Father to be a year of trial, in spite of its happy beginning. The children returned in good spirits on January 7 and immediately began serious work for examinations. Sr. Honoria was obliged to go to Omaha for treatment for her face. The infection offered stubborn resistance and required repeated trips. Finally it yielded. Mr. Clarence McClurg replaced Mrs. Parker as County Superintendent, and called on St. Mary's to assure us of his cooperation. Three days of extremely cold and stormy weather in January came about the middle of the month. Then followed an epidemic of Mumps among the children. The boarders made a pilgrimage to nine pictures of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, singing and playing on their way. The epidemic was checked.

Our most Reverend Bishop and the diocesan school authorities recommended a series of debates among the Catholic high schools of the state. “The Benefit of the Vacation Schools” was the question debated. Of course, St. Mary's prepared to take an active part. This month brought with it (February) the annual exchange of games and hospitality between St. Francis Mission and St. Mary's. We never win, but we do enjoy the friendly relations. Owing to a scare of smallpox in 0'Neill and surrounding country, the school children were vaccinated. Thank God all went well.

On February 21, the investiture of our beloved pastor, Reverend J.G. McNamara as Monsignor, took place. This meant great preparations in the school and in the parish. A public reception was held in our Gym, following a most impressive ceremony in the church and a banquet held at the Golden Hotel for the visiting clergy. Our good, kind Monsignor, in his joy, came to pay the Sisters a visit and presented himself, in full regalia, at the refectory door during an afternoon recreation. February 22 was a free day for Sisters and children.

On the last day of February our dear Sr. Joachim complained of not feeling very well. Very reluctantly she allowed herself to be put to bed.  Pneumonia developed. The Master’s call came in the evening of March 2. Gently, peacefully, fully conscious and resigned, Sr. Joachim obeyed summons. The Sisters lost a kind companion and a good religious. The little ones were inconsolable after her death. For weeks no one seemed able to replace her, until their former teacher, Sr. Ascensia, returned to them. On the 4th of March, one of our Senior boys, Peter Price, became seriously ill with pneumonia and was taken to the O'Neill hospital. His condition became so serious that he was anointed and each moment promised to be his last. The students stormed heaven for his recovery, an immediate change set in, and, though long-drawn-out, his convalescence was assured. God spared our children but called the Sisters Home.

March was a month of terrible dust storms for Nebraska. Dust pneumonia claimed many victims. Good Sr. Lina was the Master's next choice from St. Mary's. She was in school until Wednesday noon, March 27. Mother then insisted that she go to bed. She was removed to the infirmary, and on Saturday, March 30, exactly four weeks after Sr. Joachim's death, at 1:10 in the afternoon, Sr. Lina's soul returned to God. .We had lost another good, kind religious, and the children had lost another loving teacher. Both had had the great grace of all the last Sacraments and the presence of devoted priests during their hours of suffering, yes, till the very last breath.

The children's annual retreats conducted by Reverend A. J. Cook, S. J., was uninterrupted by the angel of death, and closed most successfully on Saturday morning. During the retreat, the Sisters enjoyed the privilege of three special conferences and a Holy Hour in celebration of the Centenary of the founding of our Congregation. During the week of March 11, word was received that our beloved Bishop Rummell had been appointed Archbishop of New Orleans. His honor is our loss, but God always provides. Vocation week was successful, held during the week of March 24.

Reverend Mother Everista came from St. Francis Mission and accompanied Mother Claver to the Superiors retreat at Stella.  Sr. Clementine arrived on April 5 to take Sr. Lina's class, which, up to this time, had been taught by the Normal trainers. Then followed Easter holidays, state exams, and Junior-Senior banquet and the beautiful month of Our Lady invited the Sisters and children to sing the praises of their Queen. In addition to our devotions, all attended services in the church on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday of Lent.

This year the public school prepared an outdoor Mayday program to which they invited the Sisters and pupils of St. Mary's. It was very nicely carried out. May 10 was the day set aside for our celebration in honor of Mother Magdalen.  A very impressive and interesting, program of reading, dance and song portrayed some of the highlights in the life of our beloved Foundress, with whom may we ever say "Deus Providebit” . The program was repeated for the whole school on May 13. Preparation for First Holy Communion seamed to bring with another epidemic –measles-mostly among the younger children. Several little First Communicants were sadly disappointed on the Great Day and were obliged to have a special day later on. Examinations June 1, class play June 4, class -day June 6, Alumnae banquet, Commencement June7—such was the order, and another school year had gone into eternity. She whole scheme of the banquet was carried out in Dutch style, and many loving tributes rendered to dear Mother Magdalen and her daughters, the Sisters of St. Francis. Six boys and six girls were graduated from the high school, and six boys and seven girls from grade eight, Commencement was scarcely over when the news reached our dear Mother Clavor that she was to be Superior at the College of St. Charles, Columbus, Ohio, and that Mother Cherubim would come from Alliance, Nebraska to replace her here. Mother Cherubim arrived the next morning and mother Claver left on June 12. Though we were very sorry to lose Mother Claver, we welcomed our new mother whole heartedly and initiated her into our O’Neill heat, renovations at St. Mary’s, and gemutlich vacation life.

'This year again Sr. Jolenta and Sr. Marciana went to teach vacation school at St. John's near Clearwater, and Sr. Radegund and Sr. Marina conducted classes at St. Peter's, Ewing, Nebraska, Sr. Adelaide received word to travel East, attend school at Canisius and await further orders. Later she was transferred to Alliance, Nebraska. Sr. Honoria and Sr. Serafica attended the summer session at Creighton University at Omaha. Sr. Magdalis came from Minot to replace Sr. Adelaide, but left soon after for Charleston, W. Va. Sr. Leontine came from St. Francis Mission to teach science. Sr. Jolenta and Sr. Marciana attended our Stella Niagara Normal. Sr. Marciana was transferred to Alliance to be replaced by Sr. Aloysius, one of our Normal graduates, newly professed. Sr. Eligia was replaced by Sr. Denis, and Sr. Alexandra returned to be our cook. Sr. Redempta succeeded Sr. Ascensia in the music department. The annual retreat of the Sisters was conducted by Reverend Father Hilke, S. J. Although, or more probably, because it was his first retreat, it was very good, practical, strictly Ignatian, very interesting and full of grace. It closed, on August 12. During the retreat Peter Price, a senior, entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Florissant, to begin study for the priesthood.

Preparations now began in earnest for the new school year. Classes were resumed on September 4 with the largest enrollment in years, high school 101, grades 187. These numbers have since mounted to 107 in high school and 129 in the grades. The number of boarders, too, increased and 76 made it necessary for Mother Cherubim and Sr. Dolores to make a trip to Omaha to purchase new desks and new beds. To increase the seating capacity at the basketball games, new portable bleachers were erected in the Gym. The expense was covered by funds raised through various activities, pie sales, dances, etc. At this time a special novena and Holy Hour was conducted for the success of the Eucharistic Congress held at Cleveland. Reverend Father Ostdiek, diocesan superintendent, visited St. Mary’ s on September 26 and seemed well satisfied with the visitation. The customary novena to Christ the King was conducted in a solemn manner this year, closing with a program, renewal of the consecration, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

On October 28, Reverend Mother Gerard, accompanied by Sr. Bernice, arrived at St. Mary’s for visitation. Mother spent only one short week with us, but we enjoyed every minute of the time. On November 5, Reverend Father Schiltz came to conduct Mother to St. Francis Mission. Early in the month of November, the happy news reached us that most Reverend James Hugh Ryan, Rector of the Catholic University of America, had been appointed Bishop of Omaha. The installation took place on November 21. Right Reverend Msgr. McNamara was deacon of honor to the Bishop,

On the evening of November 24, the music pupils gave a recital in honor of St. Cecilia. It was very well presented. Thanksgiving holidays followed. The children returned on the first of December, and immediate preparations for the feast of the Immaculate Conception were begun. The anniversary Requiem High Mass for Right Reverend Msgr. Cassidy was attended by Sisters and children. Our Lady's Feast brought with it reception into the Sodality, which now numbers 98. Father Leahy preached a very practical sermon on the virtue of our Mother, applicable to our daily lives. The Children of Mary entertained the new candidates in the assembly room. That evening Mother and Sr. Dolores again left for Omaha on business and called on our newly installed Bishop.

The Christmas holidays began on Friday, December 20 with the presentation of an Operetta, "A Christmas Revelation," the singing of carols, a large Christmas Sodality meeting, and presentation of gifts. All left well and happy to return, if God so willed, on January 6. Christmas season for the Sisters was full of grace, happiness and many surprised, for the good people of O’Neill cannot be outdone in generosity. One cloud only marred the brightness of our joy. Dear Sr. Arnulfa, who for some time had not boon feeling well, just about decided to spend Christmas in Heaven.  The attack was severe, and we were all very sad and worried.  But God, Who sends the crosses, sweetens the bearing of them, and removed them in his own good time.  Sr. is on the road to recovery, and may still join us in praising the dear Lord through the coming year of 1936.

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