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1936 - "Time Rolled Swiftly"

The beginning of the year, 1936, brought great relief to St. Mary’s in the settlement, by arbitration, of the trouble over the Cavanaugh loan made in 1922 when the North Wing was erected.  Acting upon the advice of our Most Reverend Bishop, instead of taking the case to court, a settlement was made, satisfactory to all concerned.  It will mean many sacrifices to meet obligations, but the worry over a court case and the possibility of losing is removed forever.  Thanks be to God.

On January 10, dear Sr. Arnulfa, who had been ill for some time, was taken to Alliance for examination. Mother Cherubim and sr. Servia accompanied her. They returned leaving dear Sister under the doctor's observation. On January 20, while on her way to inform relatives of the illness of one of the children, our dear Mother Cherubim slipped, fell and broke her wrist. Doctor set it immediately and thank God successfully.

This month also brought the sad news that good Father Leahy, who had worked heart and soul for the parish school during eight years, was to be transferred to Omaha. The love and gratitude he had earned on all sides was wonderfully demonstrated at the farewell program that the children presented, to which a delegation from the parish added a number in presenting Father with a watch and a purse. St. Mary's has lost a wonderfully devoted friend and counselor. Father's successor, Reverend Peter Burke, arrived just in time to celebrate Holy Mass for dear Mother Cherubim's named day, February 1. The day was very pleasantly spent, and Mother received many lovely useful gifts.

On February 4, Reverend Mother Tarcissia brought dear Sr. Arnulfa back to St. Mary's. A blizzard which lasted over a week kept Mother snowbound in O'Neill. No trains came or went. Some drifts were over ten feet high. The storm had come without warning, and, as many were unprovided with fuel and food, there was much sorrow in homes in the country. Even the town felt a shortage of fuel. Thank God, we were well cared for. Some of the boarders could not communicate with their homes for over a month. On February 12, we began a novena to our Lady for better weather. The cold, however, continued for over a week or more. The intermittent thawing and freezing then caused the backing of water in the gutters. This seeped its way into the walls making plastering; and painting a necessity in the months to cone, finally, on the 23rd a general thaw set in. Four feet of snow melting at one time covered walks, streets, all with water.

On the anniversary of the ordination of Right Reverend Msgr. McNamara, the children made him very happy with a rich spiritual bouquet. In March the seniors presented their class play, "The Luck of Derryverragh," on the feast of St. Patrick, patron of the church. The cold weather of this month claimed as its victim our dear Mother Cherubim, who was in a rather run-down condition from the shock of breaking her wrist, mother spent several days in bed with a very heavy cold.

On March 24, Reverend W. Mallon, S. J., arrived to conduct the annual retreat for the children. The retreat was very serious yet very interesting and made a lasting impression on the children. At its close Father gave the Sisters a conference on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, so beautiful, so sublime, that it must make us henceforth, more appreciative of the Holy Sacrifice. This retreat really brought out vocations.

Again our dear Lord visited us with sickness. One of the boys became seriously ill, as taken to the hospital and operated for mastoid. His condition was critical. At the same time, a mild form of scarletina attacked two of the girls. Thanks to our dear Mother of perpetual Help, it confined itself to the two. At noon on April 8, the children left for the Easter holidays. On their return we had a rare musical treat given by some players from the Metropolitan Opera Company. On April 28, Sisters Marina and Dolores attended a diocesan conference of Teachers at West Point, Nebr. The sunshine of the beautiful month of our Mother brought great Joy to our hearts. One of the senior girls was baptized and received First Holy Communion together with another who had never had that great grace. In addition, at least twelve of our grade children, all the children of unhappy marriages, were baptized and received their First Holy Communion on May 3. On May 4, our Most Reverend Bishop administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to over 275. We had the pleasure of entertaining him at a reception on the evening preceding. His gentle, affable manner won all hearts, and opened the way to very successful labor in the parish of O'Neill. The little ones presented him with a Golden Rose which he took with him to be treasured always. 

The Juniors entertained the Seniors on May 17 with a very lovely banquet.  Then time rolled swiftly onward to the Alumnae banquet May 31, at which 102 were present.  Class day opened this month (June) followed by Commencement on the 2nd.  Or Most Reverend Bishop was unable to attend as also our dear friend, Father Leahy.  Right Reverend Msgr. McNamara presided, delivered the address, and conferred the honors.  This day brought joy to the heart of many a mother, but it brought sorrow, too, for three of the girls and one boy made known their desire to consecrate themselves to the service of God.

On the 7th, Sr. Marina and Serafia left for Ewing to conduct a vacation school while Srs. Jolenta and Aloysius went to St. John's, Clearwater for the same purpose. Both pastors expressed themselves as well satisfied with the results. The feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, June 15, was celebrated in a very becoming manner. On the feast of the dear Sacred Heart, we had exposition of the Blessed Sacrament all day—a wonderful opportunity for reparation and thanksgiving. On July 13 Reverend Father Burke, with four of our Sisters, drove to St. Francis Mission for the Jubilee celebration. After several days of interesting and fruitful observation, they returned to let us enjoy it to some extent, On Dear Mother Magdalen’ s feast day, we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the reception of good old Sister Catherine, who has been at St. Mary's since its very beginning. Sister enjoyed every minute of the day with us.

This year we had an honored guest at our retreat. Reverend Mother Assumpta, of Charleston, stopped here on her way to California. She was accompanied by Sr. Electa who remained to take Sr. Honoria's place. The latter was transferred to New Lexington. Reverend Father Monaghan, S. J. opened our retreat on the feast of St. Ann. During its course, word was received that Srs. Ascensia and Ewalda would exchange places, the latter coming to us from Alliance.

The Silver Jubilee of Sr. Juventia was celebrated in anticipation on August 19. The day was very solemn and joyful. On Saturday, the 22nd, Mother Cherubim left for Stella with three of our girls who were entering the novitiate. Sr. Marina who had not been feeling very well developed a very serious case of appendicitis, and late Monday afternoon was rushed by airplane to Alliance. Though Sister pulled through the operation, she never regained strength. Sr. Servia, who had also been in poor health for some time, followed her to Alliance. This, of course, spoiled Mother’s plans for an extended visit in the East. She came quickly to Alliance where she remained for some days.  The condition of both sisters became critical.  On September 7, dear Sr. Servia was called to her eternal reward, and Sr. Marina followed her two days later.  May they rest in peace.  In September Sr. Lydia came to take Sr. Marina’s place.  One of our boys entered the Seminary on the 7th.  It seems our dear Lord wished to make up for the Sacrifice He had asked of us.  The children seemed to pour into the school on registration day, making our attendance list larger than ever before.  The high school registration reached 121, the grades 188, and the boarders numbered 99.  We had to refuse some until the second semester.  The school year opened with Hoy Mass and Communion on the feast of Our Blessed Mother. It has been visibly blessed.  On the 23rd, we had the pleasure of a visit from Father Leahy, who had been ill for over three months.  His first Holy Mass after that long period was offered in our chapel for the Sisters. Sr. Jeanette, who was to replace Sr. Servia, had been under the doctor’s care at Alliance.  Finally, on October 7, she arrived at St. Mary’s as was welcomed with open arms.

The annual novena in preparation for the Feast of Christ the King was begun on October 14, closing the Friday preceding the feast with a program and solemn renewal at Benediction of the Act of Consecration.  On the 18th, Mother Cherubim and Mother Tarsissia left for Chicago for a shopping tour.  During Mother’s absence, Sr. Juventia, who had not been well, developed pneumonia and required the care of an extra nurse.  Sr. Arnulfa, too, had another attach of her illness.  Thank God, both are recovering, the latter after being confined to bed for over six weeks.

The feast of St. Cecilia was celebrated by the musicale for the preparation of which much time was used.  It was very successful, and gave the parents an opportunity of seeing what was being accomplished in the music department.  The Alumnae association very pleasantly surprised the Sisters with a small radio as an introduction to the Thanksgiving holidays.  It can be carried from one room to the other.  Despite the fact that a very generous food and fruit shower had been held for the Sisters, the men of the parish and the business men of O’Neill were very generous with their contributions toward a coal collection.  We sometimes wonder whether any other convent is so materially blessed as ours.  Reception into the Sodality, usually scheduled for the 8thof December, had to be postponed, owing to the illness of Reverend Father Burke’s father.  On the following Monday 38 candidates were received into the number of Mary’s children.

The Christmas program was held on the afternoon of Friday, December 18; then all left, full of a healthy, happy Christmas spirit.  Sisters as well as children were ready for vacation.  In the happiness of the Birthday of the Little King, all the sorrows of the year seemed to melt away.  After He had given all for us, how could we refuse, resignedly, yes gladly, gratefully to accept whatever the New Year may have in store for us.

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