Photo Collections


1942 - "Rations"


The Sisters of St. Mary's were blessed in having a Jesuit from Regis College, Denver, Reverend Father Sandoval, conduct the day of recollection closing the year 1941. He gave three meditations and a conference during the day which was also a day of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. It was, indeed, a unique day of blessings! Father remained for New Year's Day; he offered up the Holy Sacrifice for the Sisters in the convent chapel at seven o'clock; at nine o'clock he gave us another meditation which was followed by Benediction. A very heavy snow-storm accompanied by an intense blizzard stopped all traffic and transportation in Holt County on New Year's Day, so that Father was detained until early on January 2nd, and, then, he had to return to Denver by way of Omaha. We trust that the sacrifices entailed by the journey will not dishearten other priests in undertaking this spiritual project which was so much appreciated by the Sisters of St. Mary's. It is not always so for many bright, clear days followed in January.

On the afternoon of January 1st, Mother Virginia surprised the community with a "real movie" in our own assembly. "Scrooge" was enjoyed by the Sisters and appreciated more because it was the first community recreation that the Sisters of St. Mary's had of this type without any outsiders.

At our first Teachers' meeting of 1942 Sister Xavier gave a talk on "Methods in Teaching Reading". Sister has been especially successful in teaching reading, hence, we were interested in her talk.

January 4th closed a very pleasant vacation for the Sisters as many of the boarders returned that day for the opening of classes on the fifth.

The Three Kings must have had inside information about our community. There had been a great deal of community banter and teasing about chocolate cherries which were so popular as Christmas gifts from the children. The spirit of fun kept up until Mother "threatened" never to give us another chocolate covered cherry. However, the Three Kings were surely "Wise" men this year because they brought each of us a box of chocolate covered cherries.

It was on January 6th that we received word of the "death of" our good Mother Gerard", whose love had influenced all our lives. R. I. P. with sentiments of respectful, filial charity and sincerity we united in the Holy Sacrifices and in prayer for the soul of her whom we felt, according to the Franciscan evaluation of suffering, had met and earned her eternal reward.

Our Basketball team went through to the final game in the county tournament and then lost to the O'Neill Public School.

During the second teachers' meeting of the month, Sister Mildred explained to us an "Examination of Conscience" that she had used in her work with First Communion Classes. The talk led to a helpful discussion of confession in general among grade school children.

The class in Economic Geography had a series of educational films relating to their work. The films were sent by the University of Lincoln, Nebraska. Needless to say the class liked a "picture" period better than any other.

For the benefit of the Infantile Paralysis fund a joint dance was held with the pupils of the public school. The dance was not the financial success that the committee expected.

At the third teachers' meeting of the month Sister Dolores talked on "Fostering Vocations”. The subject was timely because of the coming vocation week and the annual retreat for the students.

Examinations began on January 19th and closed January 21st. The afternoon of the 21st was free and was spent preparing for the Junior Senior banquet. By a majority vote the Junior class transferred the traditional banquet of Senior week in May to the end of the first semester. In keeping with the spirit of economy the elaborate and rather expensive decorations of the gym as a banquet hall were eliminated this year. Mother and the Sisters with a few older girls prepared the girls' dining room which was very artistically decorated with a minimum expense. The color scheme was blue and white. A very delicious banquet was served to sixty-five at six o'clock. In the Gym the Junior Prom and a very pleasing floor show followed the banquet. Fruit punch with cookies were served in a special booth during the dance. The dance closed at ten-thirty. This was the first year at St. Mary's that the girls did not wear "formals" at this annual school social; many of the High School students throughout the country cast a similar vote in their efforts to economize during the war time.

The following day, January 21st, the new semester began. On that day the mother of one of our Senior boys, and the mother of fifteen children, an old family in the parish, died. Mrs. Fernholz had sent several children to school at St. Mary's.

A phone call from Mother Erica, Denver, transferred Sister Mildred to St. Leo's Minot. Sister Lenore from Marycrest came to take her class.

On January 26th Sister Dolores left St. Mary's for Denver to attend a council meeting. In the afternoon of the same date the student body and the faculty were shown a two real picture on the productions and utilities of the "Conoco Oil Company". It was very interesting and informative.

On January 28th the Faculty and Student body were entertained by two original skits prepared by Sister Laurissa with her Freshman boys and girls. Wit and humor battled with each other in the original composition and the audience enjoyed the performance to the utmost.

During the last teachers' meeting Sister Fides took her turn at speaking at the High School teachers' meeting; her topic was "Fostering Devotion to St. Francis."


This school month opened with the celebration of the Feast of the Purification; the following day Father Parr blessed the throats and we prayed that the great Saint Blaise would obtain the singular blessing of preservation from sickness especially among our children and sisters.

In a little town like O'Neill the Academy regulations on attendance of the students at only "Class A" pictures entails an obligation on the only theatre management in the town to procure good pictures. A matinee is given each week, but St. Mary's students, especially the boarders, attend only those matinees which are Class A pictures. The Sisters are in surveillance. "Smiling Through" in which Jeanette McDonald features in techni-color was enjoyed during the first week of February.

The Economic Geography Class continued to be the most popular class in the High School with its demonstrations in pictures of the more important projects.

Early on the morning of February 7th, Sister Dolores and Sister Laurissa with one representative from the High School went to Omaha to attend a National Conference of the Students Mission Crusade. The meeting was held on Saturday and they returned again on Saturday night. Such educational trips to Omaha during which the Sisters are usually up two nights are very strenuous, but they are very helpful to teachers and students as contacts are made that arouse interest and enthusiasm in the different educational activities. At this conference the emphasis was placed on the spiritual objectives of the Crusade's work.

On February the ninth the state of Nebraska complied with the President's "War Time Schedules". All clocks were set one hour in advance.

On the evening of February 10th, the St. Mary's Academy Corporation trustee members met in the Academy Library; Right Reverend Monsignor McNamara, Julius Cronin, Lawyer; Frank Biglin, Mother Virginia, and Sister Dolores. Several important questions were discussed for the betterment of St. Mary's.

The annual Students Mission Bazaar was held this year on February 16th. Bill Froelich, a generous benefactor of St. Mary's gave a Defense Bond to be raffled for the Missions, and the pupils of the Eighth Grade of which his son is a member were very enthusiastic over their lead in the proceeds for the Missions. We all rejoiced with Sister Arthur and her active missionaries as their quota did much to swell the total of $200.06. This is the most that we have made at the Students Mission Bazaar which is held annually and all the proceeds of which are devoted to charity and the welfare of the Missions. St. Mary's report at the Mission Conference aroused quite a bit of interest; several letters of congratulations were received by Sister Dolores commending her on the Missionary spirit among the students.

On the day of the Mission Bazaar Sister Serafia and Sister Flores went to Sioux City to the Hospital for treatment. Sister Serafia returned on the next day, but Sister Flores remained for a week.

February the 18th opened the Holy Season of Lent this year. The usual liturgical ceremonies both at St. Mary's and at St. Patrick's were performed on Ash Wednesday morning. The Lenten Devotions were attended by the Sisters and Students at St. Patrick's.

On February 27th the students and Sisters prepared a celebration for Monsignor's forty-fifth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. A program was staged at eleven o'clock in the assembly to which the neighboring priests had been invited. After the program the priests took lunch with Monsignor at the Academy. A free afternoon was given the school children.


On March the 2nd many of the Sisters and students viewed the eclipse of the moon. Early on the morning of the 2nd Sister Maxine went to Omaha to have a small growth removed from her eye. It proved a necessary, and a very beneficial remedy. We were all very happy over the outcome for had our artist been handicapped by further growth of this obstruction on the eye, aside from the sisterly love which prompted natural sympathy for our "good old Sister Maxine", we knew that none of us had been blessed by God with her special talent and ability. Who could replace her?

During the first week of March, the youngest child at St. Mary's, little Paul Johnson, became very ill. It took prayer and sacrifice on the part of the Sisters in charge before they were assured that all was done that was necessary to save the little one.


On March the 14th Sister Dolores and fifteen representatives went to Omaha to attend a Sodality Convention. Father Lord conducted the meetings which were interesting and enlightening.

Mother Erica arrived on the 16th for the annual visitation. Mother remained with us until the 27th. The heavy snow-storms detained her a day longer than she had planned.

The children's retreat opened on March the 30th. Reverend Father Henle, S. J. from St. Louis came to conduct the retreat; his lectures were forceful, interesting and inspiring. The children responded with serious attention and seem to have derived much spiritual good therefrom.

We attended the Holy Week services in St. Patrick's Church; the office of Holy Week was very solemnly chanted in the convent chapel. The children were dismissed at noon on Wednesday for the Easter vacation.


Classes were resumed after the Easter vacation on Wednesday following Easter; preparations were made immediately for the District Music Contest which was held in O'Neill. There were twenty schools that participated in the contest which opened April 17th at 8 A. M. The numbers were all scheduled at intervals of eight, ten, and fifteen minutes. Each school was limited to twenty-four numbers. The whole was so well organized that every minute of the two days from eight in the morning until eleven at night was on schedule. The Academy and the Public School at O'Neill were used and all other classes were dismissed. The Judges, all music professors of high standing were considered fair in their judgments. We received 12 "Superior ratings" out of 20 entries. The Sisters, students, and friends of St. Mary's were all very happy and felt that the St. Mary's students had done exceptionally well. Sister Flores, vocal and instrumental teacher, and Mr. George, the band director both had the happy satisfaction of work well done and to them we tended out congratulations.

On Friday April 24th the Nebraska State Music Teachers' Association met in Freemont; Mother Virginia and Sister Flores attended. The conference extended over two days and gave a wealth of information and help in the line of teachers, demonstrations, lectures, etc., Mr. Dumnesil's analysis of different musical selections was especially beneficial.


The annual May devotions were held in the chapel, and the different classrooms. The sodalists were especially zealous to honor the Mother of God.

On May the 8th Mother Virginia and Sister Flores left for Omaha to attend the National Music Convention. This was the first year that the Sisters were able to attend the National Convention; this was due to the fact that it was held sufficiently near to O'Neill to guarantee the transportation and convention expenses. Only our smaller groups who had received a Superior rating in the district were allowed to go. This eliminated the Band and glee blubs of both schools though they were eligible, having received Superior in the district contest. At the National Convention our "Trio" received a "Superior" rating. The Sisters and students returned home on the 10th. This was the first National Superior ranking received not only in the Academy, but in O’Neill.

Word came from Mother Erica that Mother Virginia and Sister Laurissa should go to Leavenworth for the special pageant to open on May 12th and 13th.

On May 15th the Sisters and the student-body joined in the celebration of dear Sister Alexia's Golden Jubilee. The sacristan had decorated the church with great care for the occasion; a mixed choir of grade and high school children sang the High Mass, and Right Reverend Monsignor celebrated. A special prie-dieu was placed in the middle aisle for the Jubilarian; it was decorated in white and gold. The school children, both high school and grades, attended the Mass. At eleven o'clock the students gave a program of congratulations in the Assembly; after that the classes were dismissed for the day. The Jubilarian enjoyed the day with the Sisters.

On May the 17th our little boys and girls received Holy Communion for the first time. Sister Leonita prepared the First Communion Class; Monsignor was pleased at the examination. The services went off very smoothly in church, and we were all impressed with the fervor of the little ones and the appreciation of their good parents.

On the evening of the same day the Knights of Columbus Banquet was served to 135 Knights and their friends in our gymnasium. The meat and vegetable courses were cooked down town at the Bakery and then served from our kitchen. Sister Dolores with the Boarder girls set the places in the gym, and Mother with her group of Sisters managed the serving etc., All were pleased with the dinner and the service, and entertainment. Girls in uniform served.

On May the 19th the Senior Class Play, "Spring Fever" was staged in the Public School Auditorium. The play was under the direction of Sister Laurissa. The cast was well prepared, the stage setting suitable and attractive, and our only regret was that the date of presentation was a little too late in the year to draw the crowd worthy of the production.

May 22nd the annual "May Day Celebration" took place. This was the first time after the installation of the beautiful out-door statue of our Lady of Grace in the Academy park. The ceremony itself is very impressive; climaxed, as it is, with the crowning of our Blessed Lady's statue. The High School students vote on their favorite May Queen who crowns our Blessed Lady; this year the selection fell to Mary Helen Martin. The Seniors wore cap and gown for the first time. The procession closed in the Parish Church, where Consignor gave a very impressive sermon on our Blessed Mother and this particular day. Solemn Benediction followed. At 8 P.M. the same day the Grade School Closing exercises took place in the Academy Gymnasium. The little ones were very pleased with the prizes given. Monsignor congratulated the Eighth Grade graduates and their teachers.

May the 24th, Pentecost Sunday was Alumni Day at St. Mary's. The members attended a special Holy Mass at St. Patrick's Church; a breakfast was served at the Hotel. In the evening at six-thirty a banquet was served at the Academy to one-hundred-twenty members.

Sister Xavier and Sister Leonita left on the 24th for the opening of the first religious vacation school of the summer of 1942. The High School Department held their examinations the following week. Senior week at St. Mary's. On May 28th the class held their class-day exercises. On May the 29th Graduation exercises took place in St. Patrick's Church. Twenty-three received their High School diplomas.

On Sunday May 31st four Sisters left for summer religious vacation schools; this year we had ten sisters teaching religion to the country school children and to the public school children in mission churches.

Sister Arthur left Sacred Heart Province on the 21st of May; she went to summer school at Seattle, Washington, and then to Cowlitz, Washington. On the following Saturday Sister Alexia, Archer, was transferred to the Eastern Province. She left St. Mary's enroute to St. Vincent's Columbus, Ohio. It is difficult to express our sentiments of deep appreciation to the Sisters to whom we so reluctantly bid farewell.


On the first day of this month one of the heaviest rains of the season caused quite an amount of damage to roads, bridges, etc.,

Mother Erica sent Sister Cassilda from Denver, Sister Bartholomew and Sister Carmen from Alliance to help out with the vacation schools.

Father Parr who had been our Assistant at St. Patrick' s church and chaplain at the Academy was transferred on June the 8th to Omaha. Father Brick arrived on June 12th to take his place.

Before the fifteenth of June the following teachers had left St. Mary's for summer courses: Sister Fides and Sister Laurissa to Creighton University, Omaha; Sister Xavier and Sister Flores to St. Mary's College, Leavenworth, Kansas; Sister Leonita to St. Ambrose, Davenport, Iowa. Sister Florence and Sister Marina came to St. Mary's to study for the summer to complete their High School. Classes began the same day. We had four other pupils, all young girls graduated from High School who wished to take civil service examination in commercial work.

Mother Virginia and Sister Ignatia started the house-cleaning in the Academy class-rooms; scrubbing, filling and waxing floors, washing and calcimining walls, etc., continued till the end of the month.


On July the 2nd Sister Laurita from Alliance came to teach in the High School next year. Sister Ignatia left St. Mary's for Marycrest to prepare for final profession. 

On Wednesday, July 15th the men arrived from Omaha to start to repair the smoke-stack which has been in a rather threateningly dangerous condition for a year or two. It has also been a source of much worry. We had estimated that it would take about two weeks alone to build the scaffolding to the top of the smoke-stack. Those experts started their work and at the end of the day the scaffold was about finished, and within a week the bricks that were bad had been

removed, and others replaced them; then, the whole smoke stack stuccoed. The contractor also gave us a reduction on the work so that the bid for the repairing of $5000 that had been submitted by one firm dwindled down to a little over one-fifth the amount. The economic conditions of our country have, much to do with the fluctuations of prices, but we realized that, in this case, it was far more plausible an outcome of dear Mother Virginia's visits to the Divine Contractor.

The new metal Tabernacle, a beautiful residence for our dear Lord, in comparison with the old wooden one which had to be replaced, arrived on the 16th. We all rejoiced while admiring it, in anticipation of it upon the new liturgical altar which the Alumni Association had pledged to buy. The treasurer, Bernadette Brennan, sent a check the same week to pay for the tabernacle. Mr. Kettler, the contractor, who has had years of experience in building churches and altars, looked at our old altar and said that it could be re-made into a liturgical altar. He began the work the next day and when it was completed, we were happy with it, and even more so than if we had been able to purchase one of the other on sale at the time; so well had the work been done. During those days we had to have Holy Mass in the sacristy. When all was completed the improvement was so pleasing that we felt it was well-worth any sacrifices that the transition entailed.

On July 25th Monsignor blessed the new Tabernacle and Benediction was given for the first time; on July 27th the first Holy Mass was said at the new altar.

During this week Mother Virginia and Sister Eustacia painted the walls and ceilings of the bath-room and lavatory in the old cloister. When the old-fashioned electrical fixture that had hung so threateningly from the ceiling for so many years had been replaced by a switch and button just inside the door, and all inside refinished, in the clean, inviting color-scheme of cream and water-green, we felt that our dear Mother and Sister were actable benefactors of the institution. 

Another improvement was made which delighted Sister Serafica who has charge of the dormitory. The room between the East and West dormitories was remodeled into a rather modern dressing room for the older girls. A long dressing table the length of the wall was built in, and above this three long mirrors the length of the wall were installed. New draperies, dresser covers, cushions, etc., all made of a heavy silky, large-flowered attractive, colorful material. Mother Virginia and Sister Serafica working together did most of the work and the improvement was greatly appreciated by the girls when they returned.


During the first week of August the Sisters who had been away for summer schools returned. On August the 6th, dear Sister Dolores who had not been well all summer went to Sioux City to the Hospital for a general check-up. After three days the disheartening report came from the Doctors' diagnosis that Sister had a collapsed spine, there was a deficit of calcium in the bones; it would be necessary for Sister to wear a brace and that she would not be able to teach the first semester. This would, indeed, be a great loss to St. Mary's.

The first retreat opened on the evening of August the 9th; the retreat-master, Father Ziegelmeyer, S. J. came at four-thirty, from St. Louis. The weather was cool and all tended to a devotional retreat. Sister Maxine who had made her retreat at St. Francis Mission served the priest during retreat. Sister Goeara and Mrs. Kissinger did the cooking. During retreat on the evening of August the 15th, Sister Anthony and Sister Margaret renewed their vows before Benediction. The ceremony so fitting appealing to Franciscan hearts was appreciated by the Sisters as a beautiful setting for the closing of the Feast of our Lady's Feast day. Retreat closed on the morning of August 17th. Sister Teresa and Sister Ludgardis who had come from St. Francis Mission to make the retreat returned home the same day.

On the morning of august the 18th Mother Bertrand arrived from St. Francis Mission. To have a visiting Sister at St. Mary's is, indeed, a factor for community rejoicing and when that visitor happened to be good smiling Mother Bertrand with whom we all felt so much at home, we had cause for major rejoicing. Mother remained with us until the following evening when Mother Virginia and she left St. Mary's for the Superiors Retreat at Marycrest.

The last special gift that we rejoiced over in the vacation of 1942 was the beautiful wine colored, rich, velvet dorsal hung behind the new liturgical altar, and making a magnificent background for the highly polished mahogany crucifix with an appealing flesh-colored ivory corpus suspended from a heavy brass chain. The whole setting is very pleasing and significant of eager loving zeal to beautify the Sacramental residence of Our Eucharistic King.

On September 2nd, sixty-nine boarders registered for the school year. We missed Sister Dolores who for twenty- five years had taken entire charge of the registration and who was still in the hospital at Sioux City. Mother Virginia with the other members of the faculty enjoyed the activity and interest concomitant with the receiving of new pupils in a Boarding School on registration day.

On September 3rd school opened with an enrollment of three-hundred sixteen children. Right Reverend Monsignor McNamara celebrated Holy Mass in honor of the Holy Ghost and an hour later schedules were evolving in familiar regularity, we have more boarders in the high school department this year; a happy contented spirit reigns among them; they adapted themselves quickly to life at St. Mary's and they are easily satisfied.

On September 12th Mother Erica and Mother Virginia met at Sioux City with the intention of removing Sister Dolores to our own Hospital in Alliance. Sister was not strong enough to attempt the trip; hence, she had to remain at Sioux City.

September the 15th, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Sister Dolores' name day, the students sent a telegram feast- day greetings, ten dollars for Holy Masses and a Spiritual Bouquet to Sister.

On Tuesday evening of this week the first High School dance of the year, an initiation of the Freshmen was well attended by the student body.

September the 19th the first teachers' meeting of the school year was assembled; Mother Virginia placed before the Faculty the platform for the character training of the students for the school year. It was received with enthusiasm by the teachers. Punctuality, politeness, industry, and co-operation were the four objectives stressed; through these, principles are to be impressed upon the minds of the pupils that will enable them to lead virtuous lives.

Another change came in the schedule when Sister Spes arrived from Alliance to help with the High School classes during Sister Dolores' absence. Sister is "at home" with us now and we are very grateful for her cordial, helpful ways, and, of course, we appreciate Mother Erica's thoughtfulness.

September 24th Mother Virginia had an opportunity to visit Sister Dolores again. On account of the tire and gas restrictions in the Mid-west whether- real or anticipated we are not able to visit Sister as frequently as we wish. Unless there is an emergency, traveling by Bus or train are too expensive, hence, we must take advantage of any free rides in cars, that are offered.

September 27th—Forty Hours Devotion opened in the Parish Church today. The classes were each dismissed as on the First Friday of each month for adoration, we are happy to see that the Parishioners are more faithful this year in keeping sentinel before the Blessed Sacrament. Loneliness in the homes caused by the absence of sons in service, finds sympathy in Jesus, lonely in the Tabernacle.


During the first week of October the pupils of the seventh and eighth grades gave a program on the mysteries of the rosary in an assembly of the High School students and later they repeated the program for the grade pupils. Sister Adeltrude had the children well prepared and the numbers were devotional and informative.

The Sodality of the High School was organized early in October; traditional with this organization at St. Mary's three groups were formed, the Boarders, the day-pupil girls and the boys. The sodalists seem eager to co-operate and the officers and chairmen of the different committees in all three sodalities have worked up a friendly rivalry in collecting stamps for the missions, participating in ejaculation contests, checking here and there on spiritual laxity, etc.,

Our Football team did not do so well this year; the boys on the team are tall and apparently big boys, but they are young and lack the physical reserve to compete with teams of older boys.

The Basket Ball team will soon be organized for the year; our old benefactor Mr. William Froelich who has done so very much for St. Mary's has again come to the front with furnishing a new supply of sweat shirts and new basketball suits for the team.

An activity which is quite unique in a girls' boarding school took place this year. In co-operation with the public school we entered the scrap day project. A free day was given to both schools for collecting scrap to help with the war economy project. A city lot was set aside for the center collection point and the teachers of the public school managed the weighing and tabulating of all scrap brought in by the children. How the children worked!  The boarders were divided into squads with a leader to each squad; the day was an ideal one and in keeping with the spirit of youth a great deal of fun accompanied the strenuous efforts to haul in the junk. We totaled over 115,000 pounds with an average of 500 pounds per capita in the High School. This entitled the High School to a flag offered by the World Herald of Omaha. The Senior class and the Eighth Grade had the highest class collection. They each received five dollars from the mayor. An appreciation program was held in the public school auditorium which was a credit to O'Neill and its schools. The united bands of the two schools which are under the same direction, Mr. Ira George, in uniforms, played while St. Mary's marched in from the west entrance, and the public school from the east entrance. The children from both schools were in fine order and in high spirits; cheers were given, the two schools united in chorus, awards were announced, etc., it was a real gala day with the outcome of arousing a feeling of pride in O'Neill with its population of so many children, a blessing from God.


The shrill whistle of the Northwestern piercing the early morning air aroused a significant thrill in the hearts of the Sisters of St. Mary's on the morning of October 26th, for we knew that Mother Erica was scheduled to arrive for her annual visitation. We were happy to have Mother with us for a week which passed all too quickly. During Mother's stay on October 29th four Sisters had to attend the Nebraska Teachers State Convention for Secondary Schools held at Norfolk, Nebraska. As eager and appreciative as we are to benefit by attendance at these conventions, who wants to leave home during the annual visitation week? November the 3rd we regretted to have Mother leave us for Omaha enroute to Marycrest.

The week of November the 15th we were deprived of Holy Mass in our chapel. Father Brick, our chaplain who is not yet one year ordained, had to take the Theological Examinations in Omaha. Monsignor came over to distribute Holy Communion at seven o'clock each morning, but he celebrated Holy Mass in the Parish Church, at a time when it was impossible for the majority of the Sisters and children to attend.

One Saturday afternoon early in November three colorful linoleum rugs arrived to replace the large carpet ones which with so much wear and accumulation of dust were no longer appropriate in the Library.

On November the 18th Mr. J. B. Ryan, an old benefactor who the week before had placed a beef in the general refrigerator for the Sisters of St. Mary's, sent his stenographer to Mother Virginia with a donation of $250.00.  Last year this time he gave $500 with the stipulation that it be spent for St. Mary's. May God reward those who do good unto us.

November 19th was the Feast of St. Elizabeth, and what we termed a "war-time" recreation day for there was a decided rationing on the opportunities to do an extra talking.

The pupils of the Music department presented the comic operetta, "Sunbonnet Sue" in the Public School Auditorium on the evening of November 22nd. The Friday afternoon preceding the Feast of Saint Cecilia the Operetta was staged for the pupils of the public school and St. Mary's. The teachers of the Public School sold tickets to their children and classes in both schools were dismissed for the Operetta. Three hundred public school children and about two-hundred fifty of St. Mary's attended. Sister Flores directed the operetta; we all rejoiced in the success of her work. St. Mary's Band under the direction of Mr. George kept the atmosphere attune before and between the stage settings.

November 25th Classes were dismissed at noon for the Thanksgiving vacation. We were all happy for a brief respite though it be only three days from the routine of school life as well as the regular boarding school surveillance.

Two fine turkeys came from Mr. Andy Clark, a nephew of Sister Alma's who never forgets the Sisters of St. Mary's at Thanksgiving or Christmas. A big fat goose also found its way to good Sister Ludgardis who with her usual dexterous ingenuity in her culinary art brought it before us dressed up fit for a king.

Thanksgiving evening Sister Fides and Sister Spes left St. Mary's for Omaha to receive medical care.

Another source of happiness came with dear Mother Virginia's expenditure for fifty new books, supplementary reading for the High School to be added to the Library. Where is the High School teacher that does not appreciate new books for the library?

During this semester we were made happy by the following report from the Office of Superintendent of schools after the inspection visit of Rev. P. E. Schneider, Diocesan Superintendent: "I wish to congratulate you on your fine school at O'Neill.  The teachers showed a very fine spirit of co-operation with each other and with the school authorities. I probably forgot many commendable points. I think the following deserve credit: the fine discipline, not the strict, dictator type, instead it was free; the students were relaxed and ready to co-operate, the co-operation with the public school in regard to the band and agriculture classes; the drawings, pictures, charts, etc., in the rooms; and the student activity in the various classes; I noticed this especially in the Freshmen English class where the teacher had a minor part in the class discussion. There were other teachers who had similar activity in their classes. Several of the teachers compared the matter of class assignment with conditions in the life of the child, and thus made the subject matter vital to the life of the child." We had awaited the new superintendent’s visit with some trepidation. We all rejoiced with Mother Virginia over this report and under her leadership we continue in our efforts to satisfy the Divine Master Superintendent of Franciscan Schools.


The first week of December Sister Ludgardis, our cook and her little Sister, Sister Margaret, were kept busy canning over forty gallons of meat to be conserved until next summer when the income ceases and the food consumption continues.

December the sixth, that traditional Feast day of Franciscan simplicity and joy was an especially happy one this year. Sister Maxine's artistic ability with paint and brush happily surprised and pleased everyone with a colorful fourteen inch statuette of good St. Nicholas. His features smiling and portraying intrinsic satisfaction with the good deed of his life carried on into this year of 1942.  Where he stood at each place in his rich bishopric regalia making the setting just what it should be for the feast day.

On December the 7th, the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, at two o'clock the entire High School Student body sang the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception; immediately following thirty three candidates were received into the Sodality. Rev. Father Brick delivered a very impressive sermon.

On the evening of December the ninth at 9 o'clock a practice black-out took place in 0’Neill and the vicinity. This was for the purpose of informing the people of the essentials of a black out in preparatory for the black-out over the Middle-west on December the 14th,

Mrs. Riesely, the manager of the town theatre gave a free movie on the morning of December 17th for the Academy school children at ten o'clock. The Sisters had to be in surveillance with the children.

Friday morning, December 18th, at eleven o’clock the chamber of commerce in accordance with an old O'Neill custom prepares a Christmas celebration for the children. A very elaborate parade with reindeers, floats presenting different Christmas scenes in which the children selected from St. Mary's and from the public school in costume sang Christmas carols; the united bands from the two schools gave selections. The parade was climaxed in an assembly near a large Christmas tree in the center of the town where the children all received a large apple to replace the sack of candy which had always been given in years of peace and plenty when there was no sugar rationings. At two o'clock the pupils of St. Mary's sang the traditional carols in the different classrooms, gifts were distributed and then classes were dismissed for the Christmas Holidays.

In one of our recreations early in December Mother and the Sisters made a schedule for the recreations general and particular of the Christmas vacation. The schedule was followed out with great Franciscan simplicity and joy; we enjoyed a movie in the assembly, two recreations in the library, bingo, Bunco games, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, letter-writing to home-folks, greetings and letters from our own dear sisters in different houses, etc., not a factor that goes to make Christmas holidays so unique in our communities was missing. The chapel was beautifully decorated; benefactors were especially generous; Holy Mass and Holy Communion everyday in our chapel with all the morning services an hour later. Mother Virginia and each Sister seemed determined to do her utmost to create the true Christmas spirit of love and joy, and a unanimous appreciation of the many many blessings received.

On December the 31st, the last day of 1942, was a day of recollection. Mother Virginia had made efforts to get a Jesuit priest from Denver or Omaha to conduct this day of recollection as last year for the Sisters, but it was impossible. Rev. Father O'Brien, of Emmet consented to do this for us and God blessed this day with and for our dear Lord. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed; Father is a very good speaker and he was well prepared.

Thus closes the year of 1942, a year so rich in blessings for St. Mary's and for the Sisters. The following Sisters are now at St. Mary's Academy:

Mother Virginia, Sullivan

 Sister Dolores, Diseh

Sister Brigid, Butler

Sister Edmunda, Curran

Sister Maxine, v. Brixen

Sister Electa, Mackin

Sister Fides, Paull

Sister Loretta, Daugherty

Sister Spes,Paull

Sister Laurissa, Tierney

Sister Xavier, Kirscht

Sister Adeltrude, Fries

Sister Ursula, Bighouse

Sister Andrea, Fischer

Sister Serafica.Behm

Sister Flores, Marques

Sister Leonita, Eager

Sister Laurita, Archer

Sister Ludgardis, Schneider

Sister Anthony, Degenhart

Sister Margaret, Schneider

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