Photo Collections


1952 - "Hospital Dreams"

January 12, 1952

Following shortly the re-opening of school after the holidays, came New Year joys in visible form. Several conversions, touching St. Mary’s rather closely, went on record: Mr. Price, father of two Jesuits and a diocesan priest, all graduates of our school, was baptized on January 12. Mr. Stetter of Valentine, father of an alumna, was received into the Church. One of the seniors, Joann Smith of Dubois, Wyoming, was baptized on the fourteenth…

January 14, ‘52

 …of January and made her solemn First Holy Communion on the fifteenth, in St. Mary’s Chapel. Joann’s godmother by proxy, is Lucille McCulley, a former St. Marian and also a convert, now studying in France. Shirley Leaky, Sodality prefect, took Lucille’s place at the font. Another senior girl, Sharon Wagnon, under instruction at this time, was received into the Church some weeks later.

January 20, ‘52

Mother Erica, enroute to Denver for the regular Council meeting, was accompanied by Sister Maxine, who consulted an eye specialist and was fitted with glasses. Blizzard conditions kept them in Denver several days beyond schedule.

January 26, ‘52

The basketball quintet made a fair name for itself, even succeeding in winning one of two games with St. Francis Mission. The blizzard which halted all activities including school for one day, postponed the opening of the Holt County Tournament. The extra snow did not affect the size or spirit of the crowds at the tournament games. St. Mary’s kept in the lead until the finals—then ended in second place.  

February 8, ‘52

With the opening of the second semester, the Sodality had inaugurated a “Sacrifice Corner,” as Sister Rufina called the project for the conversion of sinners. Probably because our first three sinners needed just a little boost to hoist them directly into the arms of the Good Shepherd, results were immediate and visible. Enthusiasm for sacrifice ran high. Even struggling candidates for religious life were confided to the care of Mary, Refuge of Sinners. Then on February 10, two of our girls, Arleen Borszich and Shirley Steele left for Marycrest to become postulants. Sister Emilia went to Denver with them.

This date also marks the completion of the new school office. The old, windowless, dark office had become part of a corridor connecting the Academy directly with the Chapel. The route leads through the former office, a part of the old cloister, then to the front door of the chapel. A bar, or sort of cashier’s window, separates this former office from the new one next to it, which was formerly a cell. This is blessed with daylight and a new fluorescent light. The records now have the required privacy and the whole appearance is quite official. New office furniture lend beauty and elegance. Fluorescent lights have also been installed in all the classrooms.

February 26, ‘52

The shadow of anxiety hanging over us since Jubilee Day, in April of 1950, was at last dispelled on February 26. On that day the case filed against Downey’s by Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Matthews was to be tried in a Lincoln court. Sister Antonella was to appear in court as witness for the defense. Because of the obvious pain and embarrassment the situation was causing the Sisters, Downey’s generously agreed to settle out of court. Thus the picture taking episode cost the photographer thirteen thousand dollars and costs plus Mrs. Matthews’ hospitalization and surgery up that time.

February 29, ‘52

The basketball team carried off District Tournament honors. Later they were eliminated from State competition, but enjoyed the trip to Lincoln just the same.

March 7, ‘52

The community was shocked by the violent death of Mr. Chet Calkins; O’Neill’s loved night watchman for years, and a kind friend to the Sisters. Mr. Calkins always met the night trains and was most solicitous about Sister travelers. May he now enjoy the reward of his many acts of kindness.

March 22, ‘52

The Archdiocesan Sodality Union scheduled its convention for March 22 in Omaha. A free busload of St. Mary’s Sodalists planned an eventful day, but Heaven sent another blizzard. No traffic on the thickly drifted highway, so 35 disappointed sodalists tried hard to say their first gracefully.

March 30, ‘52

This date marked the close of Vocation week activities, and the staging of the senior class play, Thank You, Mr. Parker.

April 1, ‘52

Sister Agnesmarie Slaight, called home by the tragic death of her mother, spent some little time with us. Her courage in accepting this cross, as well as her father’s admirable fortitude, are worthy of note and imitation.

April 16, ‘52

This Franciscan feast meant only music to some thousand music students who gathered here for the annual Music Festival. The event, this year, went back to contest technique, except that ratings were not published until several days after the musicians had returned to their homes. Thus they were not so likely to compare ratings of one school against another. Thus, also, one of the bad features of contests was eliminated.

April 24, ‘52

In the first really warm days of spring the juniors held their festivities. The high point in the year for them is Banquet and Prom Night. Father Carl helped the juniors to decorate, and the result was effective and different. The gym had become a Spanish patio with well simulated brick and stucco arches Spanish pottery, and Spanish flowers. The Prom, the first in many years without benefit of orchestra, was as enjoyable and elegant as ever. The following day, juniors and seniors took their traditional day of rest in lieu of a class picnic.

 April also saw the erection of a merry-go-round and a new set of teeters on the playground. Within the year, another and larger set of swings and three larger teeters were erected. This addition to the playground was made possible by the efforts of the Friends of St. Mary’s.

April 29, ‘52

A pleasant and stimulating experience was the visit of Father Zuercher, S.J., and his St. Francis speech students. They competed with and outclassed our speakers, but gave us a chance to display some of our musical talent. The Sisters enjoyed having Mother Cecilia and Sister Spes as guests for those few hours.

May 1, ‘52

Our Lady’s month opened with a simple reception ceremony for our converts Joann Smith and Sharon Wagnon, who became sodalists on May 1.

The spring operetta presented by the Music Department was the old favorite, The Wishing Well. The singing was up to standard, but attendance at this affair was disappointing. Financial proceeds, however, were satisfactory.

May 11, ’52

First Communion day for 21 little boys and 25 little girls, most of whom were in the first grade. Our impression of six year olds at the Communion rail is that they hardly realize what they are doing.

May 12, ‘52

Picnic day for the freshmen and sophomores. They, too, chose a free day, in preference to an outing. The following day the grade children had their picnics—on our own grounds or at nearby farm homes. All reported a most enjoyable day.

May 14, ‘52

The juniors, with their hands full just at this time of the year, managed to put on a class play, Strike Three, with creditable success. It had some coaching by both Father Carl and Sister M. George.

May 18, ‘52

The alumni banquet this year was prepared for 195 guests. Eight more covers had to be laid. This total is, with the exception of the Jubilee Year, the all time high. From an Alumni Association that has reached the thousand mark, that is still a good representation, especially since their occupations take them into many states and even foreign countries. Two came from Chicago to spend the day with us.

This day is also Mother Erica’s nameday, but the celebration had been anticipated on May 11, because of the rush of activities through the latter part of the month.

May 18, ‘52

The music students not featured in the Spring Festival, gave a recital for parents and friends in our Assembly. Some of the beginners played for just one minute, so that a program of nearly 30 members lasted only an hour and a half. Doting parents never heard the like.

May 20, ‘52

The Fathers and several groups of parents accompanied the Altar Boys to a picnic, all their own, at Long Pine. This, too, promises to become an annual affair.

May 21, ‘52

The traditionally beautiful May procession, in white dresses for the little ones and formals for the young ladies, was held on a lovely May evening. Shirley Leaky had the honor of crowning Our Lady’s statue, proclaiming Mary as Queen of our school.

May 25, ‘52

A trio of Jubilee bells sent out their glad message on May 25. Sisters Serafica, Emilia, and Flores were noting 25 years in the service of God. They voiced their gratitude through means of a Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving in the parish church. Father Reilly, a cousin of Sister Serafica, had offered an early Mass in the convent chapel, during which the Sisters renewed their holy vows. At the solemn High Mass, Father Reilly preached a touching sermon on the vocation to the religious life. A dinner at noon for Jubilee guests was followed by a beautiful pageant on the spiritual glamour surrounding the life of a Bride of Christ.

May 27, ‘52

Grade school closing was climaxed by the eighth grade graduation exercises. The graduates dramatized the story Sleeping Beauty as symbolic of their entering a new phase of their education.

May 28, ‘52

Senior class night exercises were held in the public school auditorium, and on May 29, ten young men and 25 young ladies received their diplomas from the hands of the Very Reverend Timothy O’Sullivan in St. Patrick’s church. This marked the end of another school year.

June 1, ‘52

The only vacation schools requiring our services this year were St. John’s, Clearwater and St. Peter’s in Ewing. Both had two weeks of catechizing, and Sister Jolenta came from Denver to help with this work. Sister Emilia and Sister Ferdinand had one to St. Francis Mission to keep the early summer Retreat, and several of the other teachers had to get early starts at their various summer colleges. This same week Mr. and Mrs. King arrived from Minot, North Dakota, to spend several days with Sister Lucy.

June 9, ‘52

Beginning on June 9, summer sessions opened at Creighton University for Sister Lucy, and at St. Mary, Xavier, for Sister Flores. Other Sisters attending colleges were Sister Anne at Davenport, Iowa; Sister Mildred at Marquette; and later in the month, Sisters Christiana and Antonella at Loyola in Chicago for a three-week workshop in English.

July 4, ‘52

Mrs. Anna Paull, mother of Sisters Caritas, Spes, and Fides, died on July 4 at St. Joseph Hospital, Alliance. A second funeral Mass and burial services were held at Creighton, Nebraska, the family home. Mother Erica and Sisters from St. Mary’s were present to pay tribute to a generous mother.

July 14, ‘52

Sisters Emilia, George, and Laurita accompanied a group of St. Mary’s sodalists to the Summer School of Catholic Action in Omaha from July 14 to July 20. The spark caught by the girls at this summer school brightens all their sodality work through the year. After that week of training they are intelligent Catholics working toward a definite goal. Incidentally, one of our delegates, Rosemary Corkle, took part in the S.S.C.A. talent night program and won first place honors for her performance on the piano.

July 22, ‘52

 On the Feast of Mother Magdalen the Sister personnel for St. Anthony’s Hospital arrived in O’Neill. We saw them only at meals and prayer time, for their “dream of a hospital” occupied them through all their working hours.

July 25, ‘52

On July 25, Marian Richer, talented niece of Sister Laurita and a student nurse just ready for graduation, was stricken with the severest type of polio. She is still completely paralyzed and can be out of the iron lung for only ten minutes at a time.

August 3, ‘52

Summer school Sisters returned after a strenuous summer and prepared for the big Retreat. Retreat this year was conducted by Father Raphael McCarthy, S.J., and had a great appeal for all his listeners. Father’s wealth of experience and his brilliant mind combined with the simplicity of his presentation made him a splendid Retreat master. The retreat closed on August 13.

August 8, ‘52

Mother Erica joined other representatives of the Province at the convention for Religious held at Notre Dame. From there, Mother went directly to Denver to attend Reception and Profession ceremonies and to help transact other business for the Province.

Only a slight shake-up in personal came this summer. Sister Anne was transferred to St. Elizabeth’s, Denver, and Sister Maureen Murphy came to us from the Novitiate. Sister Bonaventure, from Scottsbluff, is another welcome addition to the community.

September 1, ‘52

The first days of September always loom inevitably and threateningly ahead. Always, too, they resent a challenge and this year, more than ever, these days took measure of our stamina. Enrollment was irregular only in the large size of freshman and kindergarten classes. The total enrollment for the grades is 219, for the high school, 158. July weather, with hot dry, Sahara—like winds greeted us day after day. Respite came in the third week and our equanimity was restored. Some of the mechanical details of school routine run more smoothly than in previous years. Classes move from room to room in a quieter and more orderly fashion, because both the type room and the freshman home room are on the same floor with the other high school classes. There is no shift between floors. This improvement came about by the conversion of the Assembly into type room and classroom. The new Assembly will occupy, on the main floor, a position similar to its old one on third. Both students and parents will benefit by a more centrally located auditorium. Another factor contributing to smoother operation is the presence of a capable, dignified lay teacher in the Social Studies department—Mr. Joseph George. His influence upon the boys is palpable and uplifting. Mr. George also coaches football and basketball.

Other lay help required for the new scholastic year includes Mrs. F.J. Kubitschek for private piano lessons, Miss Barbara Birmingham for the fourth grade, Mrs. Les Gokie for fifth grade, Mrs. Stanley Holly and Mrs. Gordon Harper in the laundry, Mrs. Suchy and Mrs. Catherine Craig in the kitchen, Mrs. Tomlinson and Mrs. Ross for housework and our old reliable maintenance man, Mr. Ignace Heumesser.

September 15, ‘52

The Friends of St. Mary’s inaugurated their new year of service with a business meeting on September 15. The new officers are: Mrs. W.J. Froelick, President, Mrs. J.J. Berigan, Vice-President; Mrs. James Rooney, secretary; and Mrs. Tom Green, treasurer. Present plans are to concentrate all their efforts toward the purchase of a new concert piano. On this same day, our classes took turns going through the new hospital building almost in readiness for Dedication. The following day, the public school classes were conducted through the building. On September 18 the hospital Sisters invited us over for housewarming. After seeing all the rooms in their new drapes and furnishings, we had a little Franciscan party in the nurses’ dining room.

September 24, ‘52

The big day for St. Anthony’s had arrived. Both schools dismissed classes in the afternoon to assist with the program, catering and ushering for the various activities connected with the Dedication. It was a unique experience for the schools.

October 4, ‘52

The great Feast passed in quiet festivity—a real treat that it fell on Saturday and we had no classes.

October 9, 10, ‘52

The inter-diocesan school convention was held in Omaha on October 9 and 10. Mother Erica and Sister Antonella were able to go the first day while our school remained in session. On Friday classes were dismissed and five more Sisters from high school and grades attended.

October 20, ‘52

The juniors enjoyed participation in County Government and found it a real learning experience.

November 6, ‘52

Mother Elma came for Visitation. These happy days passed all too quickly but had a satisfying aftermath. Mother could take back to Denver with her two postulants, Agnes Langan and Anna Marie Schulte, both boarders. Rita Simons made application and, God willing, will enter Marycrest in January. One of the February postulants had not persevered and this threefold replacement is matter for heartfelt gratitude.

November 9, ‘52

The football game with Elgin ended in our favor; homecoming festivities clinched that happy feeling. Florence Lee was queen of the occasion; Wayne Donohoe, king.

November 18, ‘52

The juniors wanted to get their turn at entertaining before Advent. So they chose the harvest theme, and gave us a most pleasant evening. The Harvest royalty was led by Sophie Murphy and Gerald Fahrenholz.

November 28, ‘52

Sister Maureen, for reasons of health, was transferred to Denver and Sister Anne came back to us for second and third grades.

December 2, ‘52

The students’ annual Retreat opened in this first week of Advent. Father Eugene Gallagher, S.J., an alumnus of St. Mary’s, conducted those grace-filled exercises. The children found him both interesting and inspirational.

December 5, ‘52

Although St. Nicholas had made a precious appointment, several teachers had to leave their regrets in order to supervise the first basketball game with O’Neill. Prospects for a successful season are only middling—that is, if one is too concerned about the scoreboard. Other values are being stressed and, in spite of appearances, it will be a good season.

December 10, ‘52

Mrs. Rasley gave her usual theatre party for the children of both schools. This year it was The Christmas Carol, and was a real treat, even for the teachers.

Sister Mildred had submitted to sinus surgery in Omaha on December 10, and missed several days of school. The operation was successful and sister has had relief. Sister Anthony underwent minor surgery at St. Anthony’s Hospital and recovered in a few days.

December 15, ‘52

The Royal Theatre gave a special children’s matinee of The Miracle of Fatima. Teachers feel well repaid for the loss of school time devoted to such an artistic portrayal of this great event.

December 16, ‘52

The Music Department gave a Christmas operetta composed by two senior music students and directed by Sister Flores. Considering that it was presented in the gym upon a makeshift stage, without curtain, it was a real success.

December 18, ‘52

The boarders’ Christmas banquet on the eve of vacation time put the finishing touch to the lovely pre-Christmas days.

December 25, ‘52

The beautiful day was commemorated by Midnight Mass and all the solemnities of the occasion—candlelight procession, vested sanctuary boys, mixed high school and adult choir, and even a life size representation of the Holy Pair with the Infant outdoors on the church lawn. This latter had been prepared by Father Carl and the older boys of the sodality.

December 31, ‘52

Grateful hearts spend this day close to God in a real Franciscan retreat. Gratitude wells up especially when we think of our generous benefactors, the donors toward the coal collection which totals nearly fourteen hundred dollars, the largest in the history of St. Mary’s; Mr. William Froelick, who gave two thousand dollars; Mr. J.D. Cronin, whose Christmas gift was two hundred and fifty dollars; Father O’Sullivan, who made a substantial money gift, and best of all, offered the Christmas Midnight Mass for all the Sisters. Though these and all our benefactors will be rewarded a hundredfold where rewards are everlasting, yet we feel bound to make every effort to win special blessings for them by our work, our work, our prayer, our very lives.

The community at St. Mary’s consists of the following Sisters:

Mother M. Erica Hughes

Sister M. Bonaventure Schneider         

Sister M. Antonella Troshynski

Sister M. George Shoemaker

Sister M. Brigid Butler

Sister M. Edward Hupgen

Sister M. Maxine von Brixon

Sister M. Laurita Archer

Sister M. Christiana Keber

Sister M. Feredinand Fields

Sister M. Serafica Behm

Sister M. Emilia Weiler                                 

Sister M. Anne Hays

Sister M. Rosemarie Miller

Sister M. Mildred Vogel

Sister M. Anthony Degenhart

Sister M. Flores Marquez                              

Sister M. Lucy King



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