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Friday, August 31, 2012

A Belated Birthday Wish to St. Philippine Duchesne and Novena of Confidence

Painting above is at
Duchesne of the Sacred Heart Houston
Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne was born on August 29, 1769 and the novena of confidence prayer below was posted as a favorite of the Society of the Sacred Heart.  For more info on the RSCJ in the United States - click here.

Lord Jesus, through the intercession of St. Philippine Duchesne,
to your Sacred Heart, we confide this intention: 
Only look, then do what your Heart inspires. 
Let your Heart decide.
 We count on it; we trust in it; we throw ourselves on your mercy.
Lord Jesus, you will not fail us.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Convent Girls by Kathy Lundy Derengowski

Photo taken in Lake Forest, IL of V. Scheid and D. Limback

                                   Convent Girls 

50 years have come and gone, it was the best of times;

Our study halls and SATs, our adolescent crimes

The white gloves that we had to wear, and Reverend Mother's feast.

A congé might be in the works, when we'd expect it least.

The clacking of the signal, when we had to get in line

The boarders using flashlights, to study after nine.

The day-hops rolling up their skirts when they got on the bus

The shared and special history that makes you one of us.

The competitions that we had, as tests, or for a team

The curtsies every Monday as we took our cards at Prîmes

The Mistress General coaxing, "Would you like to be a nun?"
Like talking to a brick wall,- we were having so much fun.

We knew, at graduation, that we would meet again

To share, and to remember, when our lives were "Trés Bien".

                                                Kathy Lundy Derengowski - 2011

Kathy Lundy Derengowski shared this poem written in honor of her El Cajon Reunion hosted April 2012 in San Diego, CA 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Memories Live On at the Hilltop

Convent of the Sacred Heart ~ St. Joseph, MO

Recently a donation along with a note was received at the AASH office in St. Louis from a 1939 alumna of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in St. Joseph Missouri affectionately called "Hilltop" due to its location. The school which open its doors on June 12, 1853 was closed in 1960.  All the religious once buried on the property were moved to Mount Olivet Cemetery and the building was  razed to make way for an apartment complex.  However, the memories have obviously not faded nor the federation, spirit and service of its alumnae.

The note read as follows:
"Dear Ones, How is everybody doing in AASH? This year I was 90 years old and still coordinating the food pantry - been there for 28 1/2 years.  Many hungry people, too many in fact. I just put all my fears in the hand of the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Mother.  Rev. Mother Celeste Thompson once said at Hilltop. 'The Blessed Mother is most a Mother when you need her most.' How true. I thank God for my Sacred Heart training at Hilltop.  Love to all, Marie Johannes Lederer"

In an upcoming blog I'll write more about Rev. Mother Celeste Thompson.  If you have a favorite memory of a special RSCJ, please write a comment below and let me know.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

For the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

For the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

Feast, August 15th

Sovereign Ruler of Heaven and earth, Who didst subvert the laws of nature, in becoming the Son of the ever blessed Virgin Mary, we adore Thy infinite power, wisdom, and bounty. We return Thee thanks for having preserved the soul of Mary from original and actual sin; for having enriched her with Thy gifts, and preserved her virginal body from the corruption of the tomb.  Forever blessed be the moment  which Thou wert pleased to reunite her most pure body to her happy soul, and receive them into immortal glory!

O compassionate Mother, be our advocate with the Adorable Trinity. Behold our combats, obtain for us the conquest of our enemies, grace to avoid sin, hearts detached from earthly affections, and the possession of a blessed eternity. Amen.

The prayer above was taken from the book: SPECIAL DEVOTIONS compiled for Children of the Sacred Heart - Revised Edition 1956

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rediscovering our Pioneering Spirit ... Discovering Ties to our Alumnae in Japan

L-R: AASH President, Maureen Elizabeth Ryan with Fr. Ignatius F. Ohno, S.J.
and AMASC President, Pam Snyder at Forest Ridge of the Sacred Heart 

On Saturday, August 11th the AASH Western Regional Conference concluded with Mass in the Forest Ridge Chapel.  What a pleasant surprise to most of the 48 attendees when our Celebrant, Fr. Ignatius "Natch" Ohno, S.J. introduced himself and mentioned that he holds a special place in his heart for the RSCJ as his mother attended the Sacred Heart school in Japan.  AMASC President, Pam Snyder was especially delighted to hear this and after mass we all posed for a photo in front of the Triptych of St. Madeleine Sophie and children painted by Mother Margaret Mary Nealis, RSCJ.

Photo highlights from our first night getting acquainted.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer Olympics in London and a message from the past... Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ

Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ
1857 -1914

If you have spent the last two weeks intently watching the summer Olympics being hosted in London and have a Sacred Heart education you might be thinking of one of the most admired and loved RSCJ educators of the 20th century. Janet Erskine Stuart was born November 11, 1857 in Cottesmore, England the youngest of Reverend Andrew Stuart's thirteen children.  She became a convert at age 22 and three years later entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at Roehampton, London

Mother Stuart rose through the ranks and became the sixth Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1911.  Her tenure was short yet filled with a great deal of writing. Most notably, The Education of Catholic Girls written in 1912.

The following quote by Janet Erskine Stuart sums up how I feel about this past week; "To be a Joy-Bearer and a Joy-Giver says everything; it means that one is faithfully living for God and that nothing else counts; and if one gives joy to others we are doing God's work."

Congratulations to all of the Olympic athletes and most especially to Sacred Heart students Lia Neal and Katie Ledecky. These two young ladies brought their Sacred Heart family and the entire United States much joy as they competed in the 2012 Olympics. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Philippine Duchesne to her sister Amelie, Madame Constans de Maudauit

August 8, 1842 ~ Mother Duchesne writes to her sister Amelie, Madame Constans de Maudauit. "My beloved Sister, suffer all in silence after the example of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  How much poor mother-hearts must suffer! I have all the sentiments of a mother for your children . . . Seek consolation only in the meek and humble Heart of Jesus Christ and you will find it in its enduring form."

Taken from the book: Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) "Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America"

The 2012 LCWR Assembly begins today in St. Louis, Missouri and concludes on Saturday. The theme is Mystery Unfolding: Leading in the Evolutionary Now (click here and see page 4).  To learn more about the LCWR click here.  

The above video found on You Tube is a beautiful tribute featuring numerous supporters who choose to stand with the sisters. Photos are from prayer services, vigils, peaceful demonstrations, Masses, and other gatherings in support of women religious in the United States in May and June 2012 in response to the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith's assessment of the Leadership Conference  of Women Religious and various other investigations and criticisms of Sisters in the U.S. 

Sr. Mary Charlotte Chandler, RSCJ former member of the Society of the Sacred Heart Provincial Team is one of the many sisters' featured in this short promo for an exhibit that ended earlier this year.  Sr. Chandler served with eight other religious sisters on the Women & Spirit History Committee.   While the touring exhibit has ended there is a DVD entitled "Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America" which was narrated by our very own Sacred Heart alumna, NPR senior news analyst and ABC news political commentator Cokie Roberts.  
“From the time the Ursulines arrived in New Orleans in 1727 up to today, women religious have made an incalculable contribution 
to this nation. Running schools, hospitals and orphanages from America’s earliest days, these women helped foster a culture of social service that has permeated our society. Over the centuries these courageous women overcame many obstacles—both physical and cultural—to bring their civilizing and caring influence to every corner of the country. Understanding and celebrating the history of women religious is essential to understanding and celebrating the history of America.”
          ~ Cokie Roberts, news analyst, author and Sacred Heart alumna 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sacred Heart Students' Neal and Ledecky Make Olympic History

Sacred Heart Network Boasts Olympic Champions

Congrats to Lia Neal and Katie Ledecky who both made Olympic history in London last week. Neal a student at 91st in New York was the second African-American female swimmer to medal in the Olympic Games. Ledecky a student at Stone Ridge in Bethesda was the the youngest (at age 15) U.S. Olympian this year.  The two Sacred Heart students were roommates during the games in London and had many supporters and fans nationwide cheering them on via tweets and Facebook postings. On behalf of the AASH we send our best wishes to these two fantastic athletes and Sacred Heart students!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Collaborating with the RSCJ

Maggie Sieger Kaspura, AASH Interim National Office Director and MER enjoyed
 being with members of the Society and Network of Sacred Heart Schools in St. Charles, MO

Last April, Society of the Sacred Heart U.S. Provincial and AASH Honorary President, Sr. Paula Toner, RSCJ, invited me to attend a collaborative meeting with members of her Provincial Team, as well as incoming Provincial Sr. Barbara Dawson, RSCJ. We met on Sunday, July 8th in St. Charles, Missouri, home of the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne.  The participants included Sr. Paula Toner and a few members of her provincial team: Sisters Susan Maxwell, Mary Charlotte Chandler and Mary Kay Hunyady, as well as Sr. Shirley Miller, RSCJ Director of Mission Advancement and Ms. Therese Meyerhoff, Director of Communications and Public Relations for the U.S. Province.  Joining us from the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, Madeleine Ortman, Executive Director and Dr. Joseph Ciancaglini, Chair of the Network Board and Head at 91st Street. 

In mid July, I was invited to attend the Society's Provincial Assembly in St. Louis as one of their constituency collaborators, to be back at the Shrine to attend mass with over 230 RSCJ's and witness the Leadership Blessing Ceremony.  Yesterday, August 1st, Sr. Barbara Dawson and her new Provincial Team began their three year term.  Read more here about the New Leadership Team for the Society of the Sacred Heart, U.S. Province 

As you may know the U.S. Provincial of the Religious of the Sacred Heart serves as the Honorary President of AASH and is an advisor to the Board of Directors.  On behalf of the Alumnae and Alumni of the Sacred Heart, I want to publicly say "thank you" to Sr. Paula Toner RSCJ and her team for their leadership and devotion to all the "children of the Sacred Heart."  Please know that as you prepare to transition into new roles within the Society you will be in our hearts and prayers. 

To our new AASH Honorary President and U.S. Provincial, Sr. Barbara Dawson, RSCJ and her Provincial Team, Sisters Meg Causey, Sheila Hammond, and Diana Wall, rest assured that the AASH looks forward to continuing our support and promotion of the various ministries served by our beloved Society.