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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Stuart Country Day School Celebrates 50 years of Educating the next Generation of Women Leaders

Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart celebrating 50 years of educating
our next generation of women leaders.  Congrats on your golden anniversary

This weekend Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart is kicking off a year long celebration of their 50th anniversary!  For photo highlights and more info - click here.   Also, visit their Facebook page!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lamb Umbrellas for Peace - An Overview by Matt Lamb

"If not now when?  If not US who? We must be peacemakers" 
~ Matt Lamb (1932-2012)

While Matt Lamb did not attend a Sacred Heart school, his message is so appropriate this week as we honor the memories of those loved ones who died on 9/11 and also considering current happenings in both Egypt and Syria.  I was honored to be a guest at the home of Matt Lamb and his wife Rosemary many years ago when then Chicago Cardinal Bernardin was about to be honored at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School.  I went to High School (Mother McAuley) with one of his daughters and was fortunate to serve with another daughter on a local board (MVCC).   His message resonates with me this week and thus I wanted to share with all of you!  Peace be with you! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"What is needed for winning parents and children ... St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

"What is needed for winning parents and children is to be busy about them, to be at their service, to listen to them with interest, to console and to encourage them, and finally, to become for their sake gentle, patient, indulgent, in one word, a mother. "

 ~ St. Madeleine Sophie Barat 

The above quote was taken from The Wisdom of Madeleine Sophie Barat - Day by Day Calendar.  To order a copy of the calendar (Cost: $10.00 + postage) - click here

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

For the sake of a single child ... St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat Window

"For the sake of a single child, 
I would have founded the 
Society of the Sacred Heart"

This magnificent stained glass window, depicting St. Madeleine Sophie Barat and a child, was commissioned for the Academy of the Sacred Heart, LakeForest at the time of the building of the school’s chapel in 1924, twenty years after the building of Old Main. The window itself was one of three welcoming students to the Academy and to Barat College. Emil Frei, Sr., who was born in Bavaria and emigrated to the U.S. in 1889, designed all three windows. He founded The Emil Frei Art Glass Company, which still operates today and specializes in Munich antique glass figured style windows.  
The Madeleine Sophie Barat window is a gift to Woodlands Academy from the Barat Education Foundation. It has been installed in the Bolton Sullivan Library at Woodlands and is dedicated to the Religious of theSacred Heart of Jesus and to Barat College Alumnae/i.

Today quoting St. Madeleine Sophie above, Nat Wilburn, Head of Sacred Heart Schools Chicago, introduces the next 5-year Strategic Plan: To learn more and watch the video click here

The above quote was taken from The Wisdom of Madeleine Sophie Barat - Day by Day Calendar.  To order a copy of the calendar (Cost: $10.00 + postage) - click here

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sacred Heart alums to be Honored at 2013 Archbishop's Dinner for Education

Laura McKee Hickman, DO'85
Principle at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart

On September 12, 2013 the 36th Annual Archbishop's Dinner will be hosted at the Embassy Suites, La Vista.  The Archdiocese of Omaha holds its annual dinner recognizing outstanding teachers and administrators throughout the Catholic school system and each of the eight honorees will receive a $5,000 award.  Two of the eight awardees have ties to Sacred Heart.  Laura McKee Hickman, a 1985 graduate of Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart currently serves as Principal of her alma mater and Katie Barmettler, is a graduate of Maryville University.  

Click here to read further details about all eight awardees: Stacy Uttecht, Laura Hickman, Mary Bartak, The Rev. Steven Emanuel, Barbara Stansbury, Michael Hartigan, Katie Barmettler, and Nancy Gillpatrick. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Special Birthday for a Special Duchesne Alumna...Happy 95th Marie!

Photos and story courtesy of Sr. Mary Schumacher, RSCJ, LPC
Marie Julia Ryan deMott, known as Rye, celebrated her 95th birthday with 113 family and friends on Sunday, September 1, 2013. The pink themed celebration as was evident by the beautiful pink flowers and delicious pink frosted cake was held at the Renaissance Mansion in Omaha, Nebraska. The guests were treated to live violin music as Rye graciously greeted each and everyone throughout the evening. Six of her great grand children were present and three of her four living children, as five of her children are deceased.  Steve a Maryknoll priest was director of Maryknoll communications and died at the age of 57. Peter who was a peace activist died while trimming trees.
Marie Julia Ryan was born on September 1, 1918 in Iowa, the eldest daughter of Mary O'Meara and Eulogius William Ryan. She was a 1940 graduate of Duchesne College in Omaha, Nebraska. Sr. Connie Campbell, RSCJ was her college roommate.
In the mid 1940's Rye met and married John Irving deMott.  The newlyweds settled in Minnesota and had nine children. While living in Minnesota on a 600 acre farm that her husband had inherited, John tragically died two days before Christmas in 1955. Rye became a widow with nine children to raise at the age of 39.  Three years later Rye a speech and drama teacher decided to move the children to Omaha, Nebraska.   

Rye was the activities director for the Religious of the Sacred Heart assisted living community at Duchesne for 10 years in the 70's. She spent over 25 years teaching and tutoring at Duchesne Academy. 
While she has had her share of grief, Rye's deep faith has been her underlying strength throughout her life. It was her custom to walk over a mile to St. Cecelia Cathedral and attend daily Mass before heading to work at the Duchesne Academy.  She is a faithful friend and a living model of her love for God and witness of faith.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pat Steppe, RSCJ (1928-2013) ..."How many children has she touched on their climb to fulfillment"?

Patricia Anne Steppe, RSCJ taken at Oakwood in front of her room - May, 2011

It is with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of Sr. Patricia Ann Steppe, RSCJ this past Wednesday, September 4, 2013.  Joseph and Elsie Steppe and older sister Rosemary welcomed little Patricia into the world on March 27, 1928.  As a young girl she loved to dance but most of all she loved teaching.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Le Clerc College and a Master's degree in education and elementary school education from St. Louis University.  And then in 1960 she decided to enter the Society of the Sacred Heart. Earlier this year Sr. Steppe celebrated her 50th year anniversary of making her First Vows as a Religious of the Sacred Heart.  

Sr. Steppe retired to the Oakwood Community in Atherton, California in 2007,  about a year or so after I first met her. Prior to her retirement, many children at Sacred Heart schools in St. CharlesGrand Coteau, and Menlo Park were blessed to have know her. However where she made her biggest impact is at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles.  And, it was at St. Charles in November of 2006 when I first heard of the legendary Sr. Steppe.  

I remember the weekend as if it were yesterday! I was in town to attend the AASH Southern Regional Business Meeting being hosted November 17 & 18, 2006 at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, St. Charles, Missouri.  I was especially looking forward to "Spend the night at Philippine's House". The overnight accommodations were modestly priced. But for me the real hook was that we were offered a private room and a shared bath on the third floor of the original school building in what was formerly known as the nuns cloister!  Yes, I was truly looking forward to this experience of staying on the campus and walking in the very same halls as St. Rose Philippine Duchesne.  

So at the close of a wonderful evening, I and a few other alums climbed the "Steppe Stairs" up to the 3rd floor to the former cloister.  As I did so, I could not help but notice a picture of an RSCJ named Patricia Steppe and a small plaque below it (see photo) which in part read: "How many children has she touched on their climb to fulfillment"?     

Later that evening I was told of how this remarkable woman had saved the school from closing back in 1972. For some reason it never occurred to me that she was still living and working at the school.  The next morning I awoke and anxiously dressed so that I could take in the experience of being in this awesome building on a day when students, faculty, staff and special guests would gather in the gym for an all-school liturgy to celebrate the Feast of St. Philippine Duchesne. Archbishop Raymond Burke was the presider at this special mass and unveiling of the recently sculpted bronze statue of Philippine Duchesne. The beautiful statue was on its way to the State Capitol in Jefferson City Missouri to be placed in the Hall of Famous Missourians.  

The alums attending the business meeting were gathering prior to mass for continental breakfast and a welcome by the Head of School, Sr. Maureen Glavin, RSCJ.  I eagerly headed down the Steppe Stairs and as I opened the door found the hallway a buzz with young girls and boys heading to their classrooms and a darling nun directing them.  I paused and looked to the left and right and as I was trying to determine which direction to take this darling nun directing traffic offered to help me.  When I explained where I was suppose to be instead of giving me directions she very graciously smiled and told me to follow her.  As we walked each and every young student would pause upon seeing me and look directly at me and greet me with a  "Good morning".  As we hurried down one hallway after another, I introduced myself and then this very kind nun said, "I'm Pat Steppe".  I gasped and was  almost speechless for a few seconds and then I uttered "the Sister Steppe"?!   I was in awe!  I told her as we walked what a pleasure it was to meet the woman who was responsible for keeping the school open.  As I entered the room and saw a few of the alums who had also spent the night, I stated somewhat still in shock and a wee bit verklempt that I had just met Sister Steppe! Subsequent to our first meeting in St. Charles, I have had the good fortune to see Sr. Steppe at the Oakwood Community located in Atherton, California. 

To read more about Sr. Patricia Steppe, RSCJ go to 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ Named Next Provincial of Chicago-Detroit Province

MER with Fr. Brian G. Paulson, SJ  taken at the IVC Chicago
2013 "Evening of Gratitude" Reception

Sending my heartfelt congratulations to Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ who was recently named the next Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province.  Fr. Paulson will begin his new leadership role in July 2014, succeeding Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki, SJ who will become president of the U.S. Jesuit Conference.  By the way, Fr. Kesicki, SJ gave a wonderful Invocation at the 115th Commencement exercises at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton, California on May 24, 2013 (click here to view on YouTube)
“As I finish my term as provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province, I couldn’t be happier that Fr. General has named Fr. Paulson to be the next provincial,” said Fr. Kesicki. “He has the proven capacity and the gifts to care for the Jesuits and the ministries of our province. … I look forward to working with him in my new role as president of the Jesuit Conference.”

Fr. Paulson, SJ is well known here within the Chicago Sacred Heart community serving as the presider for many masses for both Sacred Heart alums and current students at Josephinum Academy and Sacred Heart Schools - Chicago. On occasion those fortunate may find him as presider for the Sunday evening mass at Holy Family Parish.  Holy Family Parish is the very same parish where the Society of the Sacred Heart had established in 1858 a parish school, as well as boarding school.  The Sacred Heart boarding school eventually relocated in 1904 to Lake Forest, IL and today is known as Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart.  

Fr. Paulson served as president of Saint Ignatius College Prep from 1999-2010 and he currently serves as rector of the Loyola University Jesuit Community in Chicago.  
“I am deeply humbled to accept this call of Fr. General to lead and serve my brother Jesuits as provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province,” says Fr. Paulson. “In my 32 years as a Jesuit, I have been richly blessed with Jesuit and lay friends, along with tremendous opportunities for ministry, all of which I treasure.”

To read further information and details of this good news about Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ, please go to the Jesuits website - or click here

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Few Words About Water and World Water Week 2013

Plaque as seen on the Chicago Water Tower on Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL

As a Healthy Waters enthusiast I was reminded via email today by Melanie Guste, rscj that this week (Sept 1- 6, 2013) is World Water Week in Stockholm.

Yesterday, as I walked up Michigan Ave., I took the above photo, so today as I think about some of the important questions that are going to be discussed at WWW in Stockholm, I wonder how each of us would respond to these important questions about our water supply.  I am aware that since the late 19th century educational and religious institutions here in Chicago have been exempt from paying tax for their water supply. However, I also know that when my mother's water bill came in at ten times the usual cost due to a toilet constantly running the solution was easily fixed with a new flapper.  Since then, I have become more aware of water usage and as I get older I hope the little bit I do will help.  I try not to run the water while brushing my teeth and do not flush the toilet every trip to the bathroom. And, I have become extremely conscientious about a running toilet.

The more I thought about the issue of water and its importance, I recalled that in my exhaustive research of Sacred Heart history some years ago, I came across a newspaper article written in August of 1904.  The article states that as the newly constructed Convent of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, IL now known as Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart was about to open its doors, the newspaper headline in the Chicago Tribune read: "BIG SCHOOL IS DRY... Sacred Heart Nuns Find New Convent Lacks Water Supply". Yes, apparently after Mother Marie Van den Abeele, rscj had finished supervising construction of the new Convent of the Sacred Heart boarding school at a cost of $300,000 there was no water!  

As the story reported in the Chicago Tribune states: "The big building was completed; every gleaming white bath tub and nickeled water faucet was in place. So the nuns gave the order. 'Turn on the water'."   However, it was soon discovered that the school had no water!  Apparently, there was no water main in the street that connected to the property.  As the story was told: "Negotiations now are being carried on with the Lake Forest municipal authorities to secure the extension of the main.  This, the nuns expect, will be done at once, although if a special assessment for the work is necessary property owners may protest.  The members of the order, however, are determined to have the building ready for school next month, whatever the cost."  Thus a series of negotiations ensued and eventually enabled the municipal authorities to agree to secure an extension to the main supply. 

To read the rest of the history of the Convent of the Sacred Heart also known as Barat College in Lake Forest, IL.,  go to Sr. Martha Curry, rscj website ( for details on how to order her book, BARAT COLLEGE: A LEGACY, A SPIRIT AND A NAME.  

And, to view a live stream of World Water Week 2013: opening plenary - click here