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Our Time is Special at SHA
Deirdre Cryor

Welcome Home Alumnae!

What a joy to welcome back the Class of 2018 to speak with the Class of 2019 about their college experiences. Between laughs and smiles, the college students shared stories about roommates, about making new friends and about getting involved with activities. Wise advice for the high school seniors: manage your time well, be present in class and take care of yourself. “At SHA they helped you to manage your time. In college, they don’t care and you have to take care of yourself.” This particular Head of School was thrilled when the girls shared that they felt well prepared academically!

December at Sacred Heart

Our December was joyous, thoughtful and festive. Thanks to concerts, sweater contests, decorations and Ring Ceremony and Dance, the Christmas spirit spilled over throughout the school for many weeks! In our final prayer service before break, we were reminded of the Christmas story. I had the opportunity to share with the students the breath-taking story of the first Christmas for Philippine Duchesne and her students in St. Charles in 1818.

“At the sound of the bell all gathered in the chapel or its adjoining rooms for midnight Mass. The Christ Child was reborn on the altar and in the hearts of the twenty nuns and children that night, who welcomed him with love and gratitude.”

Following the prayer service, the school joined in a Christmas song sing-along enjoying the fun of Rudolph, Frosty and, of course, Twelve Days of Christmas. There is something so special to hear the quieter and smaller voices at the beginning of the song with Two Turtle Doves, Five Gold Rings and then as the song marches up to the twelfth day and the twelfth grade announce “Twelve Drummers Drumming” and the descent begins with the voices turning from song to shouts, and the energy and spirit bouncing throughout the gym. You can tell vacation is right around the corner!

Do you know the time?

Thanks to Betty Rexford Buckland ‘57 we have a most wonderful display of clocks on the wall in the Dining Room. In the center of the display is a clock showing the time here in Bryn Mawr. And then circling that center clock (which is red of course!) we have clocks representing the time at our Sacred Heart schools around the world. One clock for one of our schools in Asia, two clocks for schools in Europe (one being France, of course!) and one clock for one of our schools in Africa. It’s such a practical, fun and attractive representation of our international sisterhood. Thank you to Betty!

Philippine Duchesne and 200 Years of Sacred Heart Education

We gathered for Mass in late November to mark the end of a two-year celebration of the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Philippine Duchesne to our country. Celebrations have taken place at all of our schools around the country.

At our Mass, we celebrated the arrival of Philippine and the Society of the Sacred Heart. In many ways when she opened that first school in St. Charles, it was the beginning of the Network of Sacred Heart schools. Her courage made the Society of the Sacred Heart an international one.

Sister Shirley Miller RSCJ wrote, “May Philippine continue to inspire us to dream and to turn dreams into reality - to dream of a world at peace, a world where each person is reverenced, a world in which faith in God is renewed, in which love overcomes hatred and division. St. Philippine Duchesne pray for us.”

One interesting note that I shared that morning with those gathered: Philippine Duchesne was buried on November 20, 1852 in St. Charles, Missouri. In the convent journal, her final days were recorded in simple language. The admiration and love her sisters had for Philippine and her work is noted. In fact, in the convent journal it is mentioned, “We have had her daguerreotype taken in case she may one day be canonized.”

To think that they knew then that her life and work had been so extraordinary that it would lead to sainthood! And here we are today, Sacred Heart Academy Bryn Mawr, continuing the work of St. Philippine Duchesne through academics, prayer, activities, community and service to one another.

Happy 2019! May it be a year of joy, light and love!