(Click here for an easy-to-read, printable version)
Mrs. Hartnett writes,
Many years ago, when I was quite young, I had an accident that literally changed me. I was playing first base in a back yard baseball game with my older brothers and their friends. My oldest brother Chris was at bat, and he hit a soft infield grounder, which was picked up and thrown to me for what should have been an easy out. But Chris and the ball arrived at first base at nearly the same moment, and in order to keep me from catching the ball, Chris bulldozed under me, sending me flying onto a nearby newly pruned hydrangea bush.
Instantly, I was impaled through the neck on the bush, with a sizeable branch going deep and sideways into the back of my neck and exiting out the front. I obeyed everyone’s orders to keep still, the branch was clipped at its base, and I was transported to the hospital, where the branch was surgically removed from my throat.
In the blink of an eye, I became the not-proud owner of a long, angry, red, jagged scar which snakes across the side and back of my neck. And as much attention as this scar caused then, it was my own reaction to it which was the greatest challenge. I found myself always holding my chin down and sideways and hiking up my shoulder to keep the scar from view. For years, I wore high collars and turtlenecks in even the hottest weather. I grew my hair as long as I could grow it, a habit I have never outgrown. I shielded my neck in every way possible from the view of others, for I was convinced that somehow, this ugly, ugly scar was the measure of who I was, who I am.
I write about this now because in my many years working with young people, I have frequently seen a similar reaction with some of them. If they do poorly in a subject, if they fail a test, if they give the wrong answer in class, if they don’t make the team, if they are challenged with social issues, if they find themselves lacking in any one of the thousand ways by which they judge themselves: all of this can become their own measure of their worth. Instead of seeing all of the good that they do, all of the good grades that they earn, all of the friends that they can legitimately claim, all of the emotional and social contributions that they make, their goodness and kindness and friendship, their gentleness and helpfulness, their willingness to forgive, they succumb to see only the worst, the difficult, the challenge, the personal failure. They can overlook God’s love, which is right in front of them, washing over them and through them without fail.
My scar has faded somewhat over the years, both literally and figuratively, the latter because I eventually grew to understand, to truly believe, that God loves us, each one of us, totally and unconditionally, with all of our faults and warts and scars and sins.
Abbot Jerome Kodell, OSB, from Subiaco Abbey in Arkansas, published a book called Life Lessons from the Monastery. In the first chapter of his book he makes some really important points regarding love. He specifically notes three types, or levels, of love—“because of” love, “if” love, and “in spite of” love.
Most of us are very familiar with the first two types of love. Every day, we can find ourselves loving certain people because of their beauty, talent, status, money, and/or what they can do for us. We can also find ourselves loving people if…if they live up to our expectations, if they don’t make us uncomfortable, if they don’t inconvenience us, if they don’t challenge us, if they will meet our demands, etc. Abbot Jerome explains these first two types of love by stating that “these kinds of love are obviously very fragile and can fade when the circumstances change.”
The third type of love, however, is much different. To love “in spite of,” is to love unconditionally. This is how God loves us. God loves us “in spite of” our weakness, apathy, ingratitude, selfishness, and all-around sinfulness. God’s love for us is not contingent on our doing the right things or thinking and saying the right things. His love for us is based not on what we do or don’t do, but rather, on who we are as His children and who He is as our Creator. This is unconditional love.
But there is a very important concept that we should remember about “in spite of,” or unconditional, love. Unconditional love accepts us where we are in life. Rarely are any of us where we would like to be physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. We don’t look as fit or pretty as we would like to look. We aren’t as smart as we would like to be or as calm and peaceful as we would like to feel. We don’t pray as frequently or as “well” as we would like to pray. We often find ourselves wishing that we were different or better than we perceive ourselves to be. Yet, it is precisely in such an internal atmosphere that we can experience unconditional love. It is precisely when we realize that we are not perfect and not who we would like to be that we can realize that we are loved “in spite of” ourselves.
Yes, we are loved by God. Always. Completely. Scars and all.
HERE IT IS AGAIN: THE FIRST TERM FINAL EXAMS SCHEDULE
Tuesday, Nov. 10
8:15 – 9:15 French/Spanish
9:45 – 11:15 Mathematics
Wednesday, Nov. 11
8:15 – 9:45 Latin
10:00 – 11:15 Theology
Thursday, Nov. 12
8:15 – 9:15 Science
Tuesday, Nov. 10
8:15 – 9:30 Theology
9:45 – 11:15 Latin
Wednesday, Nov. 11
8:15 – 9:30 Mathematics
10:00 – 11:00 Science
Thursday, Nov. 12
8:15 – 9:15 Geography
9:30 – 10:45 English
EXAM HELP SESSIONS FOR THE JUNIOR SCHOOL
MONDAY, NOV. 9
10:00 - 11:00
BOTH FORM I CLASSES
MONDAY, NOV. 9 NOON - 1:00
MONDAY, NOV. 9 2:00 - 3:00
MONDAY, NOV. 9 10:00 - NOON
(all Form I help sessions are being held in the Junior School)
MONDAY, NOV. 9
9:00 - 10:00
IN ROOM 408 IN THE SCIENCE WING
Parents are reminded to please arrange transportation to and from the help sessions to correspond with beginning and end times. Boys should be dropped off soon before the help session begins and picked up soon after the help session has concluded.
THE FOOD DRIVE HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN! (and ends on November 19 )
In the last issue of the JS newsletter, I outlined our food drive for the Cardinal Ritter Senior Services Center of Catholic Family Services. Please do visit that newsletter and download the "shopping list" associated with your son's advisory. Already, a few parents have sent in food items, and I am so grateful. It will interest you to know that all of the extra snack and juice drinks that we have in the JS are being donated to the drive, so the boys are actively participating as well. Please, let's all make a concerted effort to bring the face of kindness, generosity, and caring, in other words, the face of Christ, to those whose challenges may keep them from believing in the love and the compassion of people they may never know.
A REMINDER - FORM II HIGH SCHOOL ORIENTATION PROGRAM
May I again remind all Form II parents that on Wednesday, December 9, at 7:00 pm in the Kevin Kline Theatre, a meeting will be held for parents to learn about the Priory High School program of studies, sports programs, advisory system, and various other components of the next four years of the Priory experience. I urge all Form II parents to mark their calendars and to attend this meeting. The information will be of great value to you as you (and we) prepare your sons for the high school program. Please see the Campus Store notice below for information on extended shopping hours that day as well.
THE CLOTHING DRIVE IS COMING IN DECEMBER
Please do save those items from your closet that you may come across in the next few weeks. Details on the clothing drive will be outlined in the December 4 newsletter but keep us in mind for then. Unclaimed lost and found clothing items here in the Junior School will be donated to the clothing drive, so have your little elves come and peruse the offerings.
FROM THE CAMPUS STORE
Vineyard Vines YOUTH sized ties have arrived in the Campus Store! We now have both youth and adult sized ties available. All proceeds benefit the Xanadu Auction.
The Campus Store will have extended Holiday Hours for your Christmas shopping pleasure on Wednesday, Dec. 9. The store will be open from 7:30 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. that day with great gift ideas for every Priory fan on your Christmas list. Home-baked Christmas cookies will be served, so come down to the Campus Store for some stress-free holiday shopping—with treats!
Monk Underwriting Party for Couples
Thursday, November 19, 2015
7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Don’t miss the Xanadu Monk Underwriting Party for couples on Thursday, Nov. 19, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. at the Switzer House. Money raised will be used to underwrite the popular Xanadu monk packages. Come enjoy a unique evening socializing with the Monks and Priory Community. Savor delicious desserts and a variety of after dinner drinks. Suggested donation is $100. Please register online at www.priory.org/xanadu/2016-gift-gathering-parties and plan to join the monks for a wonderful evening.
FATHERS' CLUB NEWS
Fathers’ Club Junior School Rec Night
Friday, November 20, 2015
7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Saint Louis Priory School Gymnasium
The Priory Fathers’ Club extends an invitation to 7th and 8th grade fathers and sons to the Fathers’ Club Junior School Recreation Night. This is an excellent opportunity to meet new friends, and become acquainted with the athletic facilities Priory has to offer.
Dress is extremely casual. Come prepared to play dodge ball and other indoor games. Rubber-soled athletic shoes are required. Refreshments and snacks will be provided.
We hope to see you there!
Please register online at www.priory.org/parents/junior-school-rec-night by Tuesday, November 17th.
Father & Son Banquet
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Save the Date for the Father & Son Banquet
Keynote Speaker: David Wehner ’86, Facebook CFO
MOTHERS' CLUB NEWS
Mothers’ Club Christmas Boutique & Luncheon
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Saint Louis Priory School Gymnasium
Please mark your calendars and plan on attending the Christmas Boutique & Luncheon, Wednesday, December 2, 2015, in the Priory Multi-Purpose Gym, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Complimentary lunch provided for Current and Alumni Priory mothers. Friends & Family welcome (suggest lunch donation $10). More information to follow.
Junior School Mother & Son Mass & Lunch
Saturday, January 16, 2016
11:00 a.m. Mass in the Abbey Church
11:45 a.m. Lunch in the Boys’ Dining Hall
Please save the date for the Junior School Mother & Son Mass & Lunch, Saturday, January 16, 2016, Mass at 11:00 a.m. in the Abbey Church followed by lunch in the Boys’ Dining Hall. Invitations will be mailed in December.
PARENT HOLIDAY PARTY
Hosted by the Saint Louis Priory School Mothers’ Club & Fathers’ Club
Friday, December 11, 2015
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Basso at The Cheshire
7036 Clayton Ave, St. Louis, MO 63117
Complimentary Appetizers & Cash Bar
Register online by Friday, December 4
ADMISSIONS OPEN HOUSE INFORMATION
PRIORY’S ADMISSIONS OPEN HOUSE IS FAST APPROACHING!
The annual Priory Admissions Open House will take place on Sunday, Nov. 15. It is no secret that secondary school enrollment is more competitive than ever. So, as we do every year, we are turning to our parents and students to assist us in making this event a huge success. There are two ways that you can lend a hand…
INVITE A PROSPECTIVE FAMILY TO PRIORY’S OPEN HOUSE
Nearly every Priory family knows another family with a son who might be considering Priory. Please take just a moment out of your busy schedule to invite ONE FAMILY to Open House. Full details are available on our web site (and most families should have received something in the mail), but here is the basic information:
Priory Admissions Open House
For Current Third Through Sixth Graders
Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015
Scheduled program begins at 12:30 p.m. in the High School
You can access a shareable save-the-date on our website.
Families are invited — parents, candidates and siblings — to browse departmental displays, then tour the campus with current students, parents and alumni as you learn about our curriculum and programs from Departmental Chairs and the Headmaster.
For more information, please contact the Office of Admission at email@example.com or (314) 434-3690, x101.
VOLUNTEER TO HELP OUT AT OPEN HOUSE!
We rely heavily on the participation of parents and students for this important day, our single largest and most important Admissions event of the year. Here are a few details:
The event begins at 12:30 p.m., and runs until about 3:00 p.m. Volunteers (parents and students) are asked to arrive no later than 12:00 noon for a brief orientation session in the Library. You will be finished by about 3:15 p.m.
We are in need of parent greeters, tour guides and volunteers to assist with assorted hospitality duties, such as food and beverages. Some of these duties have more limited hours (for instance, just in the beginning), so please let us know if you have limited time.
Parent volunteers register here.
This is the Sunday after Fall Term exams. Boys will assist with directions and registration, and act as greeters. Some boys will be asked to participate in a specific Open House activity by Faculty members…and they are free to do this instead of acting as an Ambassador. Either way, please register as a volunteer.
Student volunteers register here.
All volunteers will be contacted the week before Open House with further details and specific assignments.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF OUR ADMISSIONS EFFORTS!
|Monday, Nov. 9
||study day – no school
Tuesday – Thursday
Nov. 10 – 12
||fall term exams
|Friday, Nov. 13
grading day - no school
|Sunday, Nov. 15
||12:30 – 3:00 p.m.
||Admissions Open House
|Monday, Nov. 16
||Winter term begins
|Thursday, Nov. 19
||Food drive ends
|Friday, Nov. 20
||The next News 'n' Notes
|Friday, Nov. 20
||JS Rec Night
|Monday, Nov. 30
I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love. You can find it in a simple act of kindness toward someone who needs help. There is no mistaking love. You feel it in your heart. It is the common fiber of life, the flame that heats our soul, energizes our spirit and supplies passion to our lives. It is our connection to God and to each other. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. (1926 – 2004) was a Swiss-born psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying, in which she first discussed what is now known as the Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief. The 5 discrete stages explain a process by which people deal with grief and tragedy, especially when diagnosed with a terminal illness or facing a catastrophic loss. In addition to this, her book brought mainstream awareness to the sensitivity required for better treatment of individuals who are dealing with a fatal disease.
Dr. Kübler-Ross was a 2007 inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, a recipient of more than twenty honorary degrees from many of the world’s most prestigious universities, and an Ingersoll lecturer on Human Immortality at Harvard University.
Thank you for your love for the boys and for the School. We are truly, truly grateful, and truly, truly blessed.
Diana B. Hartnett
Director of the Junior School
Saint Louis Priory School