Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

On Friday night, October 29th, I went to the Great Pumpkin Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor, in Croton on Hudson, NY. I went with my friend Kyra's Girl Scout Troop. Kyra's mom, grandmother and I were the drivers and adult chaperones. It was great fun. We picked up the girls at 2:30p.m. from school and went right up the Sprain River Pkwy. We needed to be there by 3:30 p.m. so the girls could work on a community service project. We had the job of lightening many of the pumpkins for the great festivities that would begin in the dark. It was hard work. Many of the pumpkins are carved to show great designs. They are beautiful and it's a great experience. However, I never thought till that afternoon as we were kneeling on the ground, moving pumpkins, throwing away old candles, putting in new ones and working against the wind to light candles how much work it takes to put on such a fantastic presentation. I was reminded of the need to be thankful for workers of all kinds. Everyone's talent and task helped make the night a great one!!!
Sr. Jeannie

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Well Said-Children's Words of Wisdom

The title for today's blog entry is also a title for a little book written by one of our Ursulines, Sr. Bridget Haase, osu, who currently lives in Dedham, Massachusetts. It is a little book which contains many delightful quotes and humorous sayings from children around the globe-Mexico, Appalachia, inner-city and suburban United States, Senegal,and Sudan. Sr. Bridget came across these children through her many years of teaching. Thanks to this book, you catch a glimpse what children might be seeing, thinking, feeling, and wondering.

I just love it!!! Here are some great excerpts from it:

"Sometimes life's confusing. Like getting called on to read out loud. You think you know where people are, but you really lost the place." - Leon, 9

"Life's one thing you can't do alone." - Loretta Mary, 11

"Loving costs, but it pays a lot, too." - Berwyn, 10

"Do you think my daddy could be God's little brother? He's real good to me, and I think he learned it from God." - Seraph, 6

"Sometimes my heart's words become a song to God. That's called prayer." - Estelle 11

This wonderful book is put out by St. Anthony Messenger Press. Check it out if you can.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Feast of St. Ursula

Yesterday we celebrated the life of Sr. Mary Patrick Levis, a wonderful faithful daughter of St. Angela who went home to God on Sunday. There were so many wonderful words spoken about her and it was a truly joyful celebration of a life well lived.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Ursula for who the Ursuline Community was named. The story of St. Ursula is a legend and provides a portrait of a young girls love for God.

St Ursula was the daughter of a 5th Century Christian King in Britain. She was a beautiful, intelligent, outgoing and friendly girl. Ursula was a spiritual girl and at an early age had dedicated herself to God and had decided to remain a virgin because of her love of Christ.

At that time young girls did not choose their own husbands, their parents decided whom they would marry. A powerful pagan king requested of Ursula's father that she would marry his son Ethereus. Ursula, inspired by God agreed to the marriage but only on certain conditions. Each king should put at her disposal ten girls.
Each girl was to be accompanied by another thousand girls. The kings were to provide ships for a journey. Ursula was to be granted three years to dedicate herself to God. The young prince was to receive Christian instruction for baptism.
Ursula actually thought the proposal would be withdrawn on these conditions - but no, the king agreed and Ursula's demands were carried out immediately.

They moved on to Rome and Pope Cyriacus was delighted to see them since he himself came from Britain and he had many relations among Ursula's travelling companions. That night an angel told the Pope that he too along with Ursula and her companions would gain the crown of martyrdom. In the next few days Pope Cyriacus asked to join Ursula's group. He put another Pope in his place called Ametos. Pope Cyriacus, Ursula and her companions set out to return to Cologne.

The Huns were afraid that Christianity would become popular and that many people would become Christians. They gathered an army and plotted to kill Ursula and all her companions on their arrival back in Cologne.

When Ursula and her companions arrived in Cologne they met the Huns who were only interested in women for pleasure. Ursula and her young girls resisted this violation. Julius, leader of the Huns, instructed his army to kill them all, including Etherius and the ex-pope Cyriacus. Julius decided not to kill Ursula as he thought she was so beautiful he wanted to marry her. Ursula firmly refused his proposal because she wanted to keep the promise she had made to God to remain a virgin. Julius was so enraged he threw an arrow towards her, which pierced her heart and killed her. And so Ursula and her companions were martyred in Cologne.

Angela Merici founded the Ursulines in 1535 in Italy. At that time the story of Ursula was very popular and people would have heard it and prayed to Ursula. Angela was calling young women to live a life of virginity and to be of service to others. She choose Ursula as a role model for herself and her companions and so still today we are known as Ursulines. Just as God called Angela and her companions he still invites women of today to say yes to the call to dedicate their lives to Him in the spirit of St. Angela Merici.

Happy feast of St. Ursula to all!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Religious Life Friends.

One of the best parts of being a women religious right now for me is the opportunity to get to know other women trying to live the Gospel life just like me.

I belong to a group-Giving Voice that is for Younger Women Religious Under 50( Usually each congregation has a few members in this age group. So this group gathers us from all around for conversations and gatherings.

Later today, I will be on a Skype conference call with Jessi, a Presentation Sister and Susan, a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace ( We'll be planning a gathering of women religious in their 20s and 30s in Phoenix, Arizona from January 14th to 16th. All women religious in that age group are welcome and so are women considering religious life. It will be nice to be chatting with each other and thinking about what we can do together that weekend.

Plus I just was on Facebook and saw my friend Sarah, a Francisican sister in Texas and we're in the process of setting up a phone chat for Saturday.

Thank God for ways to keep communicating with each other. It is a great gift to me!!

Sr. Jeannie

Monday, October 18, 2010


On Saturday night, I attended a part of an AA evening with other Ursuline Sisters. One of our sisters was in a play on The Slogans. They were putting on little skits based on different AA slogans- Turn it over, We are only as sick as aour secret. They will get you drunk quicker than you can get them sober, and Honesty, Willingness and Openness.

The skits were very cleverly written and performed. I was so touched by the different slogans and how meaningful and applicable they are to everyone's life. I also was touched by the community spirit present in that room and the way everyone there was so supportive to each other. I admire their willingness to fight their demons and addictions. It made me think about myself and how I need to start handling some issues that are keeping me trapped from living my own life to the fullest.

I know many people whose lives have improved due to them joining AA and living the life. Thank God for it!!!

Sr. Jeannie

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Celebrating 155 Years of Education

Today the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula will celebrate 155 years of educating young women! What a wonderful achievement! MSU as it is fondly referred to by generations of alums is the oldest Catholic girls' high school in New York State, the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula was founded in 1855 in East Morrisania, New York City by Ursuline Sisters who came from St. Louis, Missouri. It was chartered in 1868 and has been located at Bedford Park Boulevard and Bainbridge Avenue since 1892. Owned and operated by the Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union, Mount Saint Ursula is an independent, Catholic, college-preparatory school for girls. The total program is based on unchanging moral and spiritual values actualized in a curriculum and co-curriculum designed to meet the needs of today's students. Throughout its long history, the Mount's family spirit has always fostered deep interpersonal bonds among students, faculty, parents, and alumnae.

I have so many fond memories of MSU and friendships that began in high school continue to be a special part of my life today. There were many Ursulines who were my teachers who have become my friends in later years -- I am especially grateful for the gift of Marie Therese, Betty, Brenda, Beth -- who journeyed with me in high school and who continue to be a source of inspiration for me now.

Tonight 46 former Ursuline educators will be inducted into the AMSU Hall of Fame -- what a wonderful tribute to the women who continued the dream began 155 years ago! Thank you for your inspiration and for the countless young women you educated. May God continue to bless and keep you always!

To the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula -- Ad multos annos!

You can check out the 155 Anniversary video on It is a beautiful tribute to all that has been.

Sr. Pat

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Seeing the Work of God

I just left the community room where the television is and one can watch parts of the Chilean miners' rescue. What an inspiring story!!! It so amazing to think that all those miners survived underground like that for 69 days. Yikes!! Seeing some of them being rescued is just wonderful. Hearing how they turned to God and used a fellow miner as a spiritual guide just reminds me of how powerful God is!! I also keep thinking of the brain power that went into the building of the capsule to rescue them. All the thinking of the people who had a role in that.

Thank you God!!!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Motivation and Falling in Love

Today I spent the day at Fordham University/Lincoln Center attempting to work on my dissertation for a PhD in Language, Literacy and Learning. My dissertation is going to deal with the topics of students' motivation and the types of questions asked when reading. Therefore I spent some time researching motivation and looking at different assessment measures regarding motivation. I have to admit I began to get frustrated and wondered if I will ever write this paper and finish this degree. Then I started praying and reflecting on what motivated me to get this degree. I thought about all the children I have taught and.or teach now and how their education and learning process is so important to me. It's what got me interested in going on for a higher degree and what will keep my butt in a chair typing and researching. I decided to take a mental break and write a piece for our Ursuline Blog and when I was thinking of what to do, the following poem came to mind. It sure speaks volumes. Enjoy!!
Falling In Love With God

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you
out of bed in the morning,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you will spend your weekends
what you read, who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you
with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
~ Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Friday, October 1, 2010

Standing on the Shoulders

One of my favorite songs is one by Earth Mama - "Standing on the Shoulders". It talks about how we are standing on the shoulders of the ones who went before us and we are grateful for their vision and for their toiling on this earth. It is what helps us celebrate today and be so blessed. Therefore we will work a little harder to make our shoulders stronger for the ones who will follow us.

Tomorrow, (October 1st) my province - Ursulines of the Roman Union-Eastern Province, US is celebrating the 475th anniversary of the starting and founding of the Ursulines by St. Angela Merici. We are gathering at Beckwithe Pointe in New Rochelle with our many associates, colleagues, families, friends, former students and ourselves. It should be a great day of celebration, honoring, blessing and being together.

As we prepare for it I think of the women who have gone before me-Angela, Marie of the Incarnation, Mother Dominic Weiss, Mother Irene Gill, Mother Stanislaus, Mother Amadeus Dunne, Sr. Catherine Marie Jordan, Sr. Jerome Murray, Sr. Regina, Sr. Bea, my grandmother Mary Welby and my mom Angela Humphries- I am grateful for all they have given me and done to make this world a better place for me.

I also think of the women who are on this journey with me- the many Ursulines and friends who support me, particularly Mary, Ellie, Mary, Maureen, Pat, KM, Mo, Ann, Alice, Helene, Christina and so on-I am grateful for their presence and collaborative efforts to make this world more peaceful and just today.

Plus I think of the many who will follow me hopefully and be continuously touched by Angela's spirit - Kyra, Charlotte, Penelope, Shannan, Frankie, Emily, Abby and so on-All my efforts will hopefuly make their future a little brighter.

I feel so blessed and loved. Thank you, God and thank you Earth Mama for a song which touches my heart in such a deep way.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu