Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rachel's Challenge

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the Rachel's Challenge presentation at my school. The experience of being present with my students at The Ursuline School in New Rochelle, NY for this presentation was incredible. In the afternoon I was also present at the beginning of our FOR -- Friends of Rachel -- Club. The enthusiasm of the 50 young women gathered together was palpable as they were trained and then invited to come up with ideas for how we can continue to implement what was learned at the earlier presentations. These students were recommended by faculty members and counselors and then were selected by the administration to begin this club. The students are already planning their first project to increase awareness and kindness.

From rural New York to Westchester County I believe that the chain reaction has begun and will continue to grow. May all be inspired by the beauty and tenacity of Rachel Joy Scott's life. She was not afraid to stand up for those who had no voice and she encourages up to do the same.

If you want more information on Rachel's Challenge you can visit: www.rachelschallenge.org. On this website you will find a great deal of information as well as DVD clips to view.

Have a great day and remember to be the change you wish to see!

Sr. Pat

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Start a Chain Reaction

For 4 years, I lived and worked in Malone, New York. That is a small rural town near the border of Cornwall, Canada. It was a wonderful experience-one that changed my life. Being up there and working in the public school system at Flanders Elementary as a reading specialist for grades 3, 4 and 5 convinced me that working in the education field should be my life-long ministry. I made many good friend sand have great memories. Today, thanks to the wonderful world of Facebook, I found out about a spectacular event the Malone Central School District did. I am so impressed and love their sense of community. I miss the place, the people and the spirit tremendously.

Malone Central School district has adopted Rachel’s Challenge to stand up against bullying. They also co-named their program Karen’s Hope after a school counselor died tragically. Karen was instrumental in bringing Rachel’s Challenge to Malone and dedicated her life to children. Today 10/18/11- all members of the school community made a human chain against bullying. This human chain went down a long stretch of the Main Street in town. Many people including parents, teachers, principals, village police, state police, the fire department, town officials, correction officers and community members came out to lend a hand. Also people drove through Main Street beeping their horns. According to my many friends, it was AMAZING!!!

"I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same." ♥ ♥ ♥ - Rachel Scott

RIP Karen, you are greatly missed! Please continue watching over Malone’s children!!!!

Sr. Jeannie

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

This morning, I spent some time at the College of New Rochelle serving on the Ursuline panel discussing the Pursuit of Happiness. CNR has a great Ursuline heritage and legacy. Today, the freshman seminar was dealing with Ursulines and their perspective of happiness. Six different Ursulines: Sr. Martha Counihan, Sr. Alice Bouchard, Sr. Ann Therese Dillen, Sr. Beth Dowd, Sr. Ann Marie Kelleher and myself all shared about our experiences.

I shared a visual of a thermometer because I believe happiness is in the middle temperature part of our lives. At times we have higher temperatures of joy, delight, glee and excitement and at other times, we have lower temperatures of frustration, sadness, sorrow and even depression. But it is how we handle those times that shows us our true happiness.

My life as an Ursuline is mainly a happy one; but it is still life with its ups and downs. I thought by entering the convent some pains might go away. But that is definitely not true. Sadness is part of this life too. But the relationships I have with God, Angela, Ursuline sisters, my ministries and my friends and family are what allow me to be happy. Therefore I must spend time cultivating those relationships.
What makes you happy?

Sr. Jeannie

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Inspiration from Angela

Today, I was reminded of these words of St. Angela,

Do Something…Get Moving… Be Confident… Risk new things… Stick with it… Get on your knees…Then be ready for Big Surprises!

I needed that to help me get energized for a day of ministry and life in general.

Angela- please help me to be able to stick with the work that needs to get done!!!

Sr. Jeannie

Monday, October 10, 2011


Today is my friend Helene's birthday. I met her as a young child playing in our neighborhood park. So we say to people-we've known each other since we were four. People area always amazed by that. However, I have to admit I've known many of my friends since grammar school at St. Philip Neri and added others on since high school at the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula. Maybe it's from being born and raised in the Bronx- a great place to grow up in my opinion.

This weekend has been birthday celebrations with some of these friends-Friday, I met Kathy for dinner- I've known her since High school and then on Saturday we went to a suprise party for Tracey's 40th- another friend from high school!! See the recurring theme!!

I am also blessed with friendships from other parts of my life-College at the College of New Rochelle, Graduate School at Fordham University, Teaching at Flanders Elementary School in Malone, NY and many friends I've met through other friends and nun friends I've met through Giving Voice. Thank God for these many opportunities!!!

I am so grateful for my friendships-both the "old" and the "new". Just like the song I learned in Girls Scouts so long ago- Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.

Sr. Jeannie

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feast of St. Francis

Today, October 4th we celebrate one of my favorite Saints -- Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis was born in Assisi in 1182. After a carefree youth, he renounced his wealth and committed himself to God. He led a life of evangelical poverty and preached the love of God to all. Francis is known to many as a lover of the poor and caretaker of animals. His appeal has lasted over time and many have sought to follow his example.

We received and invitation from the LCWR to sign the St. Francis Pledge to Protect Creation and the Poor. I share with you the information as it was very exciting to watch the students and faculty of my school take the pledge today. If you are so inspired signing the pledge is a wonderful way to honor this great saint.

All across our country, Catholics are taking the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor and joining the Catholic Climate Covenant. The St. Francis Pledge is a promise and a commitment by Catholic individuals,families, parishes, organizations and institutions to live our faith by protecting God’s Creation and advocating on behalf of people in poverty who face the harshest impacts of global climate change. To join the Covenant,you commit to act on each of the five elements of the St. Francis Pledge and register your Pledge at www.CatholicClimateCovenant.org.

I/We Pledge to:
❑ PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God’s Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
❑ LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
❑ ASSESS how we—as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations—contribute to climate
change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
❑ ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.
❑ ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.

May peace reign in our homes, our hearts and our universe!

Sr. Pat

Monday, October 3, 2011

Change and Investment

This Saturday, we had a meeting of 4 of our School Board and administration teams to discuss how we as Ursulines will continue to sponsor our schools in the future and what administrators feel is needed at this time. Present at the meeting were representatives of Ursuline Academy, Dedham, Massachusetts Academy of Mt. St. Ursula, the Bronx, New York, The Ursuline School, New Rochelle, NY and Ursuline Academy, Wilmington, Delaware. It was a good meeting. It is nice to know that we want our Ursuline legacy and heritage to continue in the future. But we also want to keep faithful to Angela's words of "If according to times and circumstances, it is necessary to make changes, then do so with prudence and good advice."

On Sunday, I then gathered with some of my sisters who formed the St. Angela's Community in the Bronx for over 25 years. We met and shared about what was going on in our lives and prayed together. We talked about how we sometimes have to change the degree of investment we put into a ministry or community situation depending on what else is happening in our life at the time. I was left thinking - Where should my main investment be right now? That is going to be my prayer focus this week.

Jeannie Humphries, osu