Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Children's Literature

As I have mentioned before, I teach an education course titled Children's Literature in a Multicultural Society at Fordham University/Lincoln Center campus. Tonight, I will be teaching and I'm been preparing for my class this morning.

I realize that this is a big week for Children's Literature-Friday, March 2nd is Dr. Suess' birthday and NEA's Read Across America Day. Plus on last Friday, February 24th, Jan Berenstain, author and illustrator of the Berenstain Bears's series died. Both Dr. Suess and the Berenstain bears are so famous when it comes to children's books. They are fun to read and also share valuable information with children and parents.

Also while reading Facebook last night, I saw an article from USA Today where it talks about how many children's books being published today lack reference to animals and nature. Instead the setting is more often in homes and other built environments. This concerns me and makes me realize that I need to make sure to expose children to stories that take place in all different settings.

Reading -a huge part of my life!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent: A Time to Feast and Fast

Lent is the 40 days of preparation before Easter that begins on Ash Wednesday. It is the season when we prepare for Jesus’ death and resurrection. During this time we are invited to reflect on our lives and change our hearts. Many people ask what the fasting and abstinence guidelines are so I thought it would be helpful to include them here.

Fasting and abstinence Days of Abstinence: No meat can be eaten on Ash Wednesday and all of the Fridays during Lent. This applies to all Catholics 14 and older.

Days of Fast: Only one full meal is permitted on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday for Catholics between 18 and 59. Two smaller meals are permitted, but the small meals should not equal a second full meal.

As I was reading I came across the following Lenten Litany by William Arthur Ward (1921-1994) and thought it would be a good reminder of what we are called to do during this season.

Lenten Litany: Fasting & Feasting

Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that sustains.

Happy Lent!
Sr. Pat Schifini

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Spoonful of Sugar

On Friday night, I attended the musical Mary Poppins on Broadway in NYC. For the past 6 weeks, my school Cooke Center for Learning and Development had a student teacher, Steve from Gwynedd-Mercy College in Pennsylvania and Steve treated me to the show as a Thank you for supervising his student teaching experience. Now he is off to Arizona.

The music, dancing and the costumes at Mary Poppins was fantastic. It was so exciting and energizing to be there. It made you feel so alive and the story line is just great.

The song lyrics keep going through my head since Friday night. I keep thinking of the meaning behind a spoonful of sugar-don't just think of the bad, also always look for the good in things. It reminds me of Angela's words-Remember to treat others with kindness and gentleness rather than abrupt words.

So I must remember A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. I need to approach difficult situations with that in mind and teach my children to do the same.

Sr. Jeannie

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love
1 Corinthian 13: 4-7, 13

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Taking Time

Right now I am in Long Island at a house the Ursuline Sisters own. We use this house as a vacation house and a place for our sisters to go when they need time to rest, relax and have fun.

I'm sure at times it's been used for the same purpose I am here this weekend. I need to spend a major block of time working on my dissertation. I have recorded my students' questions on my IPAD and now need to transcribe them into Microsoft Word. I feel so blessed to have the time and space to be able to work on this important task.

Last night, one of our sisters called me and we discussed another one of our sisters who is experiencing severe cognitive difficulties with comprehension and memory. It is so hard to hear, experience and realize that this kind sister is not the woman she once was. This sister taught me so much about prayer and Ursuline life. She helped make this religious world for me and one I really wanted to be a part of her. I am so grateful to her for her wisdom and love. Well it is hard to be with her now because she can be angry, defensive and negative, I need to remember all she did for me and take the time to just be with her so she knows she is loved, cared for and appreciated. Isn't that what we all want in life?

This weekend will be busy with dissertation work-Yes, but hopefully too I can take time to pray and recreate my soul so I can handle all of life that will be happening in the next few weeks. Taking the time to just be is important too. Good luck to all our readers!!

Sr. Jeannie

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Our example

“Give good example-teaching more by what you do than what you say.”

St. Angela Merici

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. As a young child, I was always taught to think of this as Jesus' Baptism-even though it is not truly the same.

In reality, we are celebrating the fact that today Mary having given birth to Jesus brought him and an offering of either a lamb and a dove or pigeon, or two doves or pigeons to their Temple to be cleansed by prayers. This was part of the Mosaic law at that time.

What I'm really struck by today is the word Presentation and what it means in my life. Presentation for me is about how I look and sound to others and how I share material that I know. It's what I show the outside world. One's Presentation is so important.

I'm also thinking of the fact that when Mary presented Jesus in the Temple, she also brought along offerings of sacrifice. What offerings of sacrifice do I need to share with others? What needs to be cleansed by prayers in my life?

Jeannie Humphries, osu