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Fourth Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner: Celebrating Where It All Began!

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Last Thursday, more than 200 people gathered for the Fourth Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner at Bridgewaters in New York, NY. The evening began with an inspiring video that highlighted some of those who embody Holy Child spirit in their lives.

Sister Mary Ann Buckley, Leader of the Society’s American Province, thanked the many members of the laity who have partnered with the Sisters of the Holy Child, while touching on the 150th Anniversary of the SHCJ in America, stating, “It is significant that we recognize our 2012 Award recipients in New York, as the City holds a special place in the history of the Society of the Holy Child. One hundred fifty years ago, six pioneering Sisters landed in the Port of New York. Their arrival began a new chapter in our history as an international congregation. These young women left their familiar lives in England behind to lead the Holy Child mission in the Americas. They demonstrated a fire, spirit, and commitment that was essential to the Society’s growth. These characteristics live on in the Society and are embraced and embodied by individuals like Kathleen and John, who confront the human condition with a strong faith and a passion for serving God.”

Next, Sarah Coraizaca ’14 and Chelsey Giraldo ’12, students at the Cornelia Connelly Center for Education in New York, NY, gave the evening’s invocation. Special tribute was paid to Connie Bush, who passed away earlier this year and had served as Head of the Cornelia Connelly Center for many years.

Faith in Action Honoree
Sister Mary Ann then invited Sister Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ and Sister Roey McSorley, SHCJ to the stage to introduce Faith in Action Honoree Kathleen DiChiara. Mrs. DiChiara began the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in 1982. Today, the organization feeds close to a million people annually. Mrs. DiChiara’s children both attended the Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, where she was a member of the Mothers’ Auxiliary.

Holy Child Spirit Honree
After dinner Sister Jean Marie O’Meara, introduced Holy Child Spirit Honoree John D. Feerick. Mr. Feerick was Dean of the Fordham University School of Law for 20 years, as well as being the Founder and Director of the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham University, which the University established in 2006.The Holy Child community was thrilled to honor Mrs. DiChiara and Mr. Feerick, who embody the Holy Child mission in their lives and work. To see photos from the event taken by the talented Michael Leslie, click here. You can also watch a recorded version of the live video stream from the evening. In 2013, the Fifth Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner will be held in Pennsylvania. Stay tuned for all the details.

Holy Child Academy’s Motto “Actions Not Words” Impacts the Community

Holy Child Academy students spend time with a resident of St. Francis Country House in Darby, PA.

In 1927, the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus began Holy Child Academy (HCA) in Drexel Hill, PA. Today, 85 years later, the School continues to embody the Sisters’ motto of “Actions Not Words.” Take a look at all HCA students did during their first semester!

The school organized a host of activities that served the poor and needy, senior adults, and our furry friends! In honor of St. Francis Assisi feast day, the students asked for donated pet products for the Delaware County SPCA located in Media.  In November, Holy Child Academy Parents’ Association organized a Thanksgiving food drive for 24 families.  In December, gently worn coats were collected for the poor. Twelve bags of clothing were donated between Divine Mercy Parish in Philadelphia and the Community Action Agency of Delaware County. 

Under the direction of Holy Child Academy’s service coordinator, Ms. Anne Wood, students have been collaborating with St. Francis Country House, a skilled nursing and short term rehabilitation facility in Darby, PA. In November, five folks from St. Francis along with seven employees/volunteers spent a few hours at Holy Child Academy.  Our guests were treated to an arts and craft project, a singing performance by the Pre-Kindergarten class, and lunch with the students.  

In December, Holy Child Academy’s eighth-grade students took a short drive to St. Francis Country House for a visit with their friends. The time was spent socializing and doing a fun project. According to Ms. Wood, the students and St. Francis residents are forming a strong bond. “The visits, activities, and socialization have been a wonderful experience for both St. Francis and Holy Child. The men and women at St. Francis are lovely and gracious. They light up when we visit. For our students, I see them becoming more compassionate, respectful, and aware of the importance that elders have in our society.”  

For the Christmas season, the third- and fifth-graders decorated 60 snack bags for the Community Food Program of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Nutritional Development Services.  In late December, the older students paired with their younger “buddy” students to make Christmas cards for the patients at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

In planning the spring service projects, the students’ openness to grow and to help others will remain a priority, and the activities will center on Holy Child Academy’s philosophy of “Actions Not Words.” Find out how you can make a difference through Holy Child programs.

Exciting Steps Forward

Sabine Mwembo proudly shows the certificate she received upon completing a nursing assistant program.

Two years ago, after arriving in Philadelphia as a refuge from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sabine Mwembo was beginning anew. Although she had the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in nursing in her home country, her English skills were limited and she needed to be certified in nursing in the U.S. Not knowing English made it difficult, if not impossible for Sabine to become certified and find work. But soon, Sabine found Providence Center, a ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, where she began taking classes to learn English with Sister Peggy Doherty, SHCJ (Mother Mary St. Thomas).

Eventually, she advanced to the Level Three English Class at Providence Center and also enrolled in Basic Computer Literacy courses offered by Providence Center. She learned how to draft her resume, search for jobs, and explore other educational opportunities that would prepare her for her desired career of geriatric nursing. 

Just recently, Sabine visited Providence Center. The staff had not seen her for the summer semester, but with good reason. Sabine had been completing a course in a nursing assistant program. “I made an A in English,” she said, describing the prerequisite assessment to determine her eligibility for entrance to the program. She then completed 97 hours of training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and is ready to practice in Pennsylvania! She will return to Providence Center for the fall semester to continue developing her English skills and will take advantage of the computer assistance classes to look for jobs in the area. Congratulations Sabine! (Sabine is also featured in the second half of this video.)

What A Night!

(l to r) John Alcorn, 2010 Faith in Action Honoree; Marie Kanne Poulsen, Ph.D., 2010 Holy Child Spirit Honoree; and Catherine Heenan, Emcee.

By Kim Cavallero 

Close to 200 people attended the 2010 Holy Child Awards Dinner last Wednesday at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. It was a fantastic night!

Attendees reconnected with old friends, while making new ones. The highlight of the evening came as the Sisters of the Holy Child honored John Alcorn (an alum of St. Anastasia’s School in Waukegan, Ill.) with the Faith in Action Award and Marie Kanne Poulsen, Ph.D. with the Holy Child Spirit Award. Adding to the excitement of the evening, dozens joined us online, as we streamed the event live and posted updates on Facebook and Twitter

Sr. Helen T. McDonald, Leader of the Society’s American Province, began the evening by thanking all for attending and continuing to support the ministries of the Sisters of the Holy Child. A short film illustrating what Holy Child Spirit is all about followed. Sr. Carroll Juliano, a member of the Society’s American Province Leadership Team, gave a beautiful invocation. Then, Sr. Helen introduced Catherine Heenan, our emcee for the evening. Catherine noted that the evening felt like a family reunion, as she reconnected with the Sisters of the Holy Child and fellow Holy Child alums! Catherine is an alumna of Holy Child High School in Waukegan, Ill. Today, she is a news anchor and reporter with San Francisco’s KRON 4. 

Sr. Pat Phillips, who was John’s seventh-grade teacher at St. Anastasia’s School presented John with his award, while Sr. Jeanne Marie Hatch, who worked closely with Marie at the Mayfield Junior School, presented Marie with her award. John and Marie were both incredibly gracious as they accepted their awards. Each spoke of the inspiring work they have done. Their humble spirits are awe-inspiring. In their lives, neither set out to do great things so that they would be honored or recognized. Each simply set out to do the right thing and help make the lives of others better. They embody the Society’s motto of “Actions Not Words” and all were inspired. 

In addition, the same can be said of our emcee, Catherine Heenan. Catherine has achieved a ton of success in her career, but she is the most gracious, humble, and warm person. Catherine has been awarded Best On-Air Newscast Anchor by American Women in Radio & Television and she has also won a Peabody Award for her work on a KRON series entitled, “Students Rising Above.” Just like our honorees, Catherine would never boast of her success. She simply sets out to help others in any way that she can in her life. We could not have been more inspired. 

To see photos from the night, visit our website. Our photographer, Jen O’Sullivan, has quite an eye! We hope you will join us for the 2011 Holy Child Awards Dinner which will be held in Philadelphia, PA. Stay tuned for all the details.

St. Martin de Porres High School Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

At St. Martin's fifth anniversary, Sr. Mary Popit carried the mission statement for the Sisters

Last October, St. Martin de Porres High School (SMdP), located in Waukegan, IL, celebrated its fifth anniversary. The Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) is an endorsing community of the school, which means that the Sisters lend their time, talent, and treasure.   

 Serving students in urban areas, Cristo Rey schools take a unique approach to education. Students work one day a week at an entry-level job in the corporate world, while spending the other four days in the classroom. Four students work at one job for one day each week. The salaries the students earn pay for most of their tuition for the year.     

The SHCJ have lengthy ties to the Waukegan area. Since 1921, the Sisters have taught thousands of students at schools such as St. Anastasia’s and also founded schools in the area such as Holy Child High School. “Our involvement in SMdP makes it possible for us to continue our mission here in a new way; as co-workers with dedicated men and women and other religious congregations,” says Sr. Peg Doyle.     

Over the past five years, the school has experienced considerable success. SMdP opened in 2004 with 95 students in rented space in downtown Waukegan. Today, SMdP has more than 230 students on a new campus. The class of 2009 received more than $800,000 in college scholarships and 97% were accepted into college! Almost 90% of SMdP alumni are currently pursuing a college degree. To learn more about the school, visit www.smdpwaukegan.org or contact us at holychildsisters@shcj.org.

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