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2012 Jubilee Celebration

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Last Saturday, more than 100 Holy Child Sisters, friends, and family members gathered to celebrate the Jubilees of 12 Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus during a special Mass and luncheon reception at St. Thomas of Villanova Parish Church in Bryn Mawr, PA. Special thanks goes out to Sister Margaret Mullin and Sister Claire Smith who coordinated and managed the event, with Sister Margaret Doyle serving as the liaison with the Society’s American Province Leadership Team. Jubilees mark significant anniversaries in the lives of sisters—it means the person has been a Sister of the Holy Child for 75, 70, 60, or 50 years. During Mass, the Jubilarians renewed their vows. (To see more photos from the event, click here.)

Combined, this year’s Jubilarians have served for close to 700 years. Their ministries have ranged from teacher to school principal to artist to African missionary to administrator and to everything in between! They have served all over the world from the east and west coasts of the U.S. to Europe and to Africa. To read bios of each of the Jubilarians, click here.

2012 SHCJ Jubilarians

75 YEARS
Theodosia (Rita) Linus, SHCJ (M. M. Theodosia)

70 YEARS
Margaret Naab, SHCJ (Sr. Margaret Alacoque)

60 YEARS
Elinor Callanan, SHCJ (Sr. Dolores Mary)
Elizabeth Fitzmaurice, SHCJ (M. Thomas Mary)
Elizabeth Loomis, SHCJ (M. Christopher Mary)
Jay McCann, SHCJ (M. John Cantius)

50 YEARS
Marlene Brownett, SHCJ (Sr. M. Magdalen)
Margaret Crowley, SHCJ (Sr. M. Mark)
Margaret Doherty, SHCJ (Sr. M. St. Thomas)
Barbara Linen, SHCJ (Sr. M. St. Kevin)
Elizabeth Muir, SHCJ (Sr. David Mary)
Ann Murray, SHCJ (Sr. Ann Catherine)

Hopes Comes Alive!

By Kim Cavallero

Last night, I had the privilege of attending the 10th Anniversary celebration of Hope Partnership for Education, an educational center founded by the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus and the Sisters of Mercy in North Philadelphia. Hope is a middle school serving fifth through eighth graders, as well as the families of the students.

I have worked for the Society of the Holy Child (SHCJ) for the past 10 years. When I began with the SHCJ in 2002, Hope was just a dream. Now, it’s a reality. It’s been amazing to watch the transformation—not only in the school becoming a reality (though funding is still greatly needed for the school to have a building of its own), but also in the students who have had the benefit of attending Hope Partnership.

One of those students is Tyrik Harris, a seventh-grader. Last year, I had the privilege of interviewing Tyrik and his grandmother, Elaine Selby, for a video we created for our Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner Event. At the time, Tyrik shared with me that he went to the local public school in his neighborhood until fifth grade. He told me it wasn’t a good school—there were bullies, food fights, and “writings on the wall—mean things.” His grandmother shared that Tyrik’s behavior was worsening in the public school and she feared he would hurt himself or someone else. She learned about Hope and was able to get Tyrik enrolled. Today, the staff at Hope reports that Tyrik is one of the most well-behaved children there.

Tyrik’s story inspired me last year. But I beamed with pride last night at Hope’s event when I saw him, along with several of his classmates, perform an incredible drumming presentation, that had the more than 300 attendees at the event on their feet! (Please excuse the video quality. Seeing the talent of the students, I quickly shot a video with my iPhone camera!)


In addition, Mayor Michael Nutter stopped by the event last evening, offering his congratulations to all who have made Hope Partnership a reality. He shared that education is the most important gift we can give to our young people today, noting that it is the way out of poverty. At the event, Rose Gray was honored with the Igniting Hope Award and Karen Rowley was honored with the Embracing Hope Award. Both women have been integral to Hope’s success and powerful advocates for education and its power.

Hope is changing lives, but they need our support to do it. You can make a donation online through our website and designate that your gift is for Hope.

Kim Cavallero is Director of Communications for the Society of the Holy Child Jesus – American Province.

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.

Lessons Learned in the DR

By Kim Cavallero
With my flight back to the United States tomorrow, my week here in the Dominican Republic is winding to a close. It’s been quite an adventure and I am thankful to Holy Child Sisters Kathleen King, Mary Alice Minogue, and Ann-Joyce Peters, for warmly welcoming me into their community, along with the three Holy Child Volunteers, Brooke, Kristen, and Elle, who are living here for a year and teaching in the school at the Society’s mission site. I’m come a long way since arriving last week—and I’ve learned a few lessons along the way. Here’s a quick rundown of a few—some more humorous than others.

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Lesson #1 – Mosquito netting is important.
Make sure your mosquito netting is tucked in fully all around your bed and/or that you don’t trap any mosquitoes inside the net with you. Fail to do it right and you will wake up with at least 7-10 mosquito bites. Pack some hydrocortisone. (I could have used it.)

Lesson #2 – Hot water and water pressure are overrated. Compassion and humor are not.
When I first arrived last Saturday, Sister Ann-Joyce was showing me the “shower,” which essentially is a single stream of cold water running from a faucet. I’m sure she could see the horrified look on my face, but quite calmly and humorously, she just looked at me and said, “Well, it’s not going to win a prize or anything, but you know….”

A few days later, she showed me how to heat up some water so you could have some warm water with which to take a shower. She then showed me different pitchers you can use to pour the warm water over your head and said, “Everyone establishes her own system.” I took her word for it. After heating the water, I hopped in the shower. A few moments later, she yelled in, “How are you doing in there, Kim? You think you might stay a few more days?” I still wonder what she would have done if I had said, “No!” The point is I adapted and got used to it thanks to Sister Ann-Joyce’s humor and compassion! (I will say that hand sanitizer, cleansing face wipes, and dry shampoo are helpful to have here.)

Lesson #3 – Bring earplugs or a desire to dance the night (and day) away.
Roosters don’t just crow in the early morning hours. They like to crow at all times of the day and night. In addition, the people here love to play music—all the time. There is a constant, steady stream of noise: roosters, chickens, dogs, music, and people yelling. Silence is not important here. If it is to you, bring some earplugs!

Lesson #4 – Living without electricity isn’t so bad.
Where I am staying, the electricity is usually on from about 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the evening until 9:00 a.m. the next morning. In the U.S., when the electricity goes out—even for a few hours—it is a huge inconvenience for many of us. Here, it is a way of life and people just go about their day. They’re flexible and they adapt. Nonetheless, be sure to use a surge protector or risk blowing out electronic items such as your computer’s AC power source. (I’ll be buying a new one next week.)

Lesson #5 – Don’t jump to the worst conclusion. There are good people everywhere.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a very organized person (some might say in a neurotic way!), but this trip has thrown me for a loop and my organizational skills have disappeared into thin air! For example, yesterday, after doing some sight seeing in the city, we arrived home and I soon realized that my wallet was missing. I tore apart suitcases and bags—anywhere I thought it might be, but it didn’t turn up.

Within a few hours, I had canceled my credit and bank cards, assuming I had been pick-pocketed. The last place I remembered having it was in a shop where I had made a purchase. I had the receipt and asked Sister Ann-Joyce if she would be willing to call the store and ask them in Spanish if I had left my wallet there. It was a long shot, but it was my only shot.

Sister Ann-Joyce called the store this morning and sure enough they had it and were holding it for me. They explained that they didn’t have any way to contact me, which is why they hadn’t called. There are good people all over the world who do the right thing.

Homeward Bound
This week has been an adventure. It has challenged and stretched me to grow in ways I never imagined. I have seen people living in extreme poverty in Batey Lecheria and yet, they are full of gratitude for the simple gift of your presence. I arrived in fear last week, but am departing in peace tomorrow—and full of gratitude. Read Kim’s first and second blog posts.

Kim Cavallero is the Director of Communications for the Society of the Holy Child Jesus – American Province.

Between Heaven and Hell

By Kim Cavallero

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There is a stark contrast here in the Dominican Republic’s Batey Lecheria, where the Sisters of the Holy Child began a mission site in 1995. I heard one person describe it as “being between heaven and hell.” You look up and see a brilliant blue sky, lush green palm trees, and fluffy white clouds. You look down and see dirt roads, barely habitable shacks, and half-clothed children, many who have been abused and/or abandoned. They run through the streets and cling to anyone who they think will give them attention. Today, I was almost knocked over as four children, whom I had never met, grabbed onto me at the same time and wouldn’t let go.

But this week, the children of Batey Lecheria have been getting some extra attention, as have many of the residents here. Twelve parishioners from St. Luke’s in Charlotte, NC arrived on Monday morning to give a week of their time and energy to this community. This is the seventh year St. Luke’s has embarked on a mission trip here. The parishioners each paid $400 to come, with the remaining cost of the trip ($450 per person) raised through fund-raisers held throughout the year at St. Luke’s. Click here to hear from parishioner Jamar McKoy, who is making his first trip to Batey Lecheria this week.

Inspiring Experiences

Here in Batey Lecheria, the parishioners have undertaken a hodgepodge of activities this week: painting the shacks; playing baseball with the children; teaching the children how to paint and tie-dye t-shirts; and organizing and leading classes for the women in how to make sock dolls, jewelry, and other items that are then sold in the U.S. for a fair profit, which is returned to the women.

“You get a whole new sense of poverty here,” says parishioner Amber Ockerbloom. “There is a constant need. You can’t come once and not come again. You have to be open to what you are going to do because there’s always a place to do something here.” Along with Ockerbloom, parishioners Debby and Jim Lawrence share that you get as much as you give in Batey Lecheria, noting that the love they receive from the residents is so much more than they give to them.

A “Self-Sustaining” Trip

In addition to giving their time, the St. Luke’s parishioners bring suitcases full of donated medical supplies for the medical clinic the Sisters of the Holy Child began and run at the mission site, as well as all the supplies for the different projects they undertake such as painting the houses and making sock dolls. At the end of the trip, they leave the clothes they wore during the week for the residents of Batey Lecheria, who later sell them and make a small profit. “We clean out our closets or we go to Good Will before we leave the U.S. and buy the clothes we will need for the trip,” explains parishioner Cindy Platko. The parishioners also buy the suitcases that they bring the medical supplies in at Good Will and then leave the suitcases behind.

Platko, who is a school nurse, and her husband, Greg, lived with the Sisters of the Holy Child for a year, while serving the residents of Batey Lecheria. The couple had done mission trips to Batey Lecheria and felt they could do so much more by serving for a longer period of time alongside the Sisters of the Holy Child. They now return to Batey Lecheria twice a year. “Coming here is like coming home and seeing family for me,” shares Platko. During return trips, Platko spends her afternoons making house calls to residents. For example, she brings aspirin to a woman whose hip was broken and never repaired four years ago.

Platko and her husband are akin to celebrities in Batey Lecheria, though they certainly are too humble and focused on the work at hand to consider their “celebrity status.” Since the moment they arrived, shouts for “Cindy” and “Gregorio” (as the residents call Greg) never end. The residents are thrilled to see them and they bring joy wherever they go in Batey Lecheria, just as all the St. Luke’s parishioners who are here this week have. “We’re a parish of action,” says Ockerbloom. How exciting it is for the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus to see so many people committed to the motto of their congregation: “Actions Not Words.” Read Kim’s first and last blog post from her journey.

Kim Cavallero is the Director of Communications for the Society of the Holy Child Jesus – American Province.

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.)

An Inspiring Evening: 2011 Holy Child Awards Dinner

Anne Healy Ayella gives her acceptance speech for the 2011 Holy Child Spirit Award.

Robert A. Pollock, 2011 Faith in Action Honoree, with his grandchildren.

Sister Helen McDonald, Leader of the Society

Last evening, close to 250 people gathered for the Third Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner at the Overbrook Golf Club in Villanova, PA. The evening was beautiful and inspiring and began with a powerful video that highlighted several of those who have been empowered by Holy Child schools and ministries in the Philadelphia area.

Sister Helen McDonald, Leader of the Society’s American Province thanked the many members of the laity who have partnered with the Sisters of the Holy Child, stating, “Our foundress, Cornelia Connelly, exhorted us to meet the ‘wants of the age.’ In a world whose needs have grown so large and so complex, this can be a daunting challenge for a Society as small as ours. However, thanks to the support and participation of the laity, the Society continues to address critical needs and have a powerful impact across the country and around the globe. We are extremely grateful to those who put their faith in action and willingly and enthusiastically respond to the needs of our time.”

Next, Amanda Capra and Crystal Martinez, two teen mentors at the afterschool program of Providence Center, which was founded by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) in 1993, gave the invocation. Faith in Action Honoree
Sister Helen then invited Sister Nancy Hagenbach, SHCJ and Sister Ruth Dawley, SHCJ to the stage to introduce Faith in Action Honoree Robert A. Pollock. Mr. Pollock has spent decades serving his community, volunteering with organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and the SHCJ. Mr. Pollock came to know the Sisters of the Holy Child while his daughters were enrolled at the Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, NJ. He served on the School’s Board of Directors and chaired the board for four years. He then went on to raise two million dollars for the school to build a new gymnasium.Holy Child Spirit Honoree
After dinner, Sister Anita Quigley, SHCJ and Cathi Duffy, Director of the SHCJ Associates, introduced Holy Child Spirit Honoree Anne Healy Ayella. Mrs. Ayella is an alumna of the former Holy Child Academy in Sharon Hill, PA. For more than 30 years, she has worked in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Nutritional Development Services, most recently as the Assistant Director in charge of community relations and outreach. Mrs. Ayella travels throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia advocating for the needy in parishes and schools. She is also the Diocesan Director for Catholic Relief Services and is active in the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. She often lobbies in Harrisburg and Washington for programs and funding to address the needs of the hungry.

The SHCJ were thrilled to honor Mr. Pollock and Mrs. Ayella who have been integral to advancing the mission of the SHCJ. Both Mrs. Ayella and Mr. Pollock received standing ovations as they accepted their awards! To see photos from the event taken by the talented Michael Leslie, click here. In 2012, the Fourth Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner will be held in New York! Stay tuned for all the details.

Come and See

By Barbara Bartlett, SHCJ

After returning from Africa in February 2004, I moved to the Newton Street Community of Holy Child Sisters in Washington, D.C. While investigating possible ministries there, I came across a letterhead from Boys Town. I then discovered that there was a Boys Town facility quite close to the Brookland area where I lived.

In my final 10 years in Africa, I had served on the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Jos. As coordinator, I was particularly interested in human rights and children’s issues. My dream of an Archdiocesan children’s project became a reality thanks to a supportive team of young men and women. We worked for several years and, despite some discouraging experiences, were able to establish the Care for Children Project of the Archdiocese of Jos in Northern Nigeria. We had generous board members and were also fortunate in getting financial help from foundations and individual donors.

With this previous experience, I wished to continue working with youth in distressed situations, so when I saw the Boys Town letter I felt perhaps God was calling me to “come and see.” One Sunday morning, I did just that. After a 20-minute walk from our house, I met a young couple on the driveway of Boys Town. They were driving some of the boys to church, but they greeted me warmly and when I expressed interest in their work, they asked me to return the next day to speak to the director. I did return and, over the years, have become involved in programs there. As a volunteer, I am able to attend activities, give workshops and retreats to staff members, and serve on the local advisory committee.

This Washington-based Boys Town is one of 16 satellite campuses of the original one, which continues to flourish in Omaha, Nebraska. There are different programs offered by each. The one in D.C. is multi-faceted. It includes a shelter for short term care (one to two months in length), four family group homes whose residents can stay two or more years, a foster care program which recruits, trains, and monitors foster parents, and good parenting classes. Their newest project is preparing staff members to go to homes where interventions might be of assistance to its members.

I try to visit Boys Town monthly; it is not a “have to” experience. I may go to a group home for a meal with the family and boys, or attend an advisory committee meeting, or one of the various activities going on at the campus. Last December, I attended their annual tree lighting ceremony which included songs, recitation of some of the boys’ compositions, along with the lighting of the tree and refreshments in the homes and shelter.

An added surprise for me was the presentation of a certificate making me an Honorary Citizen of Boys Town. This framed certificate now sits on my bookshelf reminding me of my commitment to the program. It is often said that when there is involvement in a service project, there is usually more received than given.  This is true of my relationship with Boys Town. The two directors I have known, the two national directors (both Catholic priests), the committee members with whom I have worked, and the inspiring staff all challenge me by their dedication to their work. It is a privilege to share in these efforts. One of the committee members is an elderly naval chaplain who was one of Father Flanagan’s boys. It was he who was instrumental in bringing a campus to D.C.

A plaque now stands next to my certificate. It was given to me this Christmas, and its timeless message, “He ain’t heavy, Father, he’s m’ brother” now also serves as a renewed invitation to visit the nearby campus, once again to “come and see.”

A Lot To Be Thankful For

Recently, Mary Alice Minogue, SHCJ (M. Grace Mary) shared an update with us about some of those served at our mission site in the Dominican Republic. As we prepare for Thanksgiving, these heartwarming stories reminded us of just how much we have to be thankful for. God is most certainly at work!

“This year I can report that our school is thriving. And, like the old woman in the shoe, we have so many children we don’t know what to do! Attendance has skyrocketed. We now require the older children to have good attendance at their regular school before they participate in our program. In the past, we had about 30% who maintained attendance; now it is up to 90%. We are so proud of them, but more students are a burden on our budget.

We have 85 four- and five-year-old children in one large room. Some of the children have learning disabilities and emotional problems, and most have had no discipline at home. Sometimes we think that the only solution is to send an unruly child home, in hopes that they will be better able to handle school next year. But, that is not always an option. Diana is a good example of why we keep some of these children.

Diana’s Story
A beautiful little four-year-old, Diana seems to have a motor inside. She is always on the go. She escapes her circle, and runs to the front of the building to see the trees and flowers. We finally decided that she needed another six months at home, after which she could try our school again. However, the next day she showed up with a huge egg on her head—she had obviously been badly beaten. “Who did that?” we asked her. “My poppy,” she answered. Diane’s mother has left the family, so Diana would be in the streets while her father is at work. We decided to keep Diana with us, where at least we know she is safe.

  

Osiris’s Story
And then there is Osiris, age five. All the teachers agreed that I should tell you about him. He arrived last year with a smile and a swagger. There is nothing like a four-year-old with swagger! When he was involved in the Montessori lessons, he would become completely absorbed. But the rest of the time, he was impossible. He would hit other children—or kiss them! He was particularly fond of tormenting one little boy with Down’s syndrome. Due to the great patience of the teachers, we kept Osiris. This year, he made such progress, and is a model student (almost). He remembers all we teach him, and yearns to learn more. He asks the teachers, “What do I do next, Profe?” He gives us hope.

  

Antony’s Story
Antony is four, and his smile is like a sunrise that lights up his whole face. He seems very intelligent. He can concentrate and figure things out. However, along the way, we discovered that his ears are severely infected and that he is profoundly deaf. He doesn’t talk because he has never heard. When he doesn’t like something, he screams. Now, many other children have taken to screaming too! We have to get this child some help for the good of all! It has been a challenge getting him medical care. We went to the government’s free hospital for children, but it is months before we can get in. So, we are off to a private clinic to see what hope there is to cure his ear infections and see if some hearing can be restored. We will need lots of financial help to get this smart little boy the treatment he needs.

  

The Best Day of the Year
Last spring, the teachers made a suggestion: take the older children on a field trip to the beach. It is hard to imagine that most of these children have never been to the beaches for which their island home is famous. I decided it was worth the cost to let the six- to ten-year-old children have a field trip to the beach. The two-hour bus ride from our batey was expensive—but it was well worth it. The children were delirious with joy. They made bathing suits out of whatever they had. The teachers gave swimming lessons, frolicked with them in the water, buried them in the sand, taught them to build sandcastles and play volleyball. Everyone agreed that it was the best day of the year. The pleas have already begun for a repeat trip this year.”

 

Holy Child School Wish List
During this holiday season, please keep the Holy Child School in mind. Your donations will go toward fulfilling the following school and student needs:

  • Wage Increases for our dedicated teachers. 
  • Desks where our many children with learning disabilities or emotional problems can work alone. Most of them of them currently do their work on the floor. 
  • Children’s Story Books in Spanish for our kindergarten and first-grade students.  
  • Children’s Vitamins, enough for about 100 children per day, 5 days a week.  
  • Medical Care for Antony’s ear infections and possibly hearing aids or other treatment.  
  • LCD Projector so all the children can see. There are just too many to huddle around a TV.  
  • CD Player that will accept a memory stick.  
  • PA System (with battery option?) that we can use for parent meetings, regularly attended by more than 90 people.   
  • Photo Printer and Paper so we can record and post photos of the kids learning and enjoying school.  
  • School and Art Supplies from pencils and sharpeners, to tape of all descriptions, to folders, to bulletin board decorations, to math games, to colored sand, to construction paper, to . . . 
  • Personal and Food Supplies including tooth brushes and paste, powdered milk, hand soap, place mats and small trays.

If you would like more information about the Society’s mission site, click here or feel free to contact Sr. Mary Alice at mminogue@shcj.org.

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