Wednesday, March 27, 2013

So Very Proud

A few days ago, I wrote about the passing of Sister Jeannette Murray of the Sisters of St. Gertrude Monastery in Ridgely MD.  Sister Jeannette was one of the founders of the Benedictine School for Exceptional Children where my son is a student.

When we found out about the viewing and funeral plans, we were concerned about how our son would react.  You see, everything was going to take place on the school campus.  There was a viewing on Monday afternoon in the school recreation room from 2-6 pm and a funeral mass beginning at 7pm in the school gymnasium.

Based on the hours that the services were planned, I was concerned that the plan was to have the kids involved in the services.  Our son had never been exposed to anything like this before.  With his previous history of inappropriate comments and behavioral breakdowns, we were definitely concerned about how he would react under the circumstances, especially since he had developed a good relationship with the Sister.

So, I started sending some emails to the dorm and to the school to find out what the plans were regarding the kids.  At one point, his teacher had informed me that his class had a separate time scheduled to attend a viewing apart from the scheduled public viewing.  As it turned out, she decided not to have the kids view the casket but instead had the kids watch a tribute visit honoring Sister Jeannette's life.

Tuesday morning, my son went to class where he told his teacher that Sister Jeannette had died.  So, the teacher asked him where Sister Jeannette now was.  His response was one that made me so proud and brought a tear to my eye.  He replied that Sister Jeannette was now in heaven and that they should have a moment of silence.

Not only was my son's response totally appropriate for the situation, but it showed a level of maturity that I had not expected from him.  Every day, he shows a level of growth that further reinforces that we made the right decision to send him away to school.  I am so very proud of how much he has matured and grown since he began attending the school.
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Monday, March 25, 2013

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Everyday Heroes

Crest of the Order of St. Benedict
Crest of the Order of St. Benedict (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are some people that if you passed them on the street, you would never give them a second glance or thought.  Ordinary looking people that do not look like anything special.  The type of person who you would never think would have a lasting impact on the world.  Sister Jeannette Murray was one of those people.

Sister Jeannette was a nun of the order of St. Benedict.  She was a member of the Saint Gertrude Monastery in Ridgely, MD.  Sister Jeannette began her career as a teacher, specifically in the field of Special Education. In 1960, she landed at the Benedictine School for Exceptional Children to teach kids with special needs.  It also happens to be the school that my son now attends and my nephew graduated from.

Sister Jeannette was a tireless advocate for those that she labeled "her kids."  Through her guidance and perseverance, the Benedictine School has become one of the top schools in the country, much less the state of Maryland, for children with special needs.  But the school is not the only thing that Sister Jeannette was a big part of.

As the kids grew and left the school, they still needed a place to go where they could lead productive lives.  So, the Benedictine Community also took a leading roll in establishing a vibrant open community for adults building several group homes and establishing a number of vocational programs for adults with special needs.  My personal favorite is the Busy Bees Bakery in Denton MD.  They make a mean pumpkin roll.

Sadly, on Thursday, March 21, Sister Jeannette passed away, perhaps fittingly, on the day of the Feast of the Passing of Saint Benedict.  Thankfully, Sister Jeannette got to see the last piece of the puzzle completed before she was called home.  The Benedictine Foundation recently dedicated two new retirement homes for her children who are approaching that stage of life.

Sister Jeannette barely stood 5 feet tall, and I would hazard to guess that she didn't tip the scales at 100 pounds unless you slipped some rocks in her pocket.  Still, her impact will last well beyond her years on earth.  The Benedictine Foundation is on solid ground with a group of people who are passionate about carrying on the work of Sister Jeannette.

My initial interactions with Sister Jeannette were not positive.  My son was having a difficult time adjusting to the school when he first started to attend the school.  However, in the last year, Sister Jeannette told us how much he had grown.  She even went so far as to say that he was her "buddy."

Sister Jeannette will never be known like Mother Theresa but her impact on those she came in contact with will last as long as the impact that Mother Theresa had.  May you rest in peace, Sister Jeannette.  I am sure you will be continuously watching over your kids in the Benedictine Community from above.  God bless you for all you have done, especially for my son and my nephew.

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Confirmation Day Update

Last week, we went to our son's school for his Confirmation in the Catholic Church.  As I mentioned in my post last Sunday, I was extremely proud of how well he has done in church and how much he has grown.  We were very grateful for the work that the lady who conducted the classes did for my son and the other kids that had their Confirmations that day.

This week, we received a card with a handwritten note from the woman that conducted the classes.  This is what she wrote:
I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for giving me the privilege of preparing your son for First Communion and Confirmation.  He did an excellent job and you can be very proud of him.
I was blown away.  Here, we should have been expressing our gratitude (which we did) for her hard work and she was writing to us to thank us for letting her prepare our son for the sacraments.  This type of attitude goes to further enforce in our hearts and mind that our son is in the right place.  The people there really do care about the kids and make an impact in improving their lives.
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