A deeper sense of my own faith

Friday, December 3, 2010

One of our alumni dropped off some scholarship papers. He wanted a letter of recommendation for a scholarship offered by the Daughters of the American Revolution. I didn’t associate that organization with scholarships geared toward Native American youth, and was pleased to find out about it. There are many charitable organizations that offer assistance to our college students. I keep telling our students they will be able to find scholarships for college as long as they prepare themselves to handle the studies. Making sure our students are prepared for higher learning is an ongoing challenge and priority for St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Brother Duane, one of our SCJ formation directors in Chicago, came out for Brother Clay’s year-end evaluation. We have all enjoyed Clay’s presence in the school and community, and will be sorry when it comes time for him to return to his own schooling in just a few weeks. I tell anyone I supervise, and not to expect any surprises in an evaluation. I bring up the issues and topics we’ve been discussing all along. I have a soft heart, but can be critical in a constructive way because that’s how we improve. I praise where praise is due, and point out areas of growth and change that are needed. All three of us came away from the evaluation feeling good about the discussion.

We have 20 students participating in our baptismal preparation program. Five of the students are grades 4-6, and the rest are about evenly split between 2nd and 3rd graders. Sunday they will go through the Rite of Acceptance in the RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation of Children) so after school we had a practice. One of the rituals calls for a signing of the senses, making the sign of the cross over the eyes, ears, lips, heart, shoulders and feet.  I felt the teacher in me,  helping them articulate why we pray for those senses to be blessed. The language about the yoke on the shoulders was harder for them to understand, but they could all relate to the concept of helping to shoulder the load because all of them help out in the home with their cleaning and responsibilities. But my favorite reply came from 2nd grader Leola, who said we bless the shoulders, “So we can give hugs”! I definitely felt a spiritual hug and deeper sense of my own faith from her inspiration.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 89 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

4 thoughts on “A deeper sense of my own faith”

  1. Bless Leola..! They’re getting the message !
    Nothing replaces an understanding and loving heart in educating ..!
    Cheers again for St. Joseph’s ..!
    Hugs for your blessed shoulders, Father Steve,
    Mia and Bob

  2. My interest peaked when I read about your RCIC. I am involved in RCIA in my parish and
    am a team member who stood in as a sponsor and administered the blessings.It certainly is an honor to be an instrument in God’s work.I continue to marvel at the work you are doing,Fr.Steve.God’s blessings upon you this advent season!
    Teddy Brennan

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