I hope the many guest bloggers we’ve been featuring are helping you gain a fuller view of what is going on around campus this summer. I started a long road trip this past week for meetings and donor luncheons, and now will continue time away for vacation, retreat and SCJ community meetings.
Last week many of our staff and Board of Directors participated in a two-day strategic planning retreat. It’s been four years since our last plan. One reason for St. Josephs’ Indian School’s quality programming is that we regularly take a look at ourselves and see where we need to improve and grow. We have much more work to do over the coming months, but began brainstorming in four areas – student achievement, staff development, financial viability and collaboration with key partners, like students’ families and tribes.
What I appreciate most about these efforts is that as director, I can enlist the energy, ideas and passion of others, so that it’s not my plan, but our plan of where we can go in the future.
I drove to Chicago and Oakbrook, Illinois, where we had two lively and well attended donor appreciation luncheons. When part of a crowd, I find myself wishing for more time with each individual, because we have so many caring people who are part of our tiyospaye – extended family.
One woman showed me a prayer card from St. Joseph’s Indian School in 1954, when she was 12 years old – 57 years ago!
When I pointed that out to the rest of the group, another woman told us that she remembers her family starting out in the 1940’s by sending clothes for our Native American children. We also had new friends, who asked good questions and our excited to participate in our efforts.
One long time friend Ray, got tickets for our St. Joseph’s Indian School’s crew to attend a White Sox game. Other fun activities for our two high school students, Nick and Shawn, included the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, lots of good food, and walking around the Chicago Loop to see the astounding variety of people, buildings and activities.
My SCJ community has a house of studies in Chicago, and I stayed on for a meeting of our vocation and formation meeting. People often talk about the shortage of vocations and the need for more vocations. Brother Duane reflected that the real key is not more, but good quality vocations, and for each member of the Congregation to strive to live our charism of helping others know of God’s love to our fullest ability. One entertaining part of the meeting was to look at various videos found on YouTube that “advertise” religious life. I pray that my work and life do attract others to join us.
On Monday night I came home to Indiana, for time with mom and dad, and my own tiyospaye – extended family. I love the work at St. Joseph’s Indian School, and know that time away for rest, recreation and family relationships will help me carry on that important work when I return with more patience, insight and enthusiasm.
I’ll periodically check in on the blog while on the road. In the meantime, enjoy all the updates from a good variety of staff who make St. Joseph’s Indian School all that it is.