Lent = Love

During dismissal last Friday, I heard Mr. Tremblay announce that Mrs. Nelson had kindly arranged all of the sleds on the front lawn for students to take home.  The message my winter-weary soul heard was, “We declare winter over!” It gave my heart a lift.

(I still declare winter over, despite the white stuff that appeared over the weekend!)

The entire faculty and staff was given a lift last week during Teacher Appreciation Week. Our families were so generous with us!! Occurring at the perfect time in the year, during the gray end-of-winter days, it boosted morale, provided an opportunity for staff to interact with each other, and spread good cheer throughout the campus the entire week! I got a kick out of watching teachers stream toward the kitchen with quick steps and smiles on their faces. Thank you to HEART and all families who contributed to the delicious and abundant breakfast and lunch buffets. The food was superb and so appreciated, but even more so, we are humbled by the sentiment that generated it. Thank you. Truly.

The air is changing all around and hope is building even though we are in the midst of Lent. But, isn’t that really what Lent is all about? We walk through the desert preparing ourselves for the resurrection – the ultimate hope. Not just The Resurrection, but also small resurrections within ourselves. We resist the pull of sweet treats, screens, and gossip. We spend more time in prayer and reflection. We transform in small and large ways and our resurrections prefigure The Resurrection. Our faith is nourished, hope flourishes, and love expands.

Mrs. Fagan created a beautiful bulletin board at the beginning of Lent, which if you remember, began with the collision of Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day. At first glance, they appear as two disparate celebrations: “You are dust – I love you.” But, she captured the essence of Lent in the heart-filled projects that surrounded these quotes: “Love is the Beauty of the Soul” – St. Augustine; and “As lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst… He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.”– St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Yes, Lent is about Love.

Hope is evident on campus as well. We have had two gentlemen visit us for the past three weeks serving as interns in the junior high and high school. During a mentor session with these gentlemen, Mr. Tremblay asked the question, “What has surprised you about your experience so far?” Their answers were so affirming. Without hesitation, they both said that the aspect of our school that surprised them the most was how respectful the kids are. We know our students are unique and genuine and wonderful. We love them for who they are and what they do. Hearing newcomers to our campus recognize and praise our students for their virtue was a balm for the soul. One of the gentlemen was also surprised how much prayer there is in our day and how the prayer times centered the students, priming them to appreciate the education and mission. Again – balm.

At this time of year, we see individual students and entire classes maturing and showing signs of readiness to move to the next grade level:

  • At Stations of the Cross each Monday during Lent, we see more and more younger students leading a station as their reading skills have grown
  • Garden students who struggled to understand the structure and routines of school at the beginning of the year are now lined up in quiet, straight lines with smiles on their faces
  • Multiplication tables are being mastered
  • Essays are being written with greater ease and increased quality
  • Leadership skills are being developed as students participate in the Yearbook Club, Knights for Life, National Honor Society, outreach at the soup kitchen, or are just trying to make a difference in the world around them.

As we watch plants pushing their way toward the sun, budding, blossoming, and blooming, so we see our students developing, growing, and experiencing their own little resurrections.

God, in his great wisdom, provides seasons for Earth’s renewal. By the same token, through His Church, He graciously provides liturgical seasons for our spiritual renewal.  By living our Lent with an abundance of Love, nurtured by penance and sacrifice, may we all come to Easter having given Our Lord what he wants most: our love and the chance to love us. - Mrs. Lisa Sweet, Academic Dean