By Ceil Roeger, OP; Diana Turney, OP; and Eleanor Cresap, OP
St. Agnes Academy, established by the Dominican Sisters of Houston in 1906, chose to celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week March 8–14 in a special way. A planning committee put in place several activities that gave the students a chance to recognize all the sisters have done for them. The announcement from the planning committee read, “It’s also our hope that as more young women learn about women religious, more will choose to follow their example. We are focusing on our Houston Dominican sisters and taking this opportunity to express our thanks for their ministries.”
A banner signed by the students expressing thanks to the sisters hung over an exhibit in the rotunda Monday through Thursday. The exhibit was created by Christine Hernandez in partnership with Susan Wolfe and Sister Mary Magdalen, OP and featured the Dominican Sisters time line. There was also a carousel with pictures of the sisters.
On Wednesday, March 11, the film “Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America” was screened during lunch. This documentary highlights the 300-year story of Catholic women religious who have so tremendously contributed to the American landscape in myriad ways.
Wednesday after school, a group of students visited our retirement home, St Dominic Villa. After a social enjoying the homemade treats they brought, the students provided entertainment. Some played musical instruments and/or sang. Several others recited poetry, one an original piece and another from Shakespeare.
Even though not all of our sisters were present, the entire congregation was remembered. When they arrived, the students brought a big box containing large envelopes, one for each sister. In each envelope were about 15 letters to that sister from different students. In senior English classes and theology classes students wrote letters of thanks. The students were encouraged to learn about the sisters by going to our web site. Each class had one or two sisters that the students wrote to after learning more about who she is. Having read the sisters’ biographies online, the students were able to write personal comments. Several sisters commented on the personal notes realizing that the students learned about her before writing the letters. Some students also expressed concerns about themselves or others and asked for prayers.
The students and faculty members who visited us certainly exemplified the spirit of St. Dominic. Their happiness, energy, excitement and enthusiasm were a joy to experience.