Here it is; the inevitable “Valentine’s Day” blog. And yet, I am not going to be talking today about hearts and flowers and candy and dinners out. Nor will I focus on the history of Saint Valentine himself, although the risks he took to support the Catholic church are admirable and should be remembered, not only in February but throughout the entire year. Today, the day before we celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day which fosters and recognizes the love we have for each other, I want to share with you some excerpts from a Joint Public Statement issued by the Dominican Sisters Conference and the North American Promoters of Justice. For what better topic to focus on than that spirit of love and community that Saint Dominic Academy has been fostering in young women from 1878 to today.
Women and men religious have been blessed to accompany and serve immigrant and refugee communities across this country throughout their histories. We remain committed to welcoming refugees who come here after passing through the U.S. government’s already rigorous screening process. Saint Dominic Academy opened its doors and its heart in 1878, to serve the children of immigrants in Jersey City; a goal in keeping with the mission of the school which is to empower women for leadership in a global society. Today, the immigrant population in Jersey City has changed, but the idea of Saint Dominic Academy’s commitment to serving students who are seeking a Catholic education, rooted in Dominican tradition has not. Our doors are open to young ladies and their families who seek not only a strong educational foundation, but an education rooted in love, service and spirituality as well.
Our Christian story is rooted in a journey that includes the plight of Mary and Joseph, called out of their homeland to protect the child Jesus. Our Dominican story is 800 years old. St. Dominic founded the Order to preach truth. Our heritage as Dominicans calls us to stand for truth and to raise our voices for truth. This too, is a goal fostered at Saint Dominic Academy, where we teach the girls not only to respect others, but to grow in understanding and love, embracing the different cultures, beliefs and ideas in the community around them, while maintaining their own personal value system as well. Our religion and history classrooms teach the perils of persecution for religious or political reasons, the ramifications of intolerance and the key insights that mold our students daily into open minded young women, who celebrate diversity and embrace the traditions of various cultures.
Saint Dominic Academy has always taken teaching tolerance one step further. We do not stop at tolerance; we teach love. Love for our fellow SDA sisters, love for the generations of alumnae, whose support of the school help to sustain SDA traditions, love for those less fortunate, as evidenced by our commitment to service. Tomorrow, at Saint Dominic Academy, we will celebrate Valentine’s Day, but for generations of women from 1878 until now, the love for others embraced by everyone on February 14th, is a sustaining love that our young women carry with them daily. It is a love for all mankind and a constant reflection on God’s love for all of us.
Happy Valentine’s Day!