November 30

At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision…” Charles Dickens

With Thanksgiving Day behind us, is there a household who will not watch one of the myriad version of A Christmas Carol during the next few weeks.  In my house, we’re reading two versions of it in homeschool lessons  the original text and graphic novel), Abigail is playing the roles of Tiny Tim and Jacob Marley in her virtual theater class with the Morristown Performing Arts Center, and still, we’re far from “Caroled-out”…and will watch several beloved versions; including the Disney version and the Muppet version during the month of December.

When Scrooge has his change of heart, we know well that he looks to the service of others and, as his spectral friend Marley charged him; made “mankind” his business from then onward. Dickens himself tells us He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.  A new made man, after his ghostly visitors, Scrooge went on to embody the true spirit of the season, that of giving onto others.

None of us, SDA alumnae, friends, students and parents, need to be visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future in order to fully embrace the gifts of the season.  For, when you walk the halls of SDA as a student, when you interact with the school as a parent, when you serve SDA as a teacher or board member, or when you look back with fond memories as an alumna, one of the virtues that springs to your mind first would be that virtue of charity-of giving of yourself to others and bringing your time, talents and treasures into daily interactions for the betterment of all.  Saint Dominic Academy, since 1878 has instilled in all who know its mission, the desire to serve others, to help ease the pains of others, and to give back to those who have given much to us. 

Tomorrow, December 1st, 2020 is Giving Tuesday and it is our dearest hope that all of those whose lives have been touched by the goodness of Saint Dominic Academy and the Dominican Sisters in Caldwell, will take a  moment to give back to our beloved school.   Any gift you can make, great or small will benefit the next generation of your SDA sisters, those whose compassion and kindness will stretch far into the future and ensuring that everyone continues to know that those who are affiliated with SDA are full of the spirit of giving and the joy that comes from serving others. Thanking you in advance for your generous gift to Saint Dominic Academy and as the sun rises on the first of December tomorrow, let me be the first to issue that timeless line from Dickens-one that captures what Christmas is all about: God bless us, everyone!

November 23

Let’s remember…and give thanks.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

November 16

Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude to God, our Creator and Provider, whose guidance and care go before us, and whose love is with us forever. 

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the changes, to remember that we, too, grow and change from one season of life to another. 

Thanksgiving is a time of changing seasons, when leaves turn golden in autumn’s wake and apples are crisp in the first chill breezes of fall.

 Let us remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

 As we see the beauty of autumn, let us acknowledge the many blessings which are ours, let us think of our families and friends, and let us give thanks in our hearts.- Author Unknown

It may be challenging for us, this year, to truly embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving. With so many challenges behind us and still more ahead perhaps none of us is feeling as thankful as we would normally feel. For the fourth Thursday in November is a date when we’d gather with extended family, see friends from across the miles and sit together, way closer than six feet and celebrate- as one year draws closer to and end and another looms on the horizon. 

There’d be talk of Christmas gifts, holiday gatherings, midnight mass plans, and for our youngest family members the thrill of knowing that Santa’s time is once again at last at hand…these are the feelings that Thanksgiving envokes—truly the “advent” of the joyful holiday season.

How then, do we find joy this year, amid our frustrations, fears and sorrows?  For those of us who lost someone, Thanksgiving will be missing something this year. For those of us who have not seen family in months and months, our tables will feel empty no matter how much we can embrace “virtual” gatherings.  For those of us who had travel plans, celebratory plans, or even Black Friday shopping plans, those may not come to full fruition this year.  Thanksgiving is almost upon us and it is up to each of us to find a way to capture the joy of the season and keep it with us until we can ring in 2021. 

I have no firm solution as to how to make this holiday full of joy…but here’s one thing I do know.  Like so many other things this year, it will be memorable. This will be the Thanksgiving you’ll remember the rest of your lives—the one you’ll tell your grandkids about and your children will tell their grandkids about someday. It may very well be the most memorable Thanksgiving since the very first one; because it will be so different from what we’ve come to know. 

So, capture the memories, celebrate live with those whom you can and virtually with those who cannot join you this year. Embrace the love of family and friends; in person or through a screen. And as Thanksgiving night draws to a close, take a photo or two—save them forever. 2020 has the potential to be the Thanksgiving you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

November 9

Heavenly Father,

As we commemorate Veteran’s Day,

We pray for those men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for the cost of freedom.

May their service and sacrifice inspire us all to follow in the selfless example of your Son,

Christ Jesus.

Bless the families of our veterans

, those who still hold their servicemen and servicewomen close,

And those who mourn the loss of a veteran this year.

Fill all of their lives with hope, blessings and peace. 

Help all of us to emulate their call to serve in our own ways,

So that our hearts, united with the hearts of all veterans, living and deceased,

Answer the call to work for peace and justice.

Together, let us work for an end to violence and conflict the world over.

Hold our veterans, today and every day, in Your loving grace.

Amen

All Souls Day

Today we at Saint Dominic Academy pray for the souls of our community’s departed loved ones- family, friends, alumnae, parents and Sisters of Saint Dominic in Caldwell, and we pray also for the lives lost to COVID-19. 

A Prayer for Departed Souls…

Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord,

And let perpetual light shine upon them.

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God,

Rest in Peace.

Amen