clip_image002 “I ask for a moment’s indulgence to sit by Thy side.

The works that I have in hand

I will finish afterwards.

Away from the sight of Thy face

My heart knows no rest or respite,

And my work becomes an endless toil

In a shoreless sea of toil.

Today the summer has come at my window

With its sighs and murmurs;

And the bees are plying their minstrelsy

At the court of the flowering grove.

Now it is time to sit quiet

Face to face with Thee,

And to sing dedication of life

In this silent and overflowing leisure.”

RABINDRANATH TAGORE

Photo by Trudi Maish, SCNA

Tom’s Thoughts—

I wait with many others to see if Congress will actually and finally pass legislation that will avert an economic crisis for the United States. The recent debate has been some of the most contentious since the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. The language used by politicians and media carried a dark and almost sinister tone and some seem to invite destruction of the economy. A couple of weeks ago I read these words written by Thomas Merton in the midst of the civil rights debate:

“How true it is that the great obligation of the Christian, especially now, is to prove himself a disciple of Christ by hating no one, that is to say, by condemning no one, rejecting no one. And how true that the impatience that fumes at others and damns them (especially whole classes, races, nations…” and I may add, politicians) “is a sign of the weakness that is still un-liberated, still not tracked by the Blood of Christ, and is still a stranger to the Cross.”

Who says that bearing witness of our faith was ever going to be easy? Let us relax in God’s grace and seek ways to love one another despite differences that will always exist between us.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Maintenance will be overseeing paving of the Service Road from where it left off last year near the Old Laundry. The Service Road will be paved from the Old Laundry and will extend all the way behind Village II to where the County road ends – beginning August 8 and perhaps extending to August 9. August 10 will be the date the parking lot between Carrico Hall and Purchasing will be re-surfaced and re-lined. All cars will need to park elsewhere during this period. The areas behind the Maintenance and Mechanical area provides ample parking. Additional areas will be marked off in the grassy areas next to West Drive. Additional information is available in the memo distributed earlier this week. If you have specific questions or needs, please contact Richard Sweazy.

Did you know?

August 1 is called Lammas—Cross quarter day (halfway between summer solstice and autumn equinox). This is the festival day of new bread, forerunner of autumn harvest festivals. This signifies withdrawal of energy into the Earth in preparation for the falling seeds that are to germinate in winter.

Tree Removal…Speaking of seeds and trees, the loss of the large limb that fell from the large Pin Oak at the corner of the road in front of the Motherhouse necessitates the removal of the tree very soon. August 15 is the tentative date the tree will be removed. This is the second major limb to fall in recent weeks and has raised the specter of tree removal to the forefront. A plan for a gradual tree removal and replanting has been in effect for several years. A review of the plan has brought to light some immediate needs primarily focused on safety, which means there will be additional activity cutting dead limbs and reinforcing other limbs with cables to allow longer life for a couple of older trees. More study will take place this fall as we consider advancing the landscape plan, which will include the replanting of trees when others are removed.

Campus Service Ice Cream Social, sponsored by the NCS Social Committee, was held in the O’Connell Hall Drawing room Thursday, July 27, at 1:30 p.m. Entertainment was provided by Tom Cunningham and Ben Andrews of Louisville, who played an array of light, lively tunes. Pam Clark of the Wellness Committee announced that JoAnn Polin won the Best Smoothie Recipe Contest, and provided samples of the winner recipe. The Social Committee appreciates everyone who participated. If you have comments or suggestions for next year, please share them with members of the Social Committee.

Meal Price Moratorium—Meal prices for employees were reduced back to $3.00 through August 31 so that a review of food service costs could be carried out. An announcement of the outcome will be made by the end of the month.

Telephone System

The current phone system is beginning its 8th year of a projected life expectancy of five years. After looking at various options for replacing the aging system, Nazareth Campus Service soon hopes to be entering into a new contract with our current telephone provider, Mitel, for installation of a new phone system. Preliminary work (gathering data) will begin when contracts are finalized but the actual installation of the new system will not begin until the next fiscal year. Most people will not see any significant change; however, there will be enhanced services for those in departmental offices who need more options than the current system allows. More information about this project will be provided once details have been finalized.

Upcoming Events

Social Committee met on Wednesday, August 3, to discuss the recent Ice Cream Social and to review the results of the Annual SCN Christmas Party survey. We will share the results in the September Newsletter

Mission Committee will meet on August 10 at 2:30 p.m. in the O’Connell Hall Meeting Room. The three areas of focus for the coming year will be addressing social justice issues and human trafficking, Care of the Earth, and the 2012 Bicentennial. You will receive more information regarding the latter as we look to have a SCN employee-sponsored project in celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

SCN Yard Sale and Bake Sale will be held on Friday, September 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. You will receive additional information during August regarding this sale and the Laundry Sale.

SCN Laundry Sale will be held Friday, September 16, also from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the general public. The special SCN Employee Laundry Sale will be held Wednesday, September 14, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. for employees only. There will be no preview of items for sale to either the employees or the general public prior to either sale date. Items being purchased by SCN employees must be picked up by Thursday, September 15 at 3:00 p.m.

Annunciation Shrine…Construction of a new walkway that will lead from the O’Connell Hall parking lot to the shrine will begin soon. Additional landscaping around the shrine will be added during the fall planting season. A plaque describing the historical significance of the shrine will be placed and dedicated sometime next summer by the Bicentennial Committee.

Nazareth Picnic….No reminder is really needed for one of the most exciting days of the year here at Nazareth, which occurs on Saturday, August 27, this year. Arrangements are now being finalized. This event requires the support and assistance of many people in order to be successful. If you would like to participate by contributing your services during the picnic, please contact a booth chair or Leslie Wilson in the OCA office to find out how you can help.

Employee Birthdays and Anniversaries

Birthdays Anniversaries
Bobby Davis 08/02 Gayle Case 08/21/95
Leah Cunningham 08/03 Elaine Dickerson 08/25/03
Margaret Baunach 08/04 Betty Rose Downs 08/29/91
Sandy Cundiff 08/08 Sylvia Hutchings 08/05/06
Tom Robertson 08/10 Jo Paulin 08/09/10
Anita Knott 08/19 Gracie Puckett 08/08/06
Whitney May 08/19 Janice White 08/20/01
Gracie Puckett 08/26  
Steve Hester 08/30  

 

Bicentennial
In early 19th century America, the country that had been founded on high ideals such as freedom, justice, and pursuit of happiness for all seemed to have left behind a significant number of its citizens –especially women of all races. Although life in the 1800’s was generally difficult, historical accounts portray the lives of 19th century women as especially harsh:
“The underprivileged white women, mostly poor farmers’ daughters, often worked to support themselves, as their husbands or fathers were not making enough money to support the family. Their jobs included working for higher class families, doing household duties such as cleaning, cooking or even field work. In addition to their other jobs, these women also had all the responsibilities of their household: cleaning, cooking, taking care of the children, making clothes… A lot was expected from these women, and they were often tired and sickly. The life expectancy of women in the 19th century was in the late forties, very low compared to the late seventies life expectancy today…”

If the lives of underprivileged white women were dismal, the lives of many other 19th century women living in America were much worse:

“The African American women of this time were mostly enslaved. The women did housework of all kinds including serving as nannies for their masters’ children, and were also used to work in the fields. Most slaves could not read or write, and had little to no education. When women were done working for their masters they often went back to their slave quarters and homes and did housework there. Few were lucky enough to have a family that stayed together. Normally, women were separated from their husbands and children due to the slave trade. The lives of Irish and Native American women were in many ways as difficult and uncertain than their African sisters because they were considered at the very bottom of the social class. In addition to hard work and other hardships, women generally were expected to bear large numbers of children which was very hazardous…

“…In general, the 19th century woman had no or very few political rights. She was unable to vote, or have any political views. She also had a very limited career selection, as women were excluded from most professions. A factor in this exclusion could have been a lack of education, since women were not often very educated…”

How did the early SCNs respond to the social and political obstacles for women in the 1800’s and beyond? It seems that many of these barriers were conquered through the SCN commitment to education, which opened many doors for women. In 1814, when most of Kentucky was still considered a wilderness, the pioneer SCNs began their first school. In an historical account presented by Anna Blanche McGill in her book, “The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (1917)”, McGill states:

“In August, 1814, Nazareth’s first school was begun, with Sisters Ellen O’Connell and Harriet Gardiner as faculty, assisted when possible by Mother Catherine. All three were women of excellent mentality, industry, and power of imparting instruction. The first pupil received was Cecilia O’Brien, daughter of a neighboring farmer. This little girl entered as a day pupil and she eventually became a member of the community as Sister Cecily….Owing to the distances between the farm houses and Nazareth there were few day pupils in the school’s early days. The majority were boarders from the surrounding country. By the first of December there were nine little girls…a year later the enrollment was thirty-four students from Nelson County and adjoining regions. This was considered a large school, considering the sparsely settled country, the difficulties of going to and fro, and other general conditions of pioneer days.”

By 1818 the SCNs were asked to expand their mission of education by opening a day school in Bardstown which was called “Bethlehem,” and the great legacy of SCN educators continued to grow from there. McGill describes the daily life of these early SCN educators:

“…In the morning, after a little cornbread and a cup of rye coffee without sugar and often without milk, they went to their labors in the schoolroom, the fields, the kitchen, the laundry. And when, after the usual prayers, they assembled for dinner, hunger rendered palatable a piece of cornbread, bacon or ‘middling,’ as it was called, with greens or some other plain vegetable cooked on the fire made of branches which they themselves had brought from the woods. This humble meal partaken of, toil was resumed. The evening meal consisted of a morsel of cornbread and a cup of sage tea, seasoned like the morning’s coffee….”

A number of SCNs are credited with the early success of the congregation as respected educators, including Sisters Ellen O’Connell, Frances Gardiner, Columba Carroll, Marie Menard, and countless others. Of Ellen O’Connell, the first SCN Directress of the Academy, it was said:

“In addition to the possession of a mind of rare intelligence, she had received an excellent education and was gifted with a facility for imparting her own knowledge to others. With so much spirit did she enter into the views of Father David that within a few years she had succeeded, with the valuable assistance which he himself was enabled to render, in forming a

body of teachers at that day unequalled in the State….After her weary school hours she taught the Sisters with indefatigable care, ‘so that there was not one teaching at all who was not her pupil – not one who equaled her in intellectual powers or in extent and variety of knowledge’.”

Frances Gardiner, a life-long educator for the congregation, while serving as Mother of the congregation continued to encourage Sisters in their own education when writing to them:

“..You must not neglect to improve yourself all you can. Write every day, but with care. Your letter was well done. Review and study and never think you have reached the point beyond which you need not aim. Go ahead, ever.” To another she wrote: “…I wrote to Sister G. and told her she must take her leisure time to improve herself and that I would ask you to let her have the time – although I know you have tried to get her to study. I hope you will insist upon her doing so in future, by my request.”

In Sister Agnes Geraldine’s writings about Mother Columba, she states: “…Sister Marie Menard wrote of Sister Columba that during her thirty years as directress of studies she built up a ‘reputation for Nazareth of worldwide fame’.”

The SCNs reputation as exceptional educators was enough to draw students from some of Kentucky’s most distinguished families of that time, including the daughters of Ben Hardin, Zachary Taylor, and Colonel Jefferson Davis, who received the same excellent instruction as the daughters of local farmers and laborers. Perhaps it was just a coincidence that in 1838, Kentucky was the first state to permit suffrage of any kind when property-owning widows and single women were given the right to vote in school board elections; or, perhaps the fact that the SCNs and other religious orders of the day made education such a priority in Kentucky that lawmakers realized before much of the rest of the country that women deserved to have a voice in important matters such as education. Regardless, there is no question that the education provided by the outstanding teachers of the SCN congregation throughout Kentucky and beyond had an enormous impact on the people of an entire region in the 1800’s.

The long struggle for women’s rights was finally launched when the first official American Women’s Rights convention took place in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848 – the same year that a group of SCNs was nursing Asiatic cholera victims in Nashville, Tennessee. It is truly remarkable that long before the beginning of women’s rights in this country, a group of women religious had purchased their own land, erected buildings, established seven schools and an orphanage, had received a business charter from the State of Kentucky, and had risked their lives numerous times serving as nurses during deadly outbreaks of disease…and they were only just beginning!

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