Saints and Scholars Newsletter May 13, 2022

Updates from our Principals

Update from Co-Principal for Academics, Mrs. Karen Celano

Dear families and friends of Lumen,

Whew! Our scholars just successfully completed their Spring MAP testing. I am hopeful that they will have plenty of time this week to give their minds a much-needed rest!

Tuesday was the feast of a beautiful saint – Damien de Veuster, a Belgian priest who spent his life serving the lepers on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. Conditions on the island were considered so dangerous that Fr. Damien’s superior felt he could not order any of his priests to go and instead asked for volunteers. Fr. Damien was one of them. At the time, leprosy was believed to have been caused by a sinful lifestyle, but Fr. Damien was not deterred from living among the afflicted and serving them. Like St. Francis before him, Fr. Damien strove to overcome his natural revulsion to illness and disfigurement to serve those afflicted by disease. During his lifetime, Hawaiian Princess Liliuokalani sought to honor him with the title of Commander of the Royal Order of Kalakaua Inevitably, he himself contracted the illness and died from it at the age of 49. A statue of him currently stands in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. – a gift from the state of Hawaii.

Not too long ago, Fr. Damien’s legacy was called into question by those who view him as a symbol of colonialism. It’s not the first time Fr. Damien has been seen as a controversial figure; even during his lifetime he was criticized and scorned. Protestant missionaries in Hawaii called him “coarse, dirty, headstrong, and bigoted.” When he contracted leprosy, those around him attributed it to what they thought must have been a sinful lifestyle of “vice and carelessness.” His own superiors found him difficult to work with and called him a “peasant.” Indeed, he was known for his frustration and impatience with bureaucracy and his impulsivity – and, at times, arrogance.

For us who share Damien’s faith and celebrate his legacy, there are perhaps two things we can learn from him. First, Damien is a saint not because of his ordinary vices, but because of his heroic, extraordinary virtue – and the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Damien was not the only saint who struggled with difficult personality traits: Peter had his impetuousness; Jerome, his cantankerousness; Teresa of Avila, her temper; Therese, her stubbornness. Yet the grace of God can transform and use those troublesome qualities for our own good and the good of others. While none of this excuses us from striving to overcome vice in all dimensions of our lives, it’s good to remember that God can work with and through our very human, flawed personalities.

Secondly, Damien’s story is a poignant reminder that doing God’s work means encountering misunderstanding, resistance, and scorn. Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light not because we do not face difficulty in carrying them, but because He is carrying it with us.

I have always loved this prayer from Damien High School in California inviting us to reflect on the life, struggles, and virtues of this saint. There is also a lovely film on his life, which can be viewed for free online here. St. Damien, pray for us!

Have a blessed remainder of your week!

Pax et bonum,

Karen Celano

Update from Co-Principal for Faith and Student Life, Mr. Craig Dyke

Greetings in Christ, LVA Families and Friends!

I hope you and your families are doing well on this Feast of Our Lady of Fatima!

It was 105 years ago- to the day- when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three peasant children named Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco in rural Fatima, Portugal. Our Lady shared with the children a stark message for the world regarding the need for prayer, penance and conversion. This message can sometimes be perceived as ominous and heavy, but let us not overlook the awesome reality that it also is a strong message of hope, love, and mercy. God is truly a loving and merciful Father, Who desires that we, His children, reclaim our great inheritance as being an integral part of the family of God, and that we also live our lives accordingly.

Lucia, who later became a Carmelite sister, wrote years after Our Lady’s apparations: “The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Do not be afraid … because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue … nonetheless, Our Lady has already crushed his head.”

As we look at family life in the state of our world today, the message of Fatima is still very much relevant and needed. How much do we know about the message of Fatima and the state of the world when Mary came to these little ones? Let us take some extra time this weekend to learn more about Mary’s message given at Fatima, and may our renewed awareness increase our families’ desire for more prayer, penance and ongoing conversion. For a brief video description of Fatima, please click here. For those interested in watching the full-length film, please click here: “The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima,”

Below are some ways our families can respond to Our Lady of Fatima’s call for holiness and conversion:

  1. Praying the rosary as a family
  2. Making sacrifices in reparation for sins and the conversion of the world
  3. Scheduling monthly Confession
  4. Make reparations for the offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary through the First Five Saturdays Devotion
  5. Continue to pray for the Conversion of Russia and those impacted by the lies of communism

May the Lord continue to richly bless you and your families as we continue to experience the joy of our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ this Easter Season!

In Christ,

Craig Dyke

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Recent Field Trip!

This Wednesday we had the very great privilege of traveling to Thomas Aquinas College in Northfield. After a fun bus ride full of Marian hymn-singing in preparation for next week’s May Crowning, our middle school scholars got to act like college students for a day, touring the campus, eating in the dining hall, visiting the dorms, and shadowing classes. The highlight of the day (for us teachers at least) was participation in one of the school’s daily Masses, held in the recently renovated Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel, where we were able to experience the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin. (The scholars might argue that the highlight of their day was a visit to the college’s new athletic center, basketball court, and dance studio!) We’re so grateful to John Jost, Caroline Guinee, and all our hosts at TAC for their tremendous hospitality – and to our Lord for giving us such lovely spring weather for our journey! We hope the scholars were as inspired as we were by the joyful, authentically Catholic intellectual community that we encountered at TAC.

Hike and Ice Cream Social for Interested Families

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Marian Feast Day!