Updates from our Principals
Dear families and friends of Lumen,
We hope you managed to stay cool this past weekend! Though the weather was hot, it was a lovely foretaste of the lazy, languid summer days ahead. What a treat to walk through the neighborhood and see kids running through sprinklers and heaving water balloons at each other! Only three more weeks until our scholars (and our teachers!) can enjoy their well-earned summer leisure.
On May 22, the Church celebrates St. Rita of Cascia, a saint with the distinction of being wife, mother, and religious sister (an honor she shares with other saints such as Jane Frances de Chantal, Marie of the Incarnation, and Elizabeth Ann Seton). Rita wanted to become a nun, but her parents forced her into an arranged marriage. But even though her union was an unhappy one, Rita was remarkable for her consistent goodness towards her spouse, always seeking his conversion – even though her efforts were unsuccessful. After his murder at the hands of a rival family, her sons sought vengeance, despite their mother’s pleas that they desist from responding with violence. Again, her prayers seemingly went unanswered, though her sons died from dysentery before they could enact their murderous plans. After her sons’ death, Rita tried to enter an Augustinian monastery, but was told she could only enter if she could reconcile her family with that of her husband’s murderers. Through diligent prayer and Christian witness, she was eventually able to achieve her goal, and lived the last forty years of her life as an Augustinian nun.
There are so many lessons to learn from St. Rita. First of all, she exemplifies a very difficult virtue to practice – the spiritual work of mercy of “bearing wrongs patiently.” I remember the first time I tried to teach the spiritual works of mercy to a group of high school students, who could get on board with “praying for the living and the dead” and “comforting the sorrowful.” But “bearing wrongs patiently”? Doesn’t this just mean being a doormat? Does this mean we’re just supposed to tolerate abuse? Aren’t we supposed to speak up against injustice? What about righteous anger at evil?
The “meekness” that Christ proclaims as one of the greatest virtues is an incredibly tough one for us modern folks to accept. While I don’t pretend that the questions my students raised are easy to answer, I think that the model of St. Rita can, at the very least, urge us to ask ourselves if the way in which we respond to those who do us wrong is motivated by selfishness, arrogance, and pride – or by genuine, self-giving love and concern for the good of those who hate us. Her example reminds me of Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s reflection on the order of God’s love, as revealed by Christ’s last words on the Cross: “His first words went out to enemies: ‘Father, forgive them’; His second to sinners: ‘This day you will be with me in paradise’; and His third to saints: ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Enemies, sinners, and saints—such is the order of divine love and thoughtfulness.” Such, too, it seems, was the love of St. Rita.
Then, there is the fact that, for a very long time, Rita had to cope with apparently unanswered prayers. Through it all, she persevered in faith and faithfulness. She could not become a nun when she wished and was coerced into marriage, yet she still fulfilled her duties as a wife and mother faithfully and fully. Her husband and sons persisted in their cruel and sinful ways, yet she remained loyal and prayed for them constantly. She was denied entrance into the monastery until she accomplished a seemingly impossible task, yet she persevered. Her example reminds us that, when God seems not to answer our prayers, He is indeed answering them – by putting us where He needs us to be, so that we can grow in love and service of Him no matter where we happen to find ourselves. Her life reminds me of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s maxim that God calls us not to be successful, but to be faithful.
In our daily lives, we all have to deal with people who hurt us, with prayers seemingly unanswered, with the paths of our vocations apparently thwarted or obscured. May St. Rita be a reminder of how God calls us to respond to these setbacks: with charity towards our enemies, with perseverance in prayer, with loving fidelity to the responsibilities of our current state of life – and with a trust that, through it all, God is preparing us to become what He longs for us to be: saints.
Pax et bonum,
Greetings in Christ, LVA Families!
I hope you and your families are doing well as we approach our country’s celebration of Memorial Day, enjoy the last few blessed days of school, and enter into the Catholic Church’s most ancient of novenas, the Novena to the Holy Spirit: “Veni Sancte Spiritus!”
Field Day MMXXII: Veni, Vidi, Vici!
This past Wednesday, we enjoyed our first official Field Day at LVA. We began the day with Mass celebrated by Fr. Matthew Conley, who shared great insights about the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge in the spirit of the great monastic, St. Bede. After Mass, the 6th-grade class shared the history of the Olympics through demonstrative storytelling. We then divided into two teams and spent the remainder of our day playing games that demanded the use of our intellect, athleticism, and teamwork. The culminating event was a fun and competitive game of Capture the Flag, which exhausted both the students and teachers, who gave every ounce of energy for the thrill of victory. We ended the day with an awards ceremony, in which we recognized the Field Day MVP (Sarah Shann), Best Team Player (Hannah Richer), and Best Attitude (John Shann). After the awards were handed out, we said a prayer of thanksgiving to our Lord, and through the intercession of St. Sebastian, the patron saint of athletes, rejoiced at the blessed opportunity for recreation enhanced by a beautiful spring day at Hopkinton State Park.
The theme for our inaugural Field Day was “Veni, Vidi, Vici!” (I came, I saw, I conquered!), which aptly encapsulates our journey and first year at LVA. Trust, goodwill, and adventure have been a few of the great hallmarks of LVA, and serve as a testament to our students, teachers, and families alike, who trusted that with Jesus Christ at the center and focus of our school, everything would work out for the benefit of the students and for the greater glory of God. When we look at our collective experience at LVA, we can confidently say with great pride and joy, “Veni, Vidi. Vici!” This year has been an adventurous journey of starting a new school, courageously battling through the ups and downs of the pandemic, embracing new friends in a brand new community, and all the challenges, victories, and joys that have shaped our year together. Looking back at the success and growth we all have gone through thus far, perhaps we should more accurately be proclaiming: “Venimus, Vidimus, Vicimus!” (We came.. We saw.. We conquered!) as this has truly been a team effort from the very beginning!
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“Veni, Vidi, Vici!”