16 May 2018
The following was originally published in Holy Child School at Rosemont’s Spring 2018 Cachet
On February 14, Holy Child School at Rosemont sixth grade students passed out heart-shaped cards and recited endearing poetry as part of their annual Valentine’s Day visit to the Holy Child Center, a nursing facility housed in the Society of the Holy Child Jesus’ American Province headquarters in Rosemont, PA. Our students regularly engage with the sisters hoping to share some joy, but as one could imagine, they gain a hundredfold in return.
Steve Clarke ’73 P’0l’03, a sixth grade homeroom teacher, prepares his class for their visit each Valentine’s Day. “I tell my students that, even though they don’t have daily interactions with the sisters, they know a lot about them. Much of who I am, how I teach, and the words that they hear from me came from the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus. In many cases, I am only a mouthpiece repeating to today’s students the lessons about life that I learned from these sisters in the past.”
Each grade at Holy Child visits the sisters at least once a year. First grade performs an annual St. Patrick’s Day play, PreKindergarten and Kindergarten sing songs on Halloween, and eighth graders are Advent Angels with the sisters, buying and wrapping a gift for their special friend. Our students relish the time they spend with these women and recognize the unique value of our relationship with the Holy Child Center.
“It’s very important for our School because the sisters have served our community and we can thank them for what a great school we have now,” said John Rouse, sixth grade student.
Added Gwen Miller, third grader, “We learn more religious values from them and we can tell them things we are doing at School.” She fondly remembers sharing her First Communion workbook with a sister last year.
Karen Grossman P’2 5’28, Middle School science teacher, sees the students blossom when they engage with the sisters . “I witness strengths that might not come out in a classroom setting, but present themselves in a thoughtful, loving, caring way for the sisters whom they have a connection to because they go to a school where these women have given their lives, their time, and their service to the mission of our School.”
And the sisters’ thoughts? In regards to the visits, the feeling is mutual.
“Some of our sisters have taught for years and years and now to have children around us is wonderful,” said Sister Rosemary McCarthy, SHCJ. “These children are so easy to talk to. They’re not shy; they’re relaxed and at home with the sisters.”
Our students seek to be present, learn more about a different generation, and gain a new perspective about what it means to be a Holy Child sister. ‘They want to know where I came from and if I have any brothers and sisters. And then all of a sudden we’re real people to them, not just a figure in a convent. That has a real benefit,” said Sister Millie Whall, SHCJ.
Sister Helen Schwarz, SHCJ recalled a recent favorite memory when her eighth grade Advent Angel visited this past December. “He said to me, ‘Sister Helen, I’m going to be in charge of this interview. Let’s start at the beginning, I would like your full biography.”‘ She chuckled . “It fills me with joy every time they visit because each child has such a beautiful spirit.”
The value of our relationship ties back to who we are as a Holy Child school and the type of student we strive to graduate. One who carries with them the identity of our School, the charism of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, and an appreciation for the foundation they learned as part of this community.
“Because the students have knowledge of our mission, they understand that these women are part of our community,” added Karen. “Our children really are at their best when they go over there . They know the focus-that it’s about the sisters . That’s really something amazing.”