The lucky ones


candleThere has always been a fear of the number 13. Rumor has it that it’s unlucky. But as I think about my journey with my 82 sisters, I would say that we’re a pretty lucky class.
My time at Sacred Heart began four very short years ago. It truly feels like I went through a time warp and ended up at graduation. As I reflect on this past year, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the challenges that together, as one grade, we faced. There was much loss, losses in our families, losses in our towns, losses close to home, and losses across the globe.
Let’s recap the significant events of our senior year. In October Hurricane Sandy slammed into the Eastern seaboard and caused severe destruction, especially in New Jersey and New York. This storm caused numerous deaths and left more than eight million without electricity. Subways and tunnels in New York were flooded for days. Hundreds lost homes, loved ones, and had their faith challenged.
Less than two months later, in December, 20 young children and six educators were killed just a few towns over in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown. This was the second-deadliest school shooting in US history.
And just two months ago, in April, two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon killing three and injuring 264 others.
Now, a superstitious person might relate these horrific tragedies to the number 13, to the year of 2013. But, when I look back to our school’s response after these events, I am humbled by the fact that as a community we were not people of fear, but rather people of peace.
Hearing the word peace is so infrequent these days, especially from the media. With these awful events that seem to occur one after another, including the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and the Mideast, it’s hard for the media to broadcast the small acts of peace that do truly exist.
Dorothy Tomas, an American Human Rights activist once said, “Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to deal with it.” And indeed, since these conflicts began at the start of our senior year, they inspired us to work even harder to come together as one grade and to serve our outside community. Seniors led prayer-services for the Newtown shooting, worked to restore Breezy Point and other areas crippled by Sandy and organized drives to collect necessary items for those impacted. There is no doubt that we instilled peace within the tragedy.
Over the past four years, my class, the Class of 2013 has completed over 14,300 hours of service. We served not only to satisfy the school’s requirement, but because we cared. We served to spread peace unto the world.
We have learned over the past four years, that peace is not something we wish for, but rather it is something we make, something we do, something we are, and something we give away. And I can assure all of you that as a class, we have spread peace to hundreds from our simple smiles, to our hands-on service work.
The Class of 2013 will be graduating in just a few days and I couldn’t be more honored to walk down the mansion steps with these girls. This is one truly lucky class that will do incredible things in the future.
But, not so fast…. are we really just lucky? Or is it the fact that we have attended an amazing high school with an incredible faculty and administrative staff who since we arrived as freshmen, have taught us to be aware of problems beyond ourselves, to be confident, and to act with love and compassion for the service of the community, the larger world, and the kingdom of God?
While the challenges we will confront will undoubtedly be difficult to overcome, I am certain that this class, as it has over the past four years, will demonstrate that our spirit, commitment to service, compassion, and love will enable us to confront them directly. And most importantly, we will do so, with the knowledge that wherever we traverse, our 81 sisters will be right beside us….we will never be alone.
– Catherine Considine, Online Editor