Monday, July 22, 2013

Closing Mass, St. Elizabeth Academy

After 131 years, St. Elizabeth Academy closed this weekend.  The sisters have moved out of the convent.  The rooms are empty.  The pictures of every graduate are no longer in the hallway.  The buildings are for sale.

I graduated in 1994.  I am incredibly grateful I was able to go to a small, all-girls school.  I am sad that other young women will not be able to have the same experiences.

The Closing Mass or Mass of Celebration was held on July 21, 2013.

Gathering Song:  All Are Welcome
Gloria:  Mass of Light
Alleluia:  The jazzy one!
Mass Setting:  Mass of Glory
Communion:  The Supper of the Lord, We Are One Body (I didn't know there were 5 verses...)
Recessional:  Hymn to St. Elizabeth
Spontaneous After Mass Song:  St. Elizabeth School Song (the first time I have ever heard it....)

Opening Remarks by Sister Susan Borgel, CPPS, President:
To celebrate means to remember together who we are.  We are God's Beloved.  We are the community of SEA.  We are here to give thanks for that grace of being part of this community.

Reflection (in place of homily) by Sister Fran Raia, CPPS, General Superior:
I wish you could see what I see:  all these wonderful faces.  You came in as little girls and left as competent women.  A few years ago, the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood (CPPS) determined their four values for ministry (So much to say...but it is so wrong to kick a dog when it's down....)  These four values are hospitality, reconciliation, be the presence of Christ, and response to human needs.  As you attended school, you had the example of St. Elizabeth, who gave bread to the hungry.  These values are implicit in SEA life.  It is our spirit of family.  In the First Reading Abraham shows hospitality.  It is a strong value found throughout our Jewish and Christian Traditions.  In the Gospel, Mary and Martha show hospitality.  We live this family spirit in our lives.  Mary and Martha are present in the faculty and staff.  We have all been influenced by saints in the windows.  They gave their lives for others.  These values have been implicit in your lives.  I'd like to quote from Dr. Suess:  "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."  Something is ending, but endings are beginnings.

The Profession of Faith was skipped.  And now that I think about it, so were the Prayers of the Faithful.  Which is probably a good thing since I still don't know it.  Instead there was a Ritual of the Presentation of the Gifts.  We were asked to affirm how we will live the 4 values and keep the values of St. Elizabeth Academy alive.

After this, all of the sisters stood up and one-armed saluted  blessed us and sang the Blessing Song.  It goes May the Blessing of the Lord be upon you....and some more stuff.


View from the Choir Loft ;)
It's where the freshmen used to sit.

Mary, St. Elizabeth, St. Agnes, St. Cecilia, Esther and Judith

 From the Old Chapel turned Music Room:


I found this painting of St. Joseph in the entrance of the convent.  On May 17, 1896 a tornado destroyed the convent chapel and it's contents.  This painting and the corpus from the main altar Crucifix were the only things to survive.  None of the sisters or students were injured.
The painting is for sale....

Taize Prayer at St. Elizabeth Academy