January 19, 2007

Letters to the Editor

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America: A welcoming land and the great hope of the world

I was happy to see the pastoral letter from our Indiana bishops concerning immigrants.

It troubles me to witness the attitude of so many people, Catholics included, concerning the influx of Hispanics that we have witnessed in Indiana and America over the past few years.

We are a nation of immigrants after all, and how many of us truly know if our ancestors came here legally?

What about the English, French, Irish, Scottish, Chinese, Polish, Ukrainians, Germans, Vietnamese, Koreans, etc.? Perhaps we should all consider Jesus’s admonishment for those without sin to cast the first stone?

My father’s family came to America nearly 400 years ago and, quite honestly, I don’t know (or care) if they came here legally, but I do know why they came here. They came to America to escape religious persecution due to being Roman Catholic.

One-hundred fifty years later, they fled across America for the same reason. I’m glad that they made the choices that they did and took the risks involved. Our family is certainly better off because of those choices, and I refer not only to economics.

Many Hispanics patronize our business and for the most part, they seem to be hard-working, family oriented, religious people. They want the same things that past immigrants have wanted—freedom. Freedom to earn a living, freedom to worship, freedom to educate their children and freedom from worry, to name a few.

We welcome them and wish them well. While we hope that they are in America legally, we are not going to condemn them for coming here to feed their families, regardless of their circumstances.

None of us should treat America as some exclusive club (we got ours, you get yours), but instead as a welcoming land of plenty and as the great hope of the world that it has always been.

Our nation was founded on Christian ideals and generosity. We should all strive to live by those ideals and generous Christian principles today.

- Greg Dant, Indianapolis

Sisters of Providence fostered many students in Catholic education

Cynthia Dewes struck a chord with me in her Jan. 12 column in The Criterion.

She said, “[Kitty Burns] Florey recalls diagramming and her entire parochial school education with affection, a pleasant change from some of the bitter memoirs we’ve read recently.”

I say to Ms. Dewes, “Amen!”

We did have a good time at Catholic school. And in retrospect, I would like to tell all of the Sisters of Providence that had me to teach, “Thank you!”

I can add, subtract, multiply, divide and diagram sentences faster than almost anyone I know. I was given a love of learning that continues to this day.

These sisters fostered in me a desire to learn and eventually led me to higher education in my chosen field. I like to think I have “done them proud.”

There were tough sisters like Sister Mary Patricia, but she developed math skills in my head that I didn’t know I had.

There were lovely sisters like Sister Viola Marie, who showed me what it was like to be elegant and graceful and smart.

There were Sister Superiors who loved movies and gave me a love of them that continues to this day. When Sister Eileen Marie was at the former Holy Trinity School in New Albany, we had movies almost every week.

We had holy cards, some edged in crochet with loving care. We had order and discipline and prayer at intervals all day. It was wonderful.

I think a lot of us received wonderful educations that we would not have otherwise had.

- Dianne (Young) Schladand, New Albany

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