January 27, 2012

2012 Catholic Schools Week Supplement

Graduates celebrate their Catholic school’s timeless influence

The pure joy of boys getting to play football in the mud radiates from the faces of the fifth- and sixth-grade players on the football team of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood. (Submitted photo)

Members of the 1961 graduating class of St. Joan of Arc School in Indianapolis share a group photo with Father Guy Roberts, pastor of the parish, during their 50th reunion at the school in June of 2011. (Submitted photo)

By Dennis Brake

Playing kickball, marching in the May Crowning procession and saving entire villages of babies with mission collections are just a few of the many reasons to attend a Catholic grade school. But the best reason is that, contrary to what Thomas Wolfe said, you really can go home again. Even after five decades (that’s an entire rosary), you can hold a class reunion and, with the exception of a few expanding waistlines and some graying hair, very little has changed.

Last year, I had the privilege of helping to organize St. Joan of Arc’s Class of 1961 50-year reunion. That year, 109 little saints (with a small “s”) graduated, one of the largest classes ever at St. Joan of Arc. Somehow, we all fit into just two rooms.

One of the highlights during the reunion weekend was a tour of the school. As we walked through the halls and stepped into the classrooms, the most common question heard was, “How did we ever fit 55 kids into this tiny room?”

The bigger mystery was, “How did one nun ever control 55 of us kids?” The answer was “Providence,” as in the Sisters of Providence. They truly were a rare breed, and we were most fortunate to be the beneficiaries of their devotion. †

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