A Closing Message from the Little Flower President, Jeane McNamara

Dear Little Flower Community,
 
In the days following the end of this most unusual school year, and as we moved back into Little Flower to start to put the pieces back together to ready ourselves for what is likely to be an unusual school opening, I came across a book in my personal library called The Daily Book of Positive Quotations and this one jumped out at me:
 
“A helping word to one in trouble is often like a switch in a railroad track…an inch between a wreck and smooth, rolling prosperity.” – Henry Ward Beecher
 
Beecher was an ardent abolitionist, from a family of widely known anti-slavery activists, including his sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who rose to worldwide prominence in the mid 19th Century with her landmark anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Beecher was by trade a Presbyterian minister who bridged the Calvinist origins of the faith to what became known as the Congregationalist ‘new school’ of Presbyterianism which advanced the concept of God’s enduring love over the longstanding Calvinist ideal of predestination, or to say that only certain individuals were worthy of God’s love and redemption.  
 
I cannot help but be inspired by this simple but profound message, in that the simplicity of a helpful word can go a long way toward healing.  Our world, our country, our city, and most of all, our Little Flower community, finds itself battered and bruised right now and in need of healing, mending, and strengthening.  Here are my petitions of prayer for healing:
 
For our students, especially our Class of 2020 graduates and their families who need to mend from the loss of the traditional end of high school major events and instead filedl in with new traditions, like our diploma distribution, and planned summer events as the guidelines dictate.  As they look forward toward their bright futures ahead, may they come to realize that Little Flower was always there and will always be there to support them.
 
For our teachers, staff and administrators, who worked tirelessly to make sure that our students had continuity of instruction and experiences.  May they get the much deserved break, rest and rejuvenation they need in preparation for the challenges and opportunities that our fall opening of school will present.  We pray especially for Sr. Kathleen Klarich, RSM, Mrs. Kay Meng, and Mr. Tom Emore, who move to the retirement phase of their work lives, that their days will be filled with meaningful opportunities to embrace each moment.
 
For our legendary Little Flower Alumnae and Board of Directors, who stood with the school shoulder to shoulder to ensure that we had all the resources that we needed to provide continuity of instruction as well as ample financial support to make sure all students hungry for a Little Flower education would be assured that privilege.  May their love of Little Flower plant the seed of paying it forward that has made the difference for thousands of young women to enjoy the gift of a Little Flower education.
 
For our wider Hunting Park community and partners, who have experienced a disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 effects, including a higher incidence of illness and impact from the economic downturn.  May we continue to be the beacon of hope for a neighborhood that needs an anchor and an inspiration.
 
For our students of Color, who have long needed an outlet for their voices to be heard, especially in the wake of the tragic and far too frequent events that dot our nation’s map with a trail of racism, bias, misunderstanding, and miscommunication.  May our first steps with peer-led town hall meetings put our students’ needs at the forefront of promoting better communication, providing outlets for positive discourse and paving a true path for Sisterhood to thrive continue to live out not just word but in action.
 
For our new student leaders, the first majority minority student leadership in Little Flower’s history.  May they be graced with the maturity and wisdom to carry the responsibility of leadership, especially at a difficult time, and to seek the support and tools they need to make sure they can fulfill the mission for which they have been tasked.
 
The artist Vincent Van Gogh said, “I am seeking.  I am striving.  I am in it with all my heart.”  I ask our Little Flower community to do what comes naturally for us, and that is to give generously and with all our hearts.  It is only together we can move forward.  I am blessed to walk these next steps together with you, among you, and for you.
 
In gratitude –

Jeane McNamara, President