March 26, 2021
Over the past months, I have thought a great deal about the origins and evolution of this school community. When we first began planning for the school’s anniversary, we reached out to the community hear from our members past and present. Former staff and alumni have reached out to share different stories, from the very early days right up to the present, describing both good times and more challenging periods. Along with the stories have come photographs that capture the many moments that have come and gone over these 100 years. So many memories!
As you are aware, the theme of this 100th Anniversary Year was chosen as Rooted and Growing in our Faith Community. Although we considered other themes, in the end the choice was clear cut. The image of a tree: alive, deeply rooted, strong and yet flexible, fruitful, so suited our thinking about this school community that other ideas fell quickly to the wayside.
Our community is alive through its members, both past and present. The spirit of the community is made present through the actions of students, staff members and parents who are engaged in its mission and embrace its vision. This vision is a real presence, not simply words on a page. Often after touring the school new families will remark on the good feelings they had within the building, the spirit of welcome that is part of our charism.
Our deep roots are evident in the school’s history. From our humble beginnings on the corner of Brazier and Munroe, we have continued to grow through the last 100 years. That growth stretches across decades, including the Great Depression, two World Wars, Vatican II, the Sixties, economic ups and downs, a new millennium, and now a global pandemic. The deep roots nurtured by our early founders give us strength, allowing us to flourish and to be flexible when buffeting by the everchanging winds of the world around us, while remaining grounded in our beliefs.
And fruitful, yes fruitful! Our students have gone forward to take their place in the broader community, as leaders, professionals, artists, politicians, doctors…the list goes on and on. Alumni of our school do fulfil our mission to build community by caring for others and contributing to society in a whole host of ways. One of the more endearing aspects of this fruitfulness is when alumni return, bringing their own children and grandchildren to the school to begin the cycle again, from seed, to sapling to strong upright tree as a new generation takes root in the school community.
Through all these musings, I come away with a sense of awe and gratitude. I am amazed at a century of service to Catholic education and the community. I am filled with gratitude for all the women, men and families who have made this school such a remarkable place. And in the end, I am humbled and proud to be part of its ongoing growth.
Happy Birthday, St. Alphonsus School!
I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you together with all God’s people, may understand, how wide and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love.