Principal Anne Atkin, Bulletin, January 26 2020

Sacred Heart Families,

What does it mean to be a Catholic school? Sacred Heart School is different. We are a private school that can set our own culture, academics and policies. We are free to serve the Hudson community with obligation that does not come from the government. It comes from an obligation to serve families and to provide the best customer service to our students and parents. We use the resources from the Diocese of Lansing and our accreditation from Michigan Association of Non-public schools to stay excellent. But more importantly, we are free. Free to educate and grow the students in the teachings of Jesus. We are a virtue based school and we use the language of virtue as our discipline policy and student growth model. Our students are challenged to grow in mind, academics and Catholic faith and our parents can trust that their children are growing closer to God in the actions they see modeled by the teachers and staff at school. Bishop Boyea writes “A Catholic education is among the best gifts parents can give their children. By making a Catholic education your priority, you witness to your children that your faith is the basis on which you make decisions for their well-being, and you demonstrate that the Lord is the center of your lives and the foundation on which your home is built….Grounded in strong and obvious Catholic identity, each of our schools is committed to developing the whole person, nurturing successful students who also are faithful followers of Christ and servant leaders in their communities.” You have an excellent Catholic school available to you. Sacred Heart is solid and we are collaborating with parents and experts to continue to impress on all levels.

The following thank you note was recently written by a Diocese of Lansing principal who spent two days at Sacred Heart as part of our accreditation process. “I thank you for the Catholic school culture that is evident in every part of your school. It is clear that there is great love for God and for each other. The genuine care and support of each other is something visitors to your school feel during their time with you. In a world where that is not necessarily the norm, it’s very gratifying to sense the strong presence of Christ working in and through all of you. May God bless you as you bless others.”

Catholic Schools Week is a time to celebrate all that makes a Catholic school special. Each day next week is dedicated to a group of people who ensure the success of our school. The students will have a chance to see how blessed they are by the loyalty of these people who believe in offering an education that is centered on Christ.

Please continue to pray for us and we will continue to pray for you.

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, principal

 

Sacred Heart School

Students are balanced: confident of mind, academics and Catholic Faith.

Serving the Community. Teaching our students to live and model the Catholic faith. Reflecting the unconditional love of Jesus. Remaining structured with the purpose of graduating students who are prepared to persevere.

 

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, January 19 2020

Confidence without grace is just pride

We can only see the world through our own eyes. I can put myself in your position but I will never see the world quite the way you do. You are unique and you have your own thoughts, opinions, experiences that cannot be duplicated. It is important to think about how different we all are because something as simple as disagreements and differing opinions can lead to a deadly sin. We have to be very, very careful. “It was pride that changed angels into devils, it is humility that makes men as angels” St. Augustine. We cannot let pride get in the way of our path to God.

Pride has been called the sin in which all others arise. It is an excessive belief in one’s own abilities or one’s own opinions. The reason pride is so slippery in our spiritual growth is because living in a way that uses our gifts and strengths builds confidence. It takes courage. We are called to achieve and use our gifts to be useful and productive. How do I do important work without becoming full of myself? How do I surround myself with other people whom I do not agree with or even find dim? Here is the test. Pride lacks grace. We have to ask ourselves where Jesus is in all that we do.  I am guessing if we have to ask we already know the answer. Nowhere. Achievement should glorify God.

There are times when we need extra courage or a stronger skill set to do our job or to achieve a goal. Good old competitive spirit and confidence can get us through. Hard work does pay off. This is not only healthy but it is bound to bring us happiness as we work for something. Hard work leads to dignity and a perspective that makes us grateful to be alive; to be able to count our blessings. True greatness is Divine. But greatness without God is pride and it is sinful. St. Francis de Sales says “the proud man who trusts in himself has good reason not to attempt anything. The humble man is all the more courageous because he recognizes his own impotence. The less he esteems himself, the more daring he becomes because he places his whole trust in God.”

Achievement should be celebrated! Just remember to invite God to the party.

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, principal

 

Sacred Heart School

Students are balanced: confident of mind, academics and Catholic Faith

Serving the Community. Teaching our students to live and model the Catholic faith. Reflecting the unconditional love of Jesus. Remaining structured with the purpose of graduating students who are prepared to persevere.

 

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, January 12, 2020

Humility Gives Us Strength

Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.  -St. Augustine

Humility is the foundation for all spiritual growth. It is our willingness to build all thought based on the truth. In morning prayer, we talked about humility and how to be humble. What is humility? It is definitely not about lacking confidence or being weak. It is an obedience and reverence to proper authority. It is an understanding that we have an infinite amount to learn and we are willing to be enlightened by all that we encounter.

We have so many examples in the world, even as children, where humility is not being considered. Much of our struggle with humility comes from desire. Desire to be honored, revered, loved. We see people enjoying these things and we think happiness in not possible unless we are one of them. But most of the struggle with humility comes from our personal fears. Fear of being humiliated, forgotten, wronged, ridiculed, unloved. The fear that others will be chosen and I, left alone. The fear that others will gain esteem and I will be unimportant.

It is easier to be humble if we start with God’s unwavering love for each of us. The students are familiar with the knowledge that God has made each of them to be special and perfectly ready to be drawn back to Him. They know that the person standing next to them in prayer is as special as they are and this makes humility possible.  The reason humility is an essential building block for all growth is that humility is truth. Truthful humility gives us strength because it sets our soul firmly in God’s hands. Our worth does not come from an award or opinion; an achievement or praise. Our worth comes from the truthful actions we take every day that only God can truly see. I asked the students a very silly question. I asked how many of them tried to lie to God during prayer. Have you ever tried to persuade God to your side of the story so you could continue your lie? Of course, they looked at me like I had lost my marbles. You would never attempt to fool God in prayer because He already knows. He already knows that you have sinned and He still loves you. But when I asked if we had tried to justify our behavior by telling a friend our side of the story, they knew what I was getting at. Telling a friend our troubles can calm our emotions but it is not getting to the truth of the situation.  So, in order to be humble we must pray. Prayer gives us the truth and the dignity to handle our truth. Prayer gives us the power to develop empathy and consider other people as we grow. It is so simple and pray is the answer. God will always give the best advice.

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, principal

 

Sacred Heart School

Students are balanced: confident of mind, academics and Catholic Faith

Serving the Community. Teaching our students to live and model the Catholic faith. Reflecting the unconditional love of Jesus. Remaining structured with the purpose of graduating students who are prepared to persevere.

 

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, December 22 2019

Dear Sacred Heart Families,

This week, we had a team from the Diocese of Lansing representing Michigan Association of Non-Public schools at Sacred Heart for an on-site visit.  Every 5 years, we are evaluated on 73 benchmarks for school excellence and 2019-2020 was Sacred Heart ‘s year for a review.  During the last month, the team reviewed over 400 of our documents and they have recommended us for accreditation. They genuinely enjoyed their visit to our school and felt we were a gem in the Diocese of Lansing.  The team was very impressed with the Catholic identity and love they felt from our staff and students. Our students were complimented on their excellent behavior and kindness to each other. We are grateful to our families for raising such wonderful kids!

Our Christmas Program was really wonderful! The Church Hall was absolutely packed and we used every chair in the building. Sarah Martinez directs every part of the production and teaches the students all of the music. It was obvious from the quality of the performances that she had the students very well prepared. Thank you to her sister, Rebecca Shields, who spends many hours of her busy schedule helping Sarah. We are very blessed that these talented women lend their skills to Sacred Heart school. Thank you to all of our parents and families who practiced with their children and came to the performance.

It has been a wonderful first half of the year.  We wish all of you a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, principal

 

Sacred Heart School

Students are balanced: confident of mind, academics and Catholic Faith.

Serving the Community. Teaching our students to live and model the Catholic faith. Reflecting the unconditional love of Jesus. Remaining structured with the purpose of graduating students who are prepared to persevere.

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, December 15 2019

Sacred Heart Families,

 

The school kids are learning about the coming of Jesus at Christmas with our Jesse Tree in the hallway. In the morning, we focus on one bible story that prepares our hearts for Christmas. One of the ornaments we attach to the Jesse Tree is the Tablets of the Torah. When God gave Moses the ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai, it was a covenant for the Israelites and they are still God’s law for us today. The Ten Commandments show Catholics how to live a life of love. The first three commandments show us respect and love for God. The last seven show us how to love and respect ourselves and others. While the ten commandments show us how to live, they also show us all of the ways we can sin and our need for a savior. We cannot be out living our lives and avoid all sin. Following the commandments and living within this covenant is not possible unless we have Divine intervention. We need help.

 

That is why Jesus is the best gift you can receive at Christmas. God sent us his son so we can have an example of how to live God’s law perfectly, exactly the way God intended. Jesus came to rescue us. God knew that we could not follow the commandments alone, so he did it for us. That is why we pray to avoid or to be forgiven for sin. We have all of the help that we need to live our covenant with God. The birth of Jesus is our truth, our breath and our hope that we will be connected back to God.

 

When we trust in the work of Jesus, God sees us as perfect because we are given Christ’s perfect love. As we wait for Christmas, it is a great time to think about how hard life would be without Jesus. How lonely we would feel when we sin or when we are in despair. Jesus is our answer and our guide to true love. Jesus comes to us at Christmas and we have every reason to celebrate. Our savior is born!

 

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, principal

 

Sacred Heart School

Students are balanced: confident of mind, academics and Catholic Faith.

Serving the Community. Teaching our students to live and model the Catholic faith. Reflecting the unconditional love of Jesus. Remaining structured with the purpose of graduating students who are prepared to persevere.

 

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, December 8 2019

Advent prayers for your family

During Advent, reflection and prayer help us to maintain awareness of God’s mercy towards us. In this time of Advent, let us remember that mercy comes with love and solidarity. Prayer helps us to remember to spread God’s love as we wait for the birth of Jesus.

Prayer for the Advent Wreath God the Father, who sheds light on the world, Give us strength in this season of Advent. Prepare us to be better Christians. Let the Holy Spirit give us courage and guide us in our actions and our prayers. Lord, we ask you to make your son Jesus our example and inspiration. Let the Virgin Mary accompany us and carry us in her arms. And let the saints be our fellow travelers on the way to your mercy. We ask you for all of this with open and willing hearts. Amen

The liturgical year begins with Advent, the four weeks prior to Christmas. It is a season of preparation, waiting, and anticipation. Christmas is both a feast and a liturgical season. Each day of the Christmas season renews the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ

WEEK 1:  Light one candle and sit for a moment in silence. Christ our Light, Shine in our lives with hope and promise. Give us right vision so that we remain attentive to this holy season. Remind us to look for you in small acts of kindness and love. We await your coming with wonder. Amen.

WEEK 2:  Light two candles and sit for a moment in silence. Christ our Hope, Illuminate our hearts with your grace. Enlarge our vision so that we recognize our kinship with all of the people of the world. Help us to give to others in ways that meet their deepest needs. We await your coming with gratitude. Amen.

WEEK 3:  Light three candles and sit for a moment in silence. Christ our Joy, Brighten our homes with your presence. Clarify our vision so that we might see you in the people we cherish. Make every holiday activity an opportunity to spread your light and love. We await your coming with delight. Amen

WEEK 4:  Light four candles and sit for a moment in silence. Christ our Peace, Glow brightly in each moment. Enlighten our vision so that we see beyond the trappings of the holidays. Relieve us, if just for a moment, of our worries and stress. We await your coming with serenity.

Amen.

Anne Atkin, Principal

 

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, December 1 2019

Blessing the Family Christmas Tree

Before Christianity came to be, trees that remain green all year round warded off evil spirits and were special to people during the winter. It wasn’t until the sixteenth century in Germany that trees were brought inside and decorated. When does the Christmas tree go up in your home or parish?  Continue the tradition by gathering together and blessing this special symbol.

You may bless the tree as soon as you put it up, or you can wait until after you have decorated it. When you are ready to do the blessing, gather everyone around the tree and designate someone to lead the following prayer.  You will need water or holy water (if available) to celebrate this blessing.

Leader: Loving God, we stand before you once again. We stand here ready to celebrate the birth of your son, Jesus.

All:  Extend a hand in a gesture of blessing. Sprinkle water or holy water on the tree while praying the following prayer.

Leader: Bless this tree, this sign of life and freshness and perseverance in our midst. It stands as a reminder that you are born anew in us each day. Bless our family and friends as we celebrate this joyous season. Keep us safe in our travels, kind in our conversations, and gracious in our giving and receiving. We ask you this in confidence, because we know you love us.

All: Amen.  Join in singing a favorite Christmas carol, such as “O Christmas Tree” or “Joy to the World.”

Peace,

Anne Atkin, Principal

 

Sacred Heart School

Students are balanced: confident of mind, academics and Catholic Faith

Serving the Community. Teaching our students to live and model the Catholic faith. Reflecting the unconditional love of Jesus. Remaining structured with the purpose of graduating students who are prepared to persevere.

 

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, November 24 2019

Service to others starts with empathy

What does it mean to serve? The first sentence of the vision of Sacred Heart School is: to serve the community. The school has been serving the church and the city of Hudson for the 90 years that it has been in operation. But what does that really mean? If we serve the community, we must be able to look at who we are and who we are meant to bring comfort. Making people feel comfortable is such a beautiful way to share. In morning prayer, we have been engaging the students with ways they can serve. When we think about service, it is easy to think of the big projects like The Angel Tree or the Community Clean-up at Memorial Park. But we can serve in small ways too. The small ways we serve are hard to measure but they are the ones that develop our soul and bring comfort to our surroundings. How can we raise children to have an open heart to service? It seems like a pretty selfish world sometimes. Can we teach our children empathy? Can we teach our children to ask someone how long it took to make dinner? Or how much time they spent washing the car? They can be curious about what is involved in putting on a play at the theatre or how much thought it takes to make a delicious dessert. Empathy can start at a very young age when children are asked to think about the world around them and how it all works. The desire to relate to people and to want to spread joy begins with the understanding that God made each person beautifully special. With a mindset that it is people and hard work that make everything happen, children can gain empathy and a desire to serve. It is important to point out that people make the toys they play with and people serve us food in a restaurant. Moms and dads work tirelessly to keep the house tidy, and pay the bills. Teachers spend hours patiently teaching us. Police officers protect us, mail carriers deliver packages, priests comfort us at Mass; the opportunities to teach children about the ways people serve are endless.

This week, I asked the students to think about little ways they help. They were excited to share the things they do that help their families. It is clear that they are well on their way to spreading joy through service. I reminded them that the things they do bring comfort to their families. These acts spread joy and it is contagious. Keep up the good work!

 

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, Principal

Sacred Heart School

Students are balanced: confident of mind, academics and Catholic Faith

Serving the Community. Teaching our students to live and model the Catholic faith. Reflecting the unconditional love of Jesus. Remaining structured with the purpose of graduating students who are prepared to persevere.

 

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, November 17 2019

THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL GALA

To everyone who bought a table package, ticket or sponsored the event, Sacred Heart School is grateful! We strive to be worthy of your hard earned donations.  We know that you do not have to support the school and we are inspired to achieve a high level of excellence because you believe in us.  We appreciate the confidence you have in us to be good stewards of your donation and to use your support to bring every person associated with the school closer to Jesus.

A huge thank you to Tammy Houser for creating the program and attending to every detail. The front table team of Tammy, Carrie Town, Christie LaRussa, Judy Schutte and Nate Johnston were able to handle the details and recording of the raffle games without any disruption. Their ability to handle a fast paced raffle and seamlessly take care of all accounting is incredible.

The food for the Gala was delicious. Robert and Angela Czeiszperger have a gift for cooking amazing food on a large scale. We had so many complimentary comments and satisfied people. Your team of Michele Henning, Stacy Parker, and Lance & Jenn Tedora who worked so well together to create a magical meal.

Jen Loar and the confirmation students were excellent servers. They were professional, courteous and represented Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake well. Their parents should be proud. Thank you to Jen Loar, for the smooth delivery of hot food to all of the tables. What an amazing blessing of service your crew provided.

Thank you to the Sacred Heart Staff for supporting and volunteering. Also, to Deacon John and Kimberly Amthor for watching 25 of our children so their parents could be at the Gala. A school is only as good as the people who teach and run the day to day operations. Because of the wonderful people who see their job to be a vocation, to bring Jesus to our students, we are inspired to spread that joy to everyone we meet.

To Lynn Townsend from A Happening by L&L, and her crew, for donating the décor and dinnerware needed to transform the Church Hall into a beautiful banquet hall. Thank you!  Lynn was inspired by the historic architectural beauty of the hall and wanted to showcase the original craftsmanship. The room was comfortable and elegant.

To Sarah Martinez and Rebecca Shields for playing the violins again at the entrance of the Hall. We absolutely love the ambience created when you both play for us. Thank you!

Thank you to Father Todd and the Koenigsknecht family for their unwavering support of the Gala and for allowing us to auction a tour of the family farm every year.

A special thank you to The Posy Shop, Temperance Distillery, and Garland’s Flowers for the extra care you gave to make the Gala beautiful and special. Thank you to CR Motors, Butch’s Sports Bar, Wright’s Plumbing and Chres Reuter for working with me and giving just what we needed to bring people to the event. You are such great friends of SHS!

To all of you who gave generously during the Gala, thank you for coming and sharing your joy with us.  My heart is overflowing! May God continue to bless this event and guide our intentions.

 

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, Principal

 

Principal Anne Atkin Bulletin, November 10, 2019

Ouch! Your Words Hurt Me

Sometimes we say things we shouldn’t. We say things we don’t mean and children say things having no idea what they mean. They do not comprehend the full weight of the words on another’s soul. This week in morning prayer, we are talking about words. We can choose to say anything we want to. Words are completely generated from our own minds. For children, this is a powerful concept. Your words represent who you are. I asked the students if any of them had said something that hurt someone. Not a misunderstanding but words that were mean. Words that came out of their mouths with teeth and fire and thorns; said in anger or disrespect. Most every hand went up (they are so honest with themselves). Mine too. Saying words that are mean, happens. We are a product of our environment and the world is not particularly holy right now. “Garbage in, garbage out.” In computer science, garbage in, garbage out describes the concept that flawed, or nonsense input data produces nonsense output or “garbage”. Kids will hear nonsense as they live their lives, there is little doubt.

 

We must teach our children to speak clearly. To make eye contact, and smile as they speak. They can focus on the words they speak by looking at the expression on the other person’s face. This is a learned behavior and they can start to practice at a very young age. All of the children practiced this at morning prayer by turning toward someone and looking them in the eye. After taking a moment, give them a compliment. This was awkward at first and they were a bit tongue tied. But then they had a hard time stopping, and you could feel the joy in the hallway. Then I asked them to say “will you pray for me?” to the other person. This is how we can train our minds to be conscious of the things we say and to look people in the eye so we can see the effect of our words on their soul. We should use our words to bring people closer to the kingdom of God.

 

But we all agreed that we might say mean things. Even still. So we heal our heart by confessing them. We should ask for forgiveness and feel God’s mercy as we face another day with a mindful purpose of being a light of Christ.

 

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, principal

 

Ephesians 4:28 “Let no evil come out of our mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.”