Problem Class

Problem Class

Nearly three years ago, one of my students approached me and, looking me in the eye, stated,  “we are the problem class.” The sort of class that, at least, gives teachers gray hair, if they don’t drive them out of the classroom entirely.  A little taken aback, I pondered what this statement meant.  I decided it was a challenge.  

Challenge accepted.  However, the challenge wasn’t to solve the problem but to prove there wasn’t a problem in the first place.  The danger, as I saw it, of accepting this label of the problem class, was that it means, or risks meaning, “we’re not _____ enough”: (insert) good, smart, quiet, strong, attentive, obedient, responsible – you get the idea.

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Remembering Bishop Matthias Schmidt • 1931-1992

Remembering Bishop Matthias Schmidt • 1931-1992

Bill Schmidt, later Matthias, Matt, or Oscar, saw the light of day in Nortonville, Kan., April 21, 1931.  He was the youngest of two brothers and a sister.  His father died in 1932.  His mother, Anna, moved to Atchison where the Atchison Daily Globe employed her for many years.  Oscar attended the local Catholic schools, graduated from Maur Hill in 1949, became a Hilltopper that same year and received the Benedictine habit March 12, 1951.  His was the last class of Hilltoppers to have what is called “the devotional reception” of the habit.  He and his class entered the novitiate June 28, 1951, made simple profession July 1, 1952, solemn vows July 11, 1955.  A class of five took ordination May 30, 1957.  He finished theological studies the following year, groomed for the study of biology he went to Wood’s Hole, Mass., for summer school.  He returned to be prefect of theHilltoppers and teacher of biology.  He also taught religion at the Mount Academy and once gave a retreat for Lay Brothers at Holy Cross Abbey.

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Keeping Death Daily Before Your Eyes

Keeping Death Daily Before Your Eyes

This weekend, there are many puzzle pieces to consider: first, we said goodbye to many students as they graduated. Second, another puzzle piece is that of 100th anniversary of apparitions at Fatima, which occurred yesterday. Third, today is Mother’s Day. Fourth, our readings this weekend speak very much on vocations to priesthood and religious/consecrated life. And there are probably many more puzzle pieces that I’m missing.

The thing that unites all these puzzle pieces is obviously … death! Now I can hear the objections: what a morbid a topic to discuss on such a celebratory weekend! But really, it’s not morbid. How often we describe funerals as “celebrations of life.” And our Gospel reading is one that is frequently used at funerals. If we think death is morbid and perhaps a verboten topic for such an occasion, then I daresay we really don’t understand death and definitely don’t understand the consequences of the Resurrection. We have not really obtained and practiced the virtue of Hope

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