Last month I confessed to you all that I really dislike winter. That’s still true. But I’ve had so much fun searching for moments of hygge throughout the past month of cold! In the Scandinavian language, the word “hygge” (pronounced hue-gah) describes a feeling or moment that is particularly charming, cozy, and special.

Here are my collection of hygge moments from this month:
  • I got engaged back in October and when I was home in St. Louis for Thanksgiving, I tried on my mom’s wedding dress. Now, this dress is spectacularly 80’s with a lace turtleneck, lace sleeves, lace bonnet, and layers of lace on the skirt. I did not say “yes to the dress;” however, as I tried on the dress, we laughed about the style and my mom shared memories about wearing the dress on her wedding day.

  • My friends from high school came into town for a visit at the beginning of December. One of my girlfriends is a mom of two and brought her 5-month-old daughter with her. Sweet baby Julia Rose gifted us with so many smiles and snuggles!

  • “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 40: 1-2) These were the opening words to Sunday’s first reading. We hear just how tender and gentle God is towards us. As we wait for Jesus in Advent, God consoles those who hurt, those who suffer. This particular verse always impacts me deeply. When I was a senior in college, my dear friend’s mom passed away suddenly on the day that this reading was read at Mass. It was also the first reading at her funeral. In times of sorrow and transition, God is there to hold us, to give us comfort. I always feel a warmth in my soul when I remember that.

  • I threw out the idea to students of going to 6:45 a.m. Mass at Visitation this past week and, lo and behold, students showed up! At 6:45 a.m., Tuesday morning, end of the semester, 30 degrees. It was beautiful to share Mass with them when the odds appeared to be stacked against us.

  • We have an amazing staff at STA. On Tuesday, I overheard Steve Perry (music and vocal teacher) giving the Advanced Choir a pep-talk before their Christmas concert. He spoke to them on both a personal and spiritual level. He reminded students that there is no joy in complaining, the present moment is our truest gift, and we can’t be a team without compassion for one another. I was absolutely touched and honored to overhear the profound way that he encouraged the Choir. The Spirit moves in and through all of us.

I wish you all a Spirit-filled Holiday Season! I hope that you enjoy your time with family and friends, and that you find yourself in gratitude for your own hygge moments. Take a step back and marvel at the beauty when you find it.


Andrea Essner
Director of Ministry and Service
816-501-0011 ext. 233
Have I left enough space in the busy holiday season to pay attention, to listen, to wait, and to be surprised?

December 25

January 1
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 3
Students return to STA

January 2 - 5

Tuesday, January 9
6:45 a.m. Mass at Visitation

Thursday, January 11
7:10 a.m. Parent/Daughter Mass
8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Adoration

Monday, January 15 (MLK Day)
Praise Band Retreat

Tuesday, January 16
6:45 a.m. Mass at Visitation

Wednesday, January 17
Junior Class Mass

Wednesday, January 17
Activity 1 & 2 (11:20 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.)
March for Life Pilgrim Send-Off

January 18 - 20
March for Life

Tuesday, January 23
6:45 a.m. Mass at Visitation

Wednesday, January 24
Sophomore Class Mass

January 28 - February 2
Catholic Schools Week (more details to come in Jan/Feb newsletter)
From January 18-20, Meredith Snyder (previous Campus Minister) and I will be traveling to Washington DC with 22 girls from St. Teresa’s Academy. Please join me in praying for these young women as they prepare for this pilgrimage.

We will have a prayer service send off for these girls on Wednesday, January 17th during Activity 1 & 2 (11:20 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.) in the Chapel. All are welcome!
Spring Break: New Orleans
Trip full

Summer Break: Jerusalem Farm
Mark you calendars! From June 3 - 9, we will be joining the volunteers at Jerusalem Farm for an immersive service week in Kansas City. Applications for this trip will be available in January/February newsletter.
Adoration Sign Up
On January 11th, we will have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. We welcome students, faculty/staff, and parents to come to the St. Joseph’s Chapel and spend time with Jesus. If you would like to sign up as an adorer for an hour, click here .

Presidential Volunteer Service Award
Applications for the Presidential Service Award are due March 1. For information about our program and application, click here .

Tuesday Morning Masses at Visitation
Students and teachers have been asking me about having optional daily or weekly Masses on campus. It's not something that can happen right away, but I am looking into it. In the meantime, I'd like to invite students, parents, and faculty/staff to attend 6:45 a.m. Mass on Tuesdays at Visitation. We can begin the day in prayer together there! We will be back on campus by 7:15/7:20 a.m.

Spots are available for the May retreat only at this time. Here is the link to register.

Students can still list March as their first option, but it already has a 5-person waitlist. Should a student prefer March, she will be given a May spot and be added to the waitlist for March.
Mother Evelyn O’Neill Award
Every year, we honor the legacy of Mother Evelyn O’Neill by awarding a student with the Mother Evelyn O’Neill Award for outstanding service and leadership.

Mother Evelyn was a stalwart champion of St. Teresa's Academy, serving as an educator and Superior on a professional level, while also acting as unofficial accountant, attorney, real estate agent and botanist for her beloved Academy. Her steadfast faith in divine providence guided her as she orchestrated the complicated relocation from Quality Hill to STA's current campus.

Students have the opportunity to nominate themselves or other students who are active volunteers and leaders in our community. Encourage your daughter to self-nominate or nominate a friend here. Deadline for form submissions is January 18.
Kansas City Interfaith Youth Alliance (KCIYA)
Since September, I have had an ongoing conversation with KCIYA. KCIYA seeks to change the conversation about religion by empowering youth of all backgrounds and faiths to come together. Their mission aligns with the mission of our founding Sisters of St. Joseph to work “to achieve unity both of neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God.”

We will be partnering with KCIYA throughout second semester to offer students of all faith backgrounds opportunities to share in conversations with peers and to serve our greater K.C. community together.
Students can join in the following activities with KCIYA in January:
January 13 - 15
Interfaith Retreat at Jerusalem Farm
For questions and registration, e-mail Clare Stern (KCIYA Executive Director).

January 30
Coffee & Conversation with Clare Stern
Location: Ms. Essner’s Office (M&A 210)
No sign up necessary; students can stop in during any free!
Make a Ripple Scholarship (Seniors only)
One act of kindness can start the ripple to change the world. Complete a project of kindness and write an essay about how your project(s) had a positive impact in your community. Click here for scholarship details and essay prompt. Scholarship deadline is March 2, 2018.

Songwriting Competition: Faith, Love & Song
The Faith, Love & Song competition was created to reward songwriters, 14 – 21 years of age, for songs composed with lyrics that inspire us to be accepting of others regardless of racial, religious or cultural differences. The winner of the competition will receive a $3,000 scholarship. Second place will receive $2,000, and $1,000 for third place. The competition hopes to promote understanding and acceptance through music. Deadline for song submissions is February 9, 2018.
For questions, click here or contact
Recycling Volunteers, Post-Holiday Extra Help Needed!
Saturday, December 30 @ 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. or 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Metro North Recycling Center, 8740 N. Summit , Kansas City, MO 64155
All volunteers must register in advance.To sign up, call or text Amy Smith at 816-561-1062 or email .

Serving Lunch with NourishKC (formerly Kansas City Community Kitchen)
Click here to learn more.

A Brookside women's group is looking for 1-2 regular babysitters
Saturday mornings from 8:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
Country Club Congregation, 205 W 65th St., Kansas City, MO 64113
Sign up for open spots here . Contact Andrea McMillin 816-519-1484 for additional information .