May 13, 2019
“Gentle woman, quiet light, morning star, so strong and bright,
Gentle Mother, peaceful dove, teach us wisdom; teach us love.”
“Hail Mary: Gentle Woman” written by Carey Landry, published by OCP, 1975

Dear Parents and Friends of St. Michael’s School,

Holy Mother of God, Holy Virgin of Virgins, Mother of the Church, Mother of Divine Grace, Mother of Good Counsel, Virgin Most Merciful, Mirror of Justice, Seat of Wisdom, Mystical Rose, Immaculate Conception, Queen of Angels – these are just some of the numerous titles the Church has bestowed on Mary, and in this month of May, we especially turn our hearts and prayers to the Mother of Christ, who is our Heavenly Mother as well. Of all Mary’s wonderful attributes, the adjective that resonates most with me is “gentle.” Being gentle, however, does not mean being a pushover. Mary was strong, determined, and unflappable, but she was able to face her adversaries with kindness and compassion.

Catholic or Protestant, religious or secular, it would bode well for all of us to turn to Mary as an example in our daily lives. Despite the fact that the world around us seems to thrive in vitriol and hyperbole, these theatrical charades come at a cost to society at large. Children (and likewise many adults) cannot filter the negative messages from music, movies, and politics, and these messages bleed over into the conversations in our homes and schools. While it seems as if we are fighting an uphill battle, it is one that must be engaged – we cannot sit on the sidelines and accept that this is the new normal.

In our classrooms and in our homes, we must continue to remind our young boys and girls how to engage in dialogue with other people who may hold an opposing opinion, or who happen to differ in race, ethnicity, or gender. Our youngsters receive strong signals from the world around them that negative comments are acceptable – even worthy; our children repeat language they hear but do not understand, and oftentimes they do not appreciate the historical context behind the insults. Put-downs, intimidation, labeling, and/or vulgarity, even if someone is “just joking” cannot be tolerated. It is up to us to teach and model tolerance and patience, and help children appreciate and respect diversity. With Mary’s help, we all need to work together to cultivate a better tomorrow. 
In Mission,