Winter is here. Maybe not officially, but our clocks have been set back and the temperatures have cooled.

Winter is my least favorite season of all. I just hate being cold. I don’t like getting out of work and only having an hour of sunlight. My days feel so short and so cold. I feel tense. It’s a time of year when my inner pessimist has an opportunity to thrive, to bribe me into withdrawal because of weather and lack of sunlight.

I’ve always seen this as a bad thing, but I’m learning how to reframe it. In the Scandanavian language, they have a word “hygge” (pronounced hue-gah) which describes the feeling or moment that is particularly charming, cozy, and special. The concept alone warms my heart!

Instead of thinking of wintertime as a time when I have to stay inside and avoid the cold, I can see it as the perfect season to search for hygge, to search for the comfort and coziness of my time indoors. Steamy soups, Holiday hugs, time with family, and all of those moments when I feel the Holy Spirit moving and know God is working. I’ll know it by the feeling of warmth that it brings during this cold season. For the next month, I’m going to keep track of my hygge moments throughout my days and share them with you all in my December newsletter.

If it stirs you when you read this, I invite you to do the same and notice moments of hygge. I can even share some other lists in my next newsletter! 

Happy beginning of winter and happy hygge-ing!

Andrea Essner
Director of Ministry and Service
816-501-0011 ext. 233

November 13
New Orleans Service Trip Info Meetings
7:15 - 7:40 am, Activity 1, Activity 2, & 3:10 - 3:40 pm

November 15
Sophomore Class Mass

November 15
Stars for Life
Activity 1 & 2
Windmoor B

November 16
Retreat Core Team
Activity 1 & 2
Windmoor D

November 16
Rosary - all are welcome!
Activity 1 & 2

November 17
Junior Service Contracts Due

November 20
Thanksgiving Prayer Service

November 29
Freshman Class Mass 

December 7
Parent/Daughter Mass and Adoration
Freshman participated in Freshman Day of Service. We worked at Blue Valley Park with Healthy Rivers Partnership to plant trees, clear out invasive honeysuckle, and pick up trash. Here is a picture of our girls at work!
Our junior CSJ campers planned our St. Teresa of Avila prayer service. They shared their experience of staying in the motherhouse in St. Louis and informed us about the life of St. Teresa. To read junior Julia Kerrigan’s reflection, click here .
ATTN: Junior parents
Our juniors are currently in the process of selecting their service agency for their Junior/Senior service project . Their service contracts are due on November 17th!

Rosary with students
Ann Hodes, mother of Cecilia Hodes, will be praying a rosary with students once a month during Activity 1 and Activity 2. We have colorful rosaries for all, come on November 16th and share in some time with Mary. 

Adoration sign up
On December 7th, we will have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. We welcome all 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, 2018. For information about our program and application, click here .

March for Life
We still have 3 spots available to travel to the March for Life in Washington, DC with our Stars for Life. We will be flying out on Thursday, January 18 and returning on Saturday, January 20. The total cost of the trip is $360, which includes hotel and airfare. If your daughter is interested in attending, you can make your trip deposit here .
Spring Break: New Orleans
We will be taking a group of 20 students to New Orleans from March 10 - 17 for a weeklong service learning experience. The trip will cost $800 per students, which includes travel, lodging, and food throughout the week.

Applications for the trip will be available starting on Monday, November 13. Students can get applications at one of the trip info sessions on Monday (7:15 - 7:40 am, Activity 1, Activity 2, & 3:10 - 3:40 pm in the Chapel).

For more information about the trip, itinerary, cost, and volunteer work, click here .

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.
What: Friendships and communities grow from conversations and these same conversations can build bridges and challenge stereotypes. We provide the conversation starters and you provide the conversation. All are welcome. Drop in anytime from 4-7 pm. Food and drink provided.
When: Tuesday, November 14, from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (drop in)
Where: Johnson County Central Library

Guest Speaker: Bill Francis
What: Join us as Bill Francis speaks to the youth and parish on "Politics: remaining a faithful Catholic in a turbulent political arena."
When: Sunday, November 19, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: Good Shepherd Parish Hall, 18601 N US Hwy 169, Smithville, MO

What: As part of Avila’s Contemporary Spirituality Series, Sharon and David Hoover will present a one-act monologue of Dorothy Day and one-act reader’s style theatre style plays on Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, and St. Francis of Assisi.
When: Friday, December 8, from 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Where: Avila University’s Orscheln Chapel
Second Saturday Work Day at Cherith Brooks Catholic Worker
What: Sorting food donations and gardening
When: Saturday, November 11, from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Where: 3308 E 12th Street
RSVP via email to

What: Distributing clothing and turkey to families in need.
When: Saturday, November 18, from 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Where: 3510 Prospect Avenue
Jewish Family Services Food Pantry
Food pantry workers
What: shop with clients, sort donations, and help with inventory
When: 2nd Tuesday of the month from 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Where: 5801 W. 115 th St., Overland Park, KS 66210
Food pantry deliveries
What: pick up boxes of food and deliver to clients (volunteers under 18 must have parent accompaniment)
When: 3rd Sunday of every month between 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Where: 5801 W. 115 th St., Overland Park, KS 66210
To sign up, e-mail Vicki Johansen at .
Recycling with Bridging the Gap
When: Saturdays, morning shift 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. or afternoon shift 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Where: Metro North Recycling Center, 8740 N. Summit, Kansas City, MO 64155
To register, e-mail .

Mission Hills Country Club
What: Reading with young children
Where: 5400 Mission Drive, Mission Hills, KS 66208
To learn more, e-mail Bailey Hensley at .

After school and weekend babysitting job
A local family is looking for an STA student to carpool their middle school aged children. You do need to be able to drive. Contact Mary Morris if interested: 816-225-2906.