We are now fully into the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year - resuming in-school instruction beginning on January 11. What a blessing!
Yet, we recognize that we are quickly approaching the one year mark of this horrific global pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 2 million people throughout the world and approaching 400,000 of our fellow citizens - including our alumni and our friends who faithfully served the CJ mission. All of us have been touched by sadness and loss - and all of us will emerge from this time of darkness changed by the experience.
During this difficult time, we have been inspired by the example of our founders, St Julie Billiart and Blessed Chaminade, who faced their own times of darkness and a quarantine of sorts - St. Julie experienced paralysis for 22 years before a miraculous recovery; Blessed Chaminade experienced years of hiding and exile before returning home to a devastated France. Each of them found the light ahead in their times of struggle and darkness - strength that allowed them to found their religious communities more than 200 years ago - brothers, sisters, and priests who continue today to serve God’s people throughout the world and all of us right here at Chaminade Julienne.
Perhaps all of us, like Blessed Chaminade and St. Julie, are being fortified to continue their work of making God’s goodness known in all places - and forming communities of faith in our families, our workplaces, our schools, and our churches - communities that can find new ways, new methods to serve all of God’s children.
We find the light ahead in the presence of our students, teachers, and staff members on campus every day - learning together, being together, united together in a school year like none of us have ever experienced. Even as we face uncertainty about the length of this pandemic and the challenges in our country, we have strived to create some level of consistency and certainty as we began the second semester:
- We continue to enhance and reinforce our health and safety measures - striving every day to create a reassuring environment for our students, their parents, and the adults who support their learning.
- We work together as a community - exchanging ideas, perspectives, experiences, and expertise offered by parents, students, teachers, staff members, health officials, and trusted volunteers - reinforcing our mission to respect all viewpoints and collaborate toward the greater good.
- We pray for each other - asking for the Lords blessing and being present with and for one another as we struggle with the burdens each of us is bearing.
- We continue to adapt and change. We are now live streaming our classes every day to those students who are learning from home, thus developing new ways to interact so we can minimize the impact that physical distance has on our ability to form community, inspire creativity, and foster connections and collaboration between students and their teachers.
And even as we address the here and now, this moment in time, we continue to think about the future - to move boldly forward in faith - faith in our mission, faith in the enduring support and encouragement of the Chaminade Julienne community.
In October, our Board of Trustees drafted the latest update of our strategic financial plan, laying out a strong vision for the school’s future. The plan’s focus on supporting teachers, enhancing Catholic identity, strengthening inclusion and equity, and continuing campus development will be further refined in the months ahead. This plan allows us to emerge from this time of darkness with great momentum for the future, forged by fire with the understanding that our mission to develop young women and men of compassion, integrity, and service is even more necessary, even more essential to our nation and our Church than ever before.
For me, and I think for others, there is a renewed reliance on God, our Father and our Creator, who made us as His children. The baptism of Jesus, which ended the Christmas season, as proclaimed in the gospel of Mark, chapter 1, verse 11, “ . . . a voice came from the heavens, ‘you are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’” We are called, as members of the Church, the body of Christ, to accept our birthright, to respond to God, to each other, and to our times in accord with our baptism as His daughters and sons. For God to be “well-pleased” in me, I know that I need to rely on Him and His Spirit for guidance. For in Him I find refuge; in Him I find strength.
To all of you, I thank you on behalf of our teachers and staff members, students and parents. Your support encourages us; your prayers sustain us; your celebration of our mission emboldens us to advance into the future with confidence. United Together, we are Chaminade Julienne. And United Together, we can show others the light ahead - be the light of the world, so that others may see our good deeds and glorify our heavenly Father.
And, may the good God bless you in great abundance.
Dan Meixner '84, CJ president