Sister Tina Geiger, RSM, and her ministry partner at Catholic Rural Ministries, Erie Benedictine Sister Marian Wehler, began Catholic Schools Week having lunch with students and family members at St. Stephen's in Oil City, preschool through sixth grade grade. They enjoyed lively conversation at the lunch tables and visited classrooms.
At Immaculate Conception School in Clarion (K-third grade) they began by sharing the Old Testament story of the call of Samuel who learned to pray by listening (1 Sam. 3) Sister Marian told the story and then let the students in a guided meditation "Speak Lord, I am Listening." The children responded beautifully to time for quiet reflection. Principal Lori Cratty participated, commenting on how the guided meditation helped her spiritually as she resolved a question she brought to her prayer.
A similar presentation was offered to older students, grades four to six. They also chose a medal or prayer to St. Jude, one of the apostles, believed to be a cousin of Jesus, to take home. "St. Jude can help us pray to Jesus for sick people and problems that worry them," said one student.
At St. Joseph School in Lucinda with preschool students, then K-first grade, second and third grades, and fourth to sixth grades), the sisters gave four different presentations that included walking and singing "Walk in the Light, " a song by Carey Landry and Carol Jean Kinghorn. They offered more guided meditations and invited conversations with the students.
Because the older students knew the sisters from previous visits and presentations, Sisters Marian and Tina gave them time to write questions that they could then ask the two sisters. The questions included queries about their lives as sisters. One was about their favorite part of being sisters. Sister Tina answered that it is helping people and teaching the Gospel in Bible Studies. Sister Marian said, "There are many favorite parts but today, it's visiting students, like you." Sister Tina agreed that she sees much joy in Sister Marian when they go to schools and faith formation groups. Other topics of interest were where the sisters live and how they pray, the most exciting thing they ever did together, and where else they visit other students. The teachers were pleased with how attentively the students listened to the sisters' answers and stories.
Fr. Mike, pastor, and Fr. Pius surprised everyone with a visit and Fr. Pius blessed the St. Jude medals that the students had received.