Bottom Row: Ella McHale, Regina Pessemier, Anna Merrick, Anna Dillman
Top Row: Catherine (S. Mary Clare) Reilly, Eulalia Erbacher (S. Mary John),
Ramona (S. Rose Agnes) Nadeau
After you read her address, it will not surprise you to learn that she served as a music teacher. Her comments focus not on worldly success, but rather on the obligation to make our life-songs as sweet as possible. Gratitude also radiates from her words, as she thanks all who contributed to her education.
Sister Mary John died prematurely in 1954, after only sixteen years of religious life. Recalling her life in community, an anonymous Sister of Charity of Leavenworth compared her to Saint Aloysius – she “lived a long life in a short space.”
Our lives are songs, God writes the words
And we set them to music at pleasure;
And the song grows glad or sweet or sad,
As we choose to fashion the meter.
If it is sad, we must make it glad;
If it is sweet, we must make it sweeter.
We have mastered the universal laws of composition framed and promulgated by One Divine Artist, and now it remains for us to apply them.
Well we know that this application will be the supreme test of our ability. Hence, we are resolved that the composition of our songs shall not be less than perfect. Their beauty shall be unmarred by the harsh incongruity of untimely notes. They will be songs of the soul mingling both major and minor strains into one sublime melody. They will be the masterpieces in themselves.
Cherished Alma Mater – You have always proven so zealous for our good that tonight we cannot leave without attempting to express the gratitude that fills our hearts. Accept our final pledge of loyalty and breathe one last fond word of counsel. She speaks: “Behold a Cross looms in the distance; on it hangs a Human Form. God Himself has lived and died to teach you how to follow Him. In her who stands beneath it see your chosen Queen, the vast world’s truest type of strong and noble womanhood – Mary Immaculate! God’s Masterpiece. Her life, His sweetest, grandest song! These are your ideals. Be true to them and fear nothing.”
Reverend and dear Pastor – Words are always weak and tonight the most extravagant terms of gratitude cannot fully express our sincere appreciation for the kind, fatherly assistance you have shown us during the ears spent as our Director. May Heaven bless your noble and unselfish efforts in our behalf! May bounteous harvests prove the zeal of your labors in God’s Vineyard! Farewell, dear Father. Our faithfulness will be a small pittance for your paternal guidance.
Dear Sisters – Farewell. Your constant teaching that we were made for higher things will form the theme of our life’s song and our adherence to the lofty principles you have inculcated will, we trust, distinguish us as worthy examples of your care and guidance.
And if gratitude is due to any surely, dear Parents, it is to you. Therefore we welcome this Commencement as an opportune time for publicly expressing something of what we feel towards father and mother. Great have been your love and sacrifices; unselfish the interest in our every undertaking, yet only time, perhaps eternity, will permit us to comprehend them fully. To you, next to God, we owe the priceless gift of Faith. We are indebted to you for the advantages of a Catholic education and for the other singular blessings which our little city affords. God bless you and may He spare you to see in us the fulfillment of your fond expectations!
Beloved Classmates – Tonight duty severs the links of companionship that have hitherto bound us closely together. Seven songs our lives must be, each distinct from the others but yet in perfect harmony with them. Their changeful melodies we must write with “rarest pearls of words and deeds” upon the staff of our existence and each note thereof must be skillfully selected if we would have our sings deserve the “Imprimatur” of the Divine Artist. Ah – should they be other than sublime melodies that delight in the Master Ear of the Creator? Farewell, best companions, and Godspeed to each!
Farewell, loved Alma Mater, Dear Reverend Father, Sisters, companions – all, Farewell.