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BVMs and Students Share Stories about Creatures, Creation, and Legislation

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary recently met virtually with high school and college students to connect, have fun, and learn from each other.

Reptiles, Clarke RAs, Sisters, Oh My!!

It wasn’t spooky but it might have been a little scary for some when guest speaker Michael McAllister shared his passion for and love of reptiles with BVMs and Dubuque, Iowa, Clarke University Resident Advisors (RAs) Prayer Partners Oct. 25.

Michael is the son of Associate Lori Ritz, director of the Office of BVM Life and Mission.

He introduced several of his “friends:” Monty, a green tree python; Gucci, a young sulcata tortoise; a hog-nosed snake named Sausage; and Aurora, a blue-tongue skink, to name a few. Lori was privileged to put Neville, a carpet python, around her neck.

The presentation was filled with many fun facts and a variety of facial expressions, followed by interesting conversations in breakout rooms.

Prayer Partners also shared an autumn prayer and Halloween treats to celebrate the season.


Environmental Awareness Shared With Carmel Catholic Students

Students in the Environment Afterschool Club of Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Ill., met with sisters across the country to share insights into preserving the environment.

BVMs Bette Gambonini, Vicki Smurlo, Julie O’Neill, and Pat Bombard shared the various ways they care for the environment through simple, everyday practices.

When asked how faith and saving the environment are connected, Vicki responded, “We have a commitment to be good stewards of this gift God has given us—to save this Earth and protect it.”

Students were inspired and encouraged by the discussion.

“A major takeaway I gained was that every step taken to do better for yourself and the environment is important,” states junior Emma Baynes. ”The small things count, and good actions create good habits.”

Legislation for the Common Good

Carmel Catholic students also heard from BVM Rose Mary Meyer, who shared her experiences with advocating for legislation.

“We learned from Sister Rose Mary that the advocates in Springfield [Ill.] have a great responsibility to stay informed of the issues they are most passionate about and that they facilitate dialog between the elected officials and their constituents,” says Jeff Ptacek, theology department chair and facilitator of the Carmel Catholic YMCA Youth and Government Delegation.

Rose Mary recently retired as director of Project Irene (Illinois Religious Engaging in Nonviolent Endeavors), a collective voice that seeks justice.

“Sister Rose Mary noted how it is the newest generation of Illinois politicians that are breathing new life into the issues Illinois is facing by sharing their experiences and establishing new caucuses,” Jeff says.

Students are practicing those skills. “The Carmel Catholic delegation is as strong as it has ever been with 31 delegates representing the beauty of the Catholic Social Doctrine to the Illinois Youth Legislature,” Jeff says.

Thank you, sisters, for continuing to share your life and mission through your presence, especially to our youth.

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