A priest remembers the sisters who taught him

(Published March 20, 2009)
By Father James F. Hoover

Oh, how I remember with joy the summers of my youth especially the time of anticipation of August 15 each year. That was the date when we discovered which Sister would be teaching us for the year. Who would it be? Would we know her? Would she know us?

This anticipation started on the last day of school at St. Xavier’s School in Junction City. As soon as the Sisters left for the summer, the men would repair or remodel items in the convent. The women would clean the convent during the summer. Maybe the reason I remember this so well is that my Mother was one of the organizers as she had spent a few years living with the Sisters in the convent when she attended the elementary school. Of course, all of us children were eager to come in and help.

Each August day was spent in wondering as we brought in the supplies of food, canned goods, cleaning supplies and all of the other necessities for the Sisters for the next year.

I remember how August 15 would dawn and we worked fast in order to be in town by 3:00 pm to wait for the Sisters to arrive. All of the Mothers brought food for the big pot-luck dinner. We even posted scouts two blocks away from the convent to watch for the Sisters and by hand signals, we were ready for them.

Finally, here they came. We would dash to the windows of the cars looking for any familiar faces. We would scream in excitement. Then, it was time to haul the Sisters’ stuff up to their individual rooms. Now we were able to eat. The rest of the evening was spent in visiting in small groups. The Sisters just seemed to fit in with our families and even non-Catholics would join us to talk and listen to the Sisters.

It was at these times when I realized what the Sisters meant to us and our whole town. It is their presence and service in the town that told us God is here. It is their love for us and our love for them, which made us one family.

No wonder they loved and remembered us. No wonder they would inspire parents to name children after them.