Friday, August 17, 2018

Evening Sky

... poetry by Carmel Cronin '41 from the Elizabethan of 1940.

A (Short) History of Saint Elizabeth's High School

... an excerpt from the Thuringian / Elizabethan Saint Elizabeth's High School 1929 yearbook.  

Redlining the Fruitvale Neighbourhood of Oakland

Cristo Rey De La Salle High School is located within the Fruitvale neighbourhood. This article gives an excellent overview of how the redlining affected this community.

An excerpt from the article: "In the 1930s, as the country was recovering from the Great Depression, the federal government wanted to encourage homeownership in cities that had suffered from waves of foreclosures. So it established the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC), to refinance mortgages at risk of default. As part of that effort, HOLC created maps of cities, to identify which neighborhoods were good investments and which were bad investments.

HOLC assigned each neighborhood a grade, according to the "favorable" and "detrimental" influences in the neighborhood. The presence of minority communities was among the so-called detrimental influences. Take Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood, for instance. A 1937 HOLC map of the area indicated these so-called detrimental influences: "Odors from industries. Predominance of foreign inhabitants. Infiltration of Negroes and Orientals.

Fruitvale and other neighborhoods given low grades were colored red on the maps, which spawned the term "redlining."

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Bishop Barber's Blessing

One of the people who dreamed our school into reality is the shepherd of the Diocese of Oakland Bishop Michael Barber, SJ.  He took the time to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (which also coincided with our first official academic day) in neighbouring Saint Elizabeth's Parish and walked over with the students for a ribbon cutting ceremony and blessing of the school.  Here's the text of his blessing:

God of all creation,
In your kindness hear our prayers.
We dedicate this building to the
human and Christian education of the young people
You have kindly entrusted to our care.
May it become a center where young women and men
become leaders of faith, purpose, and service
to build your Holy Kingdom here on Earth.
May the relationships developed here
Be a sign of Your Love and may it
Be a catalyst to transform lives.
We ask this prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

May the all-knowing God, who is Lord,
Show us God’s ways;
May Christ, eternal Wisdom,
Teach us the words of truth;
May the Holy Spirit, the blessed light,
Always enlighten our minds,
So that we may learn what is right and good
And in our actions carry out what we have learned.

And may the blessing of almighty God,
The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
Come upon you and remain with you forever.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Merton Prayer

O Lord, my God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this,
You will lead me by the right path
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore, I will trust you always
for you are ever with me and will never leave me.

-- Thomas Merton, OSCO

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

To Really See Someone

To 'really see' someone, especially someone who looks up to you, is to give that person an important blessing.  In a gaze of recognition, of understanding, in an appreciative look, there is deep blessing.  Often it is not so important that we say much to those for whom we are significant, but it is very important that we see them.  

Good parent see their kids; good teachers see their students; good coaches see their players; good administrators see their faculty and staff.  We are all blessed by being seen.

Today, the young are not being seen enough in this way.  Our youth are acting out in all kinds of ways as a means of getting our attention.  They want to and need to be seen by us -- parents, adults, teachers, coaches, administrators.  They need our blessing.  They need to see right in our eyes, the radical unconditional acceptance of their reality.  Young people need our appreciative gaze; most simply they need our gaze - period.

One of the deepest hungers inside young people is the hunger for adult connection, the desire to be recognized, seen, by a significant adult.  They desperately need, and badly want, the blessing that comes from our gaze and presence.  They need for us to see them.  In the end, more than they want our words, they want our gaze ...

-- Ron Rohlheiser, OMI

Monday, July 16, 2018

On Authenticity

In the first half of adolescence, the task is to fashion a personality — a way of belonging to the human community — one that is both authentic and socially acceptable. This is much easier said than done, especially in our current egocentric, aggressively competitive, materialistic societies. But this accomplishment lays the foundation for all later maturation. 

Becoming authentic means to know who you really are — to know where you stand, what you value, what you desire, what you tolerate and what you don’t — and to be able and willing to act accordingly, most of the time, despite the social risks. Under the best circumstances, this takes several years to accomplish. In the contemporary world, many never succeed. 

But what makes early adolescence even more challenging is the second half of the task in this stage, namely, attaining social acceptability. To be a healthy adolescent, you need to belong to a real community. So the way in which you express your authenticity means everything. You must learn how to be true to yourself in a way that at least some of your peers embrace. 

-- Bill Plotkin