We at St. James are blessed to have the School Sisters of Christ the King. While the majority of the sisters come to complete their studies at Benedictine College, one or two of them is active in our school, especially in preparing our second graders to receive the sacrament of confessions and first Holy Communion. Their presence and prayers are such a blessing to us and make us unique, not only among the other Catholic schools in St. Joseph, but also throughout the whole diocese.
Praise God, the Sisters are experiencing more and more young women who are heeding the call to follow Christ in that teaching vocation with them. This past year, five sisters resided at St. James. In the next year, there will again be five sisters in the fall and probably seven in the spring.
This increase in numbers is a great sign of life and hope in the Church as a whole and for our parish and school. But it does present the problem of where to house seven nuns! Last year, housing the five sisters, space was already cramped, with one sister having to sleep in a closet!
After consultation with various contractors, we have determined that an expansion of the current house is not financially wise, becoming more complicated with the issues and limited space of the lot. Fortunately, St. James has a building that was built to house nuns: the old convent. In terms of space, layout, and work required, moving sisters back into the old convent has proved to be the most practical and financially sound solution.
Therefore, with the beginning of school next year in August, the preschool will be relocated to the main school building. This allows for the dedication of that space of the old convent to the Sisters, but also addresses safety issues that resulted from the separation of the main school and the preschool. This means that there will no longer be a communication gap between the main school and the preschool and that the visitors to the preschool will be subject to the same policies and monitoring as the main school. We want to maintain the safest environment for our students, but most especially for our youngest. This move greatly increases that safety.
The move also speeds up the implementation of a technology upgrade plan, which moves us away from a dedicated computer ‘lab’ to a mobile solution that can be deployed in the classroom itself via laptop computers. This helps us to use the space in the building more efficiently.
This is an exciting time for us. This change will be a lot of work, but strikes to heart of what is so unique and truly awesome about St. James. I ask your continued prayers and support as we take this historic step in welcoming seven sisters onto our campus.
Rev. Evan Patrick Harkins