I had more fun today! I was asked to sit on a panel with 5 other women and talk about traditions of our high school years. We were from different times, graduating from 1960 to 2002. We shared memories with the high school girls and their teachers and administrators. I sat next to Sr. Helen Marie who graduated two years before me and who gave me rides to school and to basketball games since we lived across the street from one another. She was too funny and since we were from similar times, I barely had to say anything. "Ditto what the Sister said."
Back in the day, we had a week where the seniors picked one of the freshmen and surprised her for breakfast, took her to a picnic lunch in the park, decorated her locker and helped her to meet others in the school. The Freshmen would bring "blow out" eggs to school and try to get the entire Senior class to "sign their eggs" without allowing a Sophomore or a Junior, pretending to be a Senior, to sign. If a Senior saw the lower classman's name on the egg, the egg would be crushed and the Freshman would have to start over the next day. It was a challenge to learn all the girls in the Senior Class, and it was harmless fun.
This morning, I blew out an egg, signed names all over it and took it to the panel, as if it was from 1975. As we talked about the tradition, Sr. Helen Marie picked up the egg and held it up for all to see. She kept talking and as she finished I grabbed the egg and smashed it in her hands. She gasped. The crowd of girls gasped. I said, "Oh Sister!" She said, "You did it!" And then, I explained that it was a fake to the laughter of the crowd. I just could not resist.
As we continued to talk and to share, I realized just how important our traditions are in our schools and in our churches. It is so many of the traditions that I find to be beautiful; the choosing of St. Cecilia girl, the class ring ceremony, the uniforms, St. Cecilia Day celebrations, May Procession, Graduation, Class Night, etc. etc. All reminders of our School, of the good times, of learning. And in the Catholic Church; the holy water, the scapular, the rosary, the blessed candles, St. Blaise, the Advent Wreath, the Crucifix, the Miraculous medal, the San Damiano Crucifix, etc. etc. All reminders of our faith, of our life in the Church. All of the times we share with one another, all of the gifts and the talents, all of the reminders bring us together as a family, all identify us as a family of faith. The traditions we share with one another, not just in our own schools and churches but in Catholic Schools and Churches throughout the world, identify us as a people of God, as a people who believe. Traditions are fun and sharing those traditions reinforce those good times but more than that, traditions ground us. They give us a foundation and an example by which to live. When times are good or bad, we look back and we remember the rose, the candle, the laughter, the connection, the prayer, the crucifix and we are blessed. I am grateful for being asked to share our traditions. I am grateful for those who have passed these traditions down for our example. I am grateful for our Catholic Schools and Churches. I am grateful.