As most families go, there is typically one relative whose house becomes the centerpiece for many of the holidays in which we celebrate. For my family, it is my Aunt Stella’s home in Fairmont, West Virginia. As the hometown of my father, I have spent countless Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Independence Day holidays in this small town located in the north eastern part of W.Va. Although it has been a few years since I spent Turkey Day in the “Mountaineer State”, I always feel the excitement build as I drive over the Appalachian Mountains for a holiday visit. My trips to Fairmont often revolve around the kitchen table which serves as the chapter book for the unfolding of my family’s history. Each time I visit my 87-year-old aunt, her stories weave fabric into the narrative that has become my life. My amazing Aunt Stella has lived in her home for over three score. And during those 60 years, her prepared meals has seemed to be more of the sideshow to the main performance that become the stories of our life. So as 21 members of my extended family enjoyed this year’s Turkey Day visit to Aunt Stella’s home, we left Boulevard Avenue with a well-kept treasure chest of valuable tales which filled our heads and hearts.
Similar to the family customs each of us enjoy, St. Agnes has its own Thanksgiving week tradition which underscores the sense of extended community that BEAR NATION holds as an extraordinary blessing. Our annual Grandparents Day event began with our campus guests visiting class and being provided a glimpse into the wonderful world of learning that takes place within our charming ‘ole schoolhouse. Then following the classroom visit, our grandparents and special friends (for those students who did not have a family member able to attend), attended a memorable prayer service in our parish church. And this special day concluded, our guests enjoyed musical performances from our Band and Choir groups, along with creative presentations from each grade level.
Included as part of our prayer service gathering, the Student Council provided an acrostic description of the virtue lessons that are contained within the word STORYTELLERS. The following qualities have been passed down from grandparents to our students:
S: to SHARE our love with others.
T: to be TRUTHFUL in our words and in our actions.
O: to be OBSERVANT to the world around us.
R: to be RESPECTFUL toward all people.
Y: to be YOUNG AT HEART and lead a way of life that is active and hope-filled.
T: to be THANKFUL and adopt an “attitude of gratitude”.
E: to be EMPATHETIC and sensitive to the struggles of others.
L: to LISTEN more and to talk less.
L: to be LOYAL to our commitments, our obligations and the vows we take.
E: to be ETHICAL by living a life with a set of high moral principles.
R: to be RESOURCEFUL and to be good stewards of what we have been given.
S: to be SERVICE-MINDED and focus on the needs of others above our own.
Our resident STORYTELLERS are a gift to St. Agnes. We are truly blessed!!