Dear Members of the Sacred Heart Community,
This morning, I awoke to the sweet sound of birds chirping melodiously outside of my window. What a wonderful gift to open one's eyes and to BE ALIVE! Gratitude is my prayer, with simple praise for the depth and breadth of God's love that we are offered in such abundance each day. Quietly, I began to cry.
With all of you, my heart aches for the tragic loss of life to violence at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The reality of deep fractures in the human spirit is cause for our attention and action. But, what is our response? What is the invitation rising from the ashes of this experience?
In a very basic way, we can all be reminded of the critical importance of our school safety protocols and measures for prevention. As a school community, each one of us must exercise our daily responsibility in this regard whenever we are on campus. All of us can be agents for care and caution by taking small actions, where necessary, to enhance our efforts. Drilling for various types of emergencies, guards, gates, cameras, LobbyGuard - all of these measures and more are important ways that we support school safety.
In another way, I believe that this tragedy invites us to look deeply into our own hearts and to attend to our own need for healing. Asking God to heal your heart of its hurts and to make you a peacemaker will transform each of your relationships. With open hearts, we can let love, not fear, encircle us, guide us, and identify us. Together, we are a force and a fortress.
In the wake of their grief, parents of children lost to violence implore others to look at their children each day and to tell them that they love them. We do not have to wait for our pain to lead us to this truth: we all need to know the incarnate love of God! Each of us can give this to one another in so many simple ways: offering a listening ear, stopping what we are doing to help someone, looking into someone's eyes with true care, or having a meaningful conversation.
After all, I believe that our enduring school mission "to make known the love of God through the heart of Jesus" offers us a clear pathway. Through this portal, St. Madeleine Sophie knew we would truly transform the world. I believe this, and I suspect that you do the same as parents, faculty, staff, and alumnae of the school. In Lent, I invite each of us to pray for the grace we need to truly become this transformational force for life, for beauty, and for love in the world.
Sr. Melanie A. Guste, RSCJ, Ph.D.
Image Source: In Due Time
Resources in the Aftermath of the Parkland Shooting
(Courtesy of the National Association of Independent Schools, NAIS)
- Talking to Children About Tragedies & Other News Events (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Helping Kids After a Shooting (American School Counselor Association)
- Explaining the News to Our Kids (Common Sense Media)
- Helping Children Cope with Frightening News (Child Mind Institute)
- Helping Children Cope with Terrorism - Tips for Families and Educators (National Association of School Psychologists)