In my incredibly rewarding job as school principal, I am often the recipient of beauty: beautiful student stories that happen right before my eyes.
In our world, I think we often forget to slow down and open our eyes to the signs God gives us on a daily basis. In my opinion, these are glimpses of heaven. My friend Father Wilbert once said in a homily that heaven isn't only something in our future, it is now. We can create heaven on earth now by our actions, our attitude and the way we choose to see life on earth. God sends us glimpses of heaven all the time. Unfortunately, we get swept away in the chaos, the distractions and our fast-paced lifestyles.
My promise to all of you parents, is to open my eyes and ears, look for glimpses of heaven in this school and share them with you.
I encourage you to do the same; look for glimpses of heaven in your own home, with your children. You will be amazed how many you find when you stop and look.
Glimpse of heaven #1: After closing our eyes together in a “Welcome Back Assembly”, an exercise we will be doing often this year, to listen to God’s voice, a student in Gr. 4 said to me: “Mme Kitt, I heard God’s voice. He said ‘Stay close to Me’ .”
Glimpse of heaven #2: A student in Grade 6 told me that he ate a fortune cookie this summer and that the little note in the cookie said: “You have an angel close to you at your service.” He then said: “Mme Kitt, when you told us that our teachers are angels that God has chosen to place in our lives this year, I thought of my fortune cookie and realized the angel close to me is my teacher!”
Glimpse of heaven #3: A student in Elementary couldn’t wait to wear his new cap to school he bought in New York. The cap says: “I love Jesus!”
Glimpse of heaven #4: After our “Welcome Back Assembly” with our JH students, talking about our Virtue of the Month “Humility”, I was so impressed with students in the hallways holding doors, saying good morning, asking how my day was, and being pleasant and courteous. I saw a lot of humility and kindness in the classrooms and around the school.
Glimpse of heaven #5: A student walked through the outside basketball court and unfortunately was bumped and spilled his lunch all over the ground. A big pile of noodles was in the middle of the court. I gave my water bottle and walkie talkie to a student to hold as I knelt down to pick up the pile of noodles with my hands. As I started to pick up the noodles, I saw one little hand, then two, then three, then four…..students came to help me by putting their hands in the noodles too!
Glimpse of heaven #6: Five JH students saw a teacher bringing in groceries from her car to make brown bag lunches for students in need. They all offered to help her carry the groceries to her classroom.
Glimpse of heaven #7: A JH teacher zips up her students’ jackets before they go outside and hop on the CTF bus. Her students are in Grade 8! She wants to make sure they are warm and dressed for the weather.
Glimpse of heaven #8: A girl in Gr. 6 shows up at the office every morning at recess. She asks for a garbage bag and gloves with a big smile on her face. She enjoys cleaning the schoolyard during her free time, modelling to others how we need to take care of the earth.
Glimpse of heaven #9: A student walked over to the Shell Station and apologized for any disrespectful behavior coming from St. Matthew students. He was never disrespectful himself, but wanted to apologize on behalf of others who were.
Glimpse of heaven #10: Before I left school to go home last week, I walked in the staffroom and saw one of our caretakers, eating a sandwich standing in front of a mini-whiteboard reading the beautiful faith quote that was written about God.
Glimpse of heaven #11: Our Gr. 7 band students are super motivated this year! They wrestle over their instrument practice booklets to take them home over the weekend to practice. Don’t worry…..we are buying more!
Glimpse of heaven #12: A parent who always reads my glimpse of heaven emails told me I had to put this one in. If I don’t, I might get in trouble by her LOL! I wrote her daughter a reference letter that brought her to tears. It was very easy to write this letter since her daughter is an angel; a bright shining light of goodness and grace. She told me I had to put in my next glimpse that I am a blessing to her. Her family and all families of St. Matthew School are the ones who are the true blessings in this school and in my life. It is always a pleasure to serve all of you.
Glimpse of heaven #13: When Father Paul was here visiting classes, a student asked him to pray for his mom because she does so much for him.
Glimpse of heaven #14: A guest teacher told me that at the end of the day, a student came up to her and thanked her for a great day!
Glimpse of heaven #15: Another guest teacher told me that at the end of the day, as she walked in the hallway towards the office, a student that she didn’t even teach that day, asked her: “Did you have a good day today?”
Glimpse of heaven #16: As I watched our senior volleyball girls play in the finals, it wasn’t the close score that caught my attention. It was after each play (whether they made a point or not), the girls quickly ran together in a circle, touched each other gently on the arm or hand as a sign of encouragement to keep doing their best, no matter the score. Beautiful teamwork and support shown to all players on the court whether a mistake was made, or a point was gained. So proud to be their principal!
Glimpse #17: Every Tuesday after school, at St. Matthew, is Alpha Day! Six staff members get together to deepen their faith in God, watch a video, discuss questions and share personal experiences of our own encounters with the divine. As our faith deepens, our love for God overflows and pours out onto our students and colleagues.
Glimpse #18: I have a group of Elementary students who come to the office every day to pray a decade of the rosary (I have a JH one too!). I call it the “3 min rosary” club. The other day, a little boy in my rosary club asked me in the hallway: “Madame, are we praying today?” I said, “Yes, very soon.” He replied, “YESSSSSS!” and made an action like he scored the final goal in an Olympic hockey game!
Glimpse #19: During our big snowfall, some JH students saw a car filled with a family stuck in the snow. They put their belongings down and pushed them out in no time! They must all be in the Personal Training 101 CTF course with muscles like that! 😉
Glimpse #20: A sweet little boy in our ESII classroom didn’t feel like getting up from the floor the other day when he got to school. Several of us held out our hand and encouraged him to get up and go to class. He didn’t move. Then a warm, safe and caring hand presented itself to the student. With a smile on his face, the boy eagerly took the hand of our caretaker and headed to class to start his day!
Glimpse #21: One of our CTF teachers emailed us that the Gr. 9-1 and 9-2 classes are the nicest students he has ever taught!
Glimpse #22: As one of our support staff was heading home for the day, she was approached by a parent who said: “Thank you for taking care of my son.”
Glimpse #23: I had a nice talk with the maintenance man one day. He said there is a huge difference walking into a Catholic school than in all the places he works. We say hello, ask how he is doing and make sure he feels welcomed and valued. He works everywhere in the city. He said there is a beautiful welcoming feeling when he walks into our school, that he doesn’t get elsewhere.
Glimpse #24: A guest support staff was finishing up her day. Before she left, she said: “I just love coming to this school.”
Glimpse #25: A lost phone was brought to the office. When we pressed the power button, the face of Jesus appeared. Someone has the face of Christ as their phone screen saver. Every time they turn it on, they see Christ.
Glimpse #26: The Calgary Police Department that helped us with our last lockdown said we are the best they have seen in the city!
Glimpse #27: As the Gr. 5 and 6 students were walking to the c-train to head to the Hitmen Game, an elderly man in the neighborhood said: “What nice kids, we need more nice kids like you.”
Glimpse #28: Every single indoor recess (and we have had several this year) our Gr. 6 student helpers give up their recess and go to the division 1 classes to help keep them busy during recess by leading activities, talking and playing with the kids and helping the staff supervisors as they go from room to room. A beautiful example of selflessness.
Glimpse #29: “I am so happy to have you and your staff in my child’s life and in mine.” Beautiful words from a parent to the principal that brought tears to her eyes.
Glimpse #30: 593 students and 60 staff leaving the gym in complete silence after the Ash Wed Liturgy, as they walked to their classrooms to receive ashes: “Repent and turn to the Gospel” are powerful words that bring us closer to Jesus.
I will continue to keep my eyes and ears open for more glimpses, hope you enjoy reading them.