BY SR. LAURETTA LEIPZIG
“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.
Alice replied rather shyly,
“I – I hardly know, sir, just at present –
At least I know who I was when I got up this morning,
but I think I must have changed several times since then.”
At this time of my leaving Saint Anne I am so happy to have this opportunity to offer a few words to all of you, but I feel like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.” In trying to find the right words to say to you at this time I changed them several times. So many thoughts came to me but, finally, the Spirit directed me to these words.
Leaving Saint Anne is bittersweet. Leaving and yet, in a real sense, going “home” to the place where I began my journey as a School Sister of St. Francis. There is sorrow, but I know the welcome that awaits me from classmates, friends and all my “fellow sisters” in Milwaukee will make the move easier.
In preparing this message I was reminded so clearly how my life in the many years here at Saint Anne was embedded in the hands, feet, minds and hearts of hundreds and hundreds of special men, women and children – some have passed through Barrington and are no longer with us, though many are still a part of Saint Anne in numerous and generous ways.
Buildings have gone up and structures have come down, remodeling and changes have taken place, organizations have been created and there are groups that are no more. Yes, Saint Anne has gone through many transformations, but the goodness, generosity and spirit of the people always remained strong and unlimited.
My future years will hold countless cherished memories of Saint Anne. Interestingly, the Spanish translation for memory is “to run through the heart once more.” That’s a perfect definition for the truck load of memories I hold. Let me take a minute to mention those who created those memories I have stored in a grateful heart.
- First and foremost, Fathers Bernie, Joji and Rodolfo and all the priests, sisters, staff members and friends – truly people of faith and love who supported me through the years
- The 4th grade students and parents of Saint Anne School who provided both rewarding and challenging experiences in my years of teaching
- The men and women in leadership in my major ministry of Adult Education
- Finally, those involved in some other responsibilities I had such as:
- The couples involved in the Baptism Process
- The RCIA team and sponsors
- The teams who welcomed newcomers
- The parish library assistants
- The Women’s Club board and leaders
I treasure all these people and the confidence and happiness they brought to my life. I loved working with all of them. In a true sense, we journeyed together in work and fun, sometimes tackling the unknown, facing challenges and proudly realizing our goals and dreams – always with the desire to make Saint Anne the best it could be. These wonderful people who supported me and sometimes even made me look good in spite of everything – they carved out the story of my years here. There are no words to really thank them enough. But isn’t it true we all have experienced that words of thanks seem so inadequate at times like this? I just want you to know that my “THANK YOU” today represents a gratitude that is truly deep and profound.
And now I’d like to leave you with a prayer from the book, “Remembering God.”
Lord, give us the grace to love the path and to wonder at the twists and turns of our lives, both in what is past and what is yet to come. In your peace, may we find trust that whatever we encounter will be with you. And, in the end, help us to know we will be together where we started…in your presence forever.
Thank you and God bless each and every one of you, the People of Saint Anne! You will be in my prayers as I hope I will be in yours.