A team effort involving staff and Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCLs) provided both a learning experience and a gift for each student at Xavier Catholic School this month on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

This fall, Pam Wranich, SCL human resources payroll clerk, paid a visit to the card shop of the Hallmark Cards plant where she had worked for almost 40 years. She noticed some beautiful terra cotta statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe that were on sale. Pam shared her find with Sister Jean Martin Dawson, who offices next door to her at the SCL Mother House.

The price of the statues was too good of a deal to pass up. Sister Jean Martin contacted Sister Mary Jane Schmitz, a regular volunteer at the elementary school. The Sisters arranged to purchase 156 statues with plans to give them to students at Xavier on the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Pam made two trips between the Hallmark plant and the Mother House to deliver 13 boxes of the statues. Kindra Reckers, SCL housekeeping manager, and Pam placed the boxes in the Mother House attic for storage.

Close to the Dec. 12 feast day, Sister Mary Jane’s nephew and his son transported the statues to the grade school. On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sister Elizabeth Skalicky, also a volunteer, joined Sister Mary Jane at the school. They split up the grades, and each SCL visited classrooms to share the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe with the students. They displayed a statue during their presentations and then distributed the gifts wrapped in Styrofoam for safekeeping.

A family with multiple students in the school may have received two or three statues. Sister Jane told the kindergarteners through eighth-graders to keep their statues for themselves or share them as gifts. Not only did every student receive a statue, but the teachers and staff at both the elementary and early childhood buildings also received them. For Sister Jean Martin, the entire experience was a great opportunity to celebrate 165 years of Catholic education in Leavenworth, Kan.

Photo caption: Second-graders display boxes containing their statues. They are pictured with adults (left to right), Sister Elizabeth Skalicky, holding one of the actual statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe; Tristin Martin, second-grade teacher; and Sister Mary Jane Schmitz. Photo, compliments of Xavier Catholic School.