Franciscan Sister Honored at Xavier High School

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

October 07, 2018

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Mary Ann Spanjers was selected as a Distinguished Alumni into the Xavier Alumni Hall of Honors for 2018.  The induction ceremony took place on the morning of Friday, October 5, 2018, during an all-school assembly at Xavier High School, Appleton, Wisconsin, as part of Homecoming Week. Sister Mary Ann was also invited to be present for the homecoming parade and game. Her comments at the assembly follow. Read her entire message of gratitude: Francisan Sister Mary Ann thank you

There is a great quote from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of our Franciscan Community:
“Start by doing what is necessary
Then do what is possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible”


This quote connects the virtues of faith, hope and love with so much of my life!
The faith my immigrant parents had to come to the U.S. with so little, to work hard and provide my sisters and me with a future that would never be what it is today if it were not for their faith and courage to do what is necessary
The faith I have learned though doing the everyday challenges and invitations of life, working, building relationships, studying, praying, teaching, learning, serving correcting papers—doing what is necessary
The faith I have witnessed in the many students I’ve had like Evelyn, the daughter of a single immigrant mom, who in spite of being diagnosed with cancer her sophomore year, going through treatments throughout her junior year managed to maintain her high academic average and become valedictorian of her class with a full ride to Georgetown where she is studying to become a pediatrician. Doing what is necessary

Then do what is possible—

Having hope that no matter what things will work out is no easy thing! I learned from my Franciscan Sisters that it is possible to discover God’s will in one’s life! I learned this from the Sisters I have been blessed to know and who have walked with me through our formation when we were younger and to this day; that it is possible to live this life and be happy! That it is possible to become a teacher or a nurse practitioner, or bursar, vocation director or administrator and God will be with you guiding you in ways you never expected.
Having hope is discovering that when one prays it is a lot about waiting to see how Jesus will respond. Having hope is watching my students at our San Miguel Cristo Rey school in Tucson, come to believe that they will be able to achieve their dream of being the first one in their families to graduate from college because they are first generation children of immigrants.

and suddenly you are doing the impossible

This is all about the theological virtue of love—any of you juniors or seniors remember the theological definition of love??? An act of the will/a choice
It is in choosing to love that one finds true meaning in one’s life. I experienced love, acceptance and support of my high school friends who are here today! The times we spent together growing up here will always be in my heart, you were with me when my Dad died, you helped me get through what seemed impossible.

Read more: Francisan Sister Mary Ann thank you