A reason to give thanks

St. Patrick School receives a $10,000 donation from a surprising source

by Kara Hansen

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — There are people who like surprises . . . and those that don’t.

But the unexpected surprise that staff at St. Patrick School received Nov. 1 might just have made a convert of them all.

Every Monday morning after gathering for prayer, the teachers at the school in Kansas City, Kan., can expect to hear a few announcements from principal Mary Staley and parish pastor Msgr. Mike Mullen.

When one of the teacher aides — Sister Fidel Marie Sauceda — stood up to speak, the staff knew something was up.

“Sister Fidel stood up and said she had an announcement, and I noticed she was shaking,” said Staley. “She came up and said she had a check for $10,000 she wanted to give to the school. Msgr. Mullen and I were both in such shock we could not speak.”

To say that Staley, Msgr. Mullen and the rest of the staff were overwhelmed would be an understatement.

“I was surprised, very thrilled and grateful,” said Msgr. Mullen.

“This is something we needed so badly; it’s such a blessing,” agreed Staley.

Sister Fidel belongs to the Congre- gation of St. Joseph of Wichita. Several years ago, the order gave her permission to move to Kansas City to care for her aging parents. A teacher by trade, she taught originally at St. John/Holy Family School in Kansas City, Kan., and then has put her degree as a reading specialist to use at St. Patrick, where she is now in her third year.

“Sister [Fidel] is such a quiet, unassuming person, but she’s very firm in her convictions,” said Staley. “She works with our kids so well and loves them.”

Sister Fidel received the money she donated from the estate of Msgr. George Husmann of Dodge City. Sister Fidel, along with other Sisters in her congregation, had taught at the cathedral school in Dodge City for 10 years while Msgr. Husmann was pastor there.

“I had been told that some of our Sisters, including myself, were in his will, but had no idea what the amount would be,” said Sister Fidel. “Monsignor was a good, generous man — generous with everyone.”

But Sister Fidel was expecting nowhere near the $10,000 amount she received. She knew Msgr. Husmann had his own relatives and had worked with several different religious orders that taught at his parish schools.

So when Msgr. Husmann’s attorney recently contacted Sister Fidel and informed her of the amount she would be given, she was thrilled. And she knew exactly to whom she would give the money.

“I decided to give it to St. Pat’s, because I see how the teachers there work so hard and are really dedicated,” she said. “I know every little bit will help, and they can use that money for a lot of things.”

Though this is only Sister Fidel’s third year at St. Patrick — and she could have donated it to any cause she wished — there is no doubt in her mind that St. Patrick School is where the money should be. “The teachers here really need a boost, and this is God’s gift to them,” said Sister Fidel.

Staley said the money would be put to good use, better equipping classrooms with the technology that will most help students learn.

“As part of our strategic plan, we’re investing in technology. We have smart boards in some of the classrooms, but we are going to expand and put them in as many classrooms as we can afford,” said Staley.

Staley said the funds would also be used toward other needed technologies, such as printers and Elmo document cameras that work in conjunction with the smart boards.

“Our goal is getting kids comfortable with technology and where they need to be,” said Staley.

The educational advantage for students is obvious, said Msgr. Mullen. “This will directly benefit our students in terms of better teaching and students’ progress,” he said. “The funds which we received were given from the estate of Msgr. Husmann to Sister Fidel Marie to use for a purpose she chose. I am deeply grateful Sister Fidel Marie chose us.

“From the parish and school, I can only speak a big ‘thank you’ to her.”

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