Class of 1959

We, the Class of 1959, celebrated our 50th class reunion on April 24 and 25, 2009. This blog is about sharing memories of our class reunions and a long ago life at our Alma Mater's, S.F.X.A. and S.A.H.S. Good memories of days gone by but not forgotten! A gift to my classmates. ~Marian Love Phillips ~

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

To all my dear classmates - I want to wish each one of you a prosperous and wonderful New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Reason For The Season

I will be leaving soon to go and visit my daughter and her family for Christmas in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I want to take this opportunity to wish all my dear classmates and blogging friends a Blessed Christmas and a Peaceful New Year! Marian

The attached link is a beautiful story of the origin of the "candy cane" which is such a part of almost every one's Christmas. It's a wonderful story to watch with the kids or grand kids as it beautifully explains "The Reason for the Season."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Song by Tennessee Ernie Ford

This is the little boy next to Ernie Ford (speakers needed). Ernie Ford could barely keep from laughing...Enjoy

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Health Reform Bill

Dear Classmates and Friends,

I'm bad! I heard Nelson amendment and assumed it was Bill Nelson of Florida. The Pro-Life amendment was offered by Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Joining Nelson in sponsoring the amendment was another anti-abortion Democrat, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. This will force Reid to troll Maine's senators Snow and Collins to get the 60 votes for cloture. Contact these senators and ask respectfully that they support the Pro-Life amendment. Susan Collins is a Catholic who has voted against a Pro-Life amendment before. In Jan of this year she voted against an amendment which would have reinstated the Mexico City Policy which would have insured that no U.S. tax dollars would fund abortions in any other countries. Contact Claire McCaskill who is a Catholic senator from Missouri asking her to support the Pro-Life amendment. We have to fish or cut bait. Are we Catholic or not???


Monday, December 07, 2009

Health Reform Bill

My Dear Classmates and Friends,

This is the day and this is the week and this is the time to contact your Senators and Representatives to voice your opposition to the Federal funding of abortion in this health care bill. The language must be specific and included within the bill. Remember the words of Pope John Paul II in "Evangelium Vitae." My Senator from Florida, Bill Nelson, is submitting the amendment. Write him an e-mail supporting his effort. God Bless.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Message from Ed Habert

Dear Friends,

I hope and trust that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with a lot of wonderful food with your family all the while remembering why we have this great country and all of the folks who sacrificed for us. Judy comes oust of retirement once a year to cook on Thanksgiving. She is still a great cook. I cook all the meals otherwise and having been doing that for about 15 years. I love it. We spent the holiday in St. Louis this year with two of our families and six of our grandchildren. We never fail to catch some crud from them to bring back to Destin with us. The joy of our family always reminds me of the terrible carnage of abortion- 50,000,000 of them. I have two grandchildren today who wouldn't be here if it were not for their parents who stepped up to their responsibility fifteen years ago. God bless them. My 18 y/o Purdue freshman loves to out her parents by reminding folks how long they have been married and how old she is. She was a two year old flower girl at her parents wedding. That was a tough sell at that time to an older conservative pastor. Monsignor doesn't really like it when I tell him what a great job he did. They are still married.

I hope that all of you will go online and become familiar with the "MANHATTAN DECLARATION" and Fr. Pavone's web site "Priest's for Life." I couldn't believe it. I sent you my e-mail and the next day this document surfaces on the web. We are Christian or we are not. Get on board. Have a great holiday season and keep the faith.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

In Memory of Kyle Coleson

Kyle Coleson, a Vicksburg teen remembered by friends and family as someone who persevered through challenges with humor and compassion, died Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, at Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson. He was 19.

Kyle was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia about 14 months ago. In recent weeks he had suffered complications including an infection, fluid in his lungs and kidney damage leading to heart failure, said his mother, Lisa Coleson, who along with other family members was at Kyle’s side when he died.

Kyle was a strong person who enabled others around him to be strong, she said. “He was a fighter. He fought so hard. He never wanted anybody else to feel bad.”

“He was a better person than I could ever be,” said his father, Mark Coleson. “He was in so much pain and he would try to make everybody else feel better.”

Since Oct. 28, Kyle had been heavily sedated and needed a ventilator to breathe. “The day before they put him under he was hurting so bad, but he was more worried about the nurses feeling bad,” Mark Coleson said. “So he was telling them jokes.”

Kyle attended St. Aloysius High School until his junior year in 2008, when he enrolled briefly at Vicksburg High School. He had always been healthy, his mother said, but about a month after school started he began to feel like his bones were hurting, and she noticed that he seemed to bruise easily.

Doctors ordered blood tests, which revealed the blood-borne cancer. He withdrew from VHS and began treatment. Apart from one bout of serious complications that required at least a month in intensive care in March, Kyle’s health had improved enough for him to enroll again at St. Al this fall.“He’d had a good summer,” said family friend Patty Mekus.

He’d been able to take a trip to the Gulf Coast with his mother and brother. In the fall he was so happy to be back at St. Al, said Mekus, who is development director for Vicksburg Catholic Schools. “He loved the school and the people at the school, and they loved him.”

“Kyle was very much a part of our family here at St. Al and he will be greatly missed,” said Principal Michele Townsend. She said students were coping well today with the news of his death.

Many St. Al students, learning of Kyle’s illness, participated in fundraisers for the family, including selling “Prayers for Kyle” bracelets throughout the city and organizing a benefit concert in June. When Kyle had to be hospitalized again this fall, St. Al’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes held a candlelight vigil.

Kay Kay DeRossette, student body president, said Kyle’s illness brought the school together, like a family. “People who didn’t even know him were moved by his attitude during his whole illness,” she said. “He was still smiling, even after the diagnosis. He was never worried or afraid.”

At St. Al, Kyle played first base and designated hitter on the baseball team and a variety of positions on the football team, said senior classmate Ryno Martin-Nez, also a St. Al athlete.

“One thing all the people who played sports with him knew was that he was the biggest fighter,” Ryno said. Through even the toughest running and conditioning drills “he never gave up. He never complained about running, ever.” He also joked around and liked to “mess with people,” Ryno said. “He was real funny.”

That kind of spirit served him well when he became ill, said junior Victoria Mekus, 17. “I don’t remember him ever being mad,” she said. “He always had a smile.”

When St. Al’s mascot, “The Flash,” became a finalist in a statewide competition staged by WJTV and Zaxby’s chicken restaurants, Kyle “hounded the nurses” at Batson to go online and vote for him. The Flash won the top prize. “He was so proud to be a part of the team,” Patty Mekus said.

Lisa Coleson stressed how grateful she and the family are to everyone who prayed for Kyle and helped the family throughout his illness. “I appreciate so much all the love that people showed us.”

In addition to his mother and father, Kyle is survived by a brother, Cody, 15, a freshman at Vicksburg High School; his maternal grandparents, Jack and Estelle Jordan of Yokena; his paternal grandfather, Jesse Douglas Coleson and his wife, Carol; his great-grandmother, Hazel Coleson; three uncles; two aunts; and 10 cousins. He was predeceased by a grandmother, Mary Sullivan Brooks.

Riles Funeral Home will direct services. Visitation will be Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Bowmar Baptist Church, and the funeral at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the church. Burial will follow at Green Acres Memorial Park. Contact Pamela Hitchins at

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Health Care Reform

Please be proactive and call your elected representatives tomorrow, Nov. 21. This is the day the Health Care bill will be voted on to advance to the final conference. In particular call any of the Catholic members of Congress or simply e-mail them.
Your Classmate,
Ed Habert, M.D.

My Dear Classmates, 11/20/09
Well it is time to fish or cut bait as we would say in Louisiana. We now have the raging debate over health care reform or health insurance reform or attack the medical profession reform or whatever term you wish to use. No serious tort reform however; a pass is given for the special lobby of the trial lawyers. There must also be specific language to forbid the Federal funding of abortion either in this country or abroad with taxpayer money. Multiple amendments have been voted down by the Democrats dealing with these issues in the past. It is a given that the Democrats will try to exclude the abortion issue from the final bill as it is debated in conference to form the final bill to be voted on by the House and Senate. A vote for cloture tomorrow is essentially a vote for the bill. The democrats need 60 votes tomorrow to send the bill to the final conference. In the final conference they will only need a simple majority and this is a given. The Stupak abortion amendment will be removed.

It was an interesting summer in my new parish of Corpus Christi in Destin, Fl. The midsummer parish bulletin published a five part article authored by George M. Searle, C.S.P. of the Paulist Fathers. He was Superior General of the order from 1904-1909. It was titled “Why the Catholic Church Cannot Accept Socialism.” In his view religion is a belief system of truths and duties coming to us from God, through Christ and His Apostles and committed to an organization founded by Devine authority and known to us as the Church. His view is the danger of an over reaching government into the lives of its citizens and in particular into the lives of the family. Who is to have charge of the family? His opinion is that the logical conclusion of the socialistic state would seem to indicate that ownership of it, as a property must reside in the State. This produces an irreconcilable difference with the teaching of the Church. The Church’s teaching is that the parents are the natural guardians of their own children, and the State must not take this natural and Divine right of guardianship from them.

Enter the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO.) The most glaring statement in this document is the recommendation that educators begin teaching students introductory reproductive and sexual subjects earlier than usual: between the ages of five and eight to include a discussion of masturbation. The guidelines in this document recommend that national governments, education ministries and school systems around the world provide students sex education. The other usual topics are present: contraception, abortion, AIDS and the more recent topic of vaccination against cervical cancer. Was Father Searle prescient? What else does government want to take over in our lives? How do you see religion in this narrative? How do you see persons in the autumn of their lives in this scenario; that’s us folks? If you don’t have a living will get one!

On a recent Sunday our Catholic Church bulletin contained a “Billy Graham Prayer for our Country.” ‘Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good’, but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and call it lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment… Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.’ Amen!

On a more recent Sunday in the bulletin we were treated to an article penned by Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family titled ‘We Want to See More Families like Obama’s.’ You remember that James Dobson was the founder of this organization. There are times when President Obama’s policies seem so diametrically opposed to his family values such as in the issue of the sanctity of life. There were quotes from President Obama, however, which were on the mark for fatherhood. “If we want our children to succeed in life, we need fathers to step up. We need fathers to understand that their work doesn’t end with conception; what truly makes a man a father is the ability to raise the child and invest in that child. Fatherhood “It’s about showing up, and sticking with it, and going back at it when you mess up, and letting your deeds show that you love them, that you’re always—they’re always your first priority.”

Throughout my parish life I have been blessed with outstanding homilists who lived their faith and communicated their faith in ways that demanded that you would be a better Christian when you walked out of that church. The message was clear, “crystal” as proffered in one of my favorite movies ‘A Few Good Men.’ They were always on message, well almost always. It was always difficult for my Kirkwood, Mo. parish or for that matter the bishops at large to give a clear message that there was no moral relativism of the greater good versus the lesser evil to vote for social justice under the guise of President Obama’s view of socialism versus the right to life of the unborn. Reread the Bishop’s little white booklet which was a guide for voters. We have such a vigorous outreach to the poor and needy in my old parish it is absolutely amazing. I attended church in this parish in 1947 for the first time. It is 175 years old. The history of social justice not socialism is deep in this parish. We truly try to follow the mission of the Christ that whatever you do for the least of my brethren you do for me.

Be that as it may my pastor in Kirkwood, Mo. could not bring himself to fish or cut bait. It was always the proposed social justice of Obama versus the right to life issue. My new pastor at Corpus Christi is never off message and there is never any hand wringing over the right to life issue. In Kirkwood shortly after the election the pastor gave a stirring homily wishing us “discontent” which evolved into a stirring antiabortion sermon which included an admonition that he had not done enough in support of this issue. There is a handicapped young priest confined to a wheelchair in Kirkwood who celebrated the seven-thirty Mass on Nov.2nd, the Sunday before the election, who turned the homily over to a young seminarian assisting at Mass who spoke about visiting graveyards and praying for our dead relatives or some other inane topic. He never mentioned the 50,000,000 aborted souls of Our Lord’s children! He never touched the topic.

Many of us wonder where our Catholic hierarchy was during the run up to the election. It could be argued that the Vatican was decidedly less openly critical of the Obama administration, that some Catholic Bishops tacitly supported prochoice Catholic politicians and continued to allow them to receive the sacraments publicly; there is the affront on our Catholic principles by the invitation of President Obama to speak at Notre Dame and the ostentatious ceremony of Senator Ted Kennedy’s funeral. This is a man who has long led the battle for abortion rights, stem-cell research and gay marriage. He was rated 100% by NARAL indicating a perfect prochoice voting record including support of partial birth abortions. He voted no on banning human cloning in Feb. 1998. The “Lion of the Senate” voted no on notifying parents of minors crossing state lines for abortion or notifying parents of teens who get out of state abortions in 2008 and 2006 respectively. This is a man who received his first Holy Communion from none other than Pope Pius XII and was married to Joan Bennett in 1958 by Francis Cardinal Spellman, the Archbishop of New York. More than a decade later the marriage was annulled similar to another famous Catholic, John Kerry.

I have practiced my faith in the Archdiocese of St. Louis for most of my adult life. Many of the Archbishops in this diocese or in surrounding dioceses may be familiar to you on a national or international scale. These include Archbishops Carberry, May, Burke, Rigalli, Dolan and Gregory. The Bishop who stands out in my mind however, is Bishop Robert Hermann who was minding the shop between the departure of Archbishop Burke to the Vatican and his successor Archbishop Carlson. At the time of his installation at the St. Louis Cathedral Archbishop Carlson espoused a firm prolife position. The question is whether Speaker Pelosi attending mass at the Cathedral would be given the Eucharist by Archbishop Carlson. Either abortion is a grave moral evil or it is not. Res ipsa locquitur! Are we Catholic or not? Bishop Hermann served as Archdiocesan Administrator. He clearly and forcefully espoused the dignity and sacredness of human life for weeks before the election. He clearly enunciated the evils of FOCA or the Freedom of Choice Act and urged us to vigilant and to contact our Senators and Representatives when it is resurrected in the 111th Congress. He wrote and spoke eloquently on the morally relative issue of the promise of social justice visa vie the socialism of President Obama’s program and the prolife issues of today. Need we wonder about the resignation of Bishop Joseph Martino from Scranton, Pa. for his prolife advocacy and aggressive criticism of pro-choice Democratic politicians? This retirement comes a decade before the required age of 75. George Weigel wrote in the St. Louis Review, our diocesan newspaper that this year’s election cycle clarified decisively that the great public fissure in the United States is between the culture of life and the culture of death. In 1995 Pope John Paul II introduced the phrase “culture of death” in the encyclical “Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life).” Until we regain respect for life and embrace the culture of life locally, nationally and globally we will continue with the carnage and turmoil of our day. Bishop Hermann wrote in January of this year in the Review “In our Supreme Court and in our Congress, we have a plethora of so-called Catholics who are failing to live their Catholic identity. Over 50 percent of our electorate voted for a president who is one of the most pro-culture-of death candidates from a major party to run for the highest office of the land.

Yes, we can thank one-half of our Catholics for bailing out on their faith!

After almost 50 years of having 50 percent of Catholics abandoning their Catholic identity, we cannot expect to turn this culture around by short-term political efforts. In order to bring about a transformation from a culture of death to a culture of life, we have to restore our Catholic identity.” This was taken from the St. Louis Archdiocesan newspaper, “The Review.”
“Toleration of pro-abortion or pro-choice behavior is totally unacceptable for any Catholic.”
Our Catholic leadership from the Papacy to the Parish has to step up and lead. “Faithful Citizenship” was a loss of leadership. There are 17 Catholic Senate Democrats and 9 Catholic Senate Republicans in the 100 member body; 98 Catholic house Democrats and 38 Catholic house Republicans of the 435-member body. The 162 Catholic elected members represent 30.3 percent of the total 535 representatives. There are now 6 out of 9 appointed Catholic Supreme Court Justices. Our Catholic identity has been lost as well as our Christian identity as a nation founded “under God.”

See if you recognize any of the current or recent Senate Catholic Democrats: Biden, Dodd, Durbin, Harkin, Kennedy, Kerry, Landrieu, Leahy, McCaskill, Menendez, Mikulski, and Salazar. The Senate Catholic Republicans include Brownback, Collins, Martinez, and Vitter. The Catholic House Democrats include Clay, DeFazio, Dingell, Gillibrand, Kennedy, Kucinich, McGovern, Murtha, Napolitano, Pelosi, and Rangle. The Catholic House Republicans include Boehner and King. Some of these folks have been selected by the President to serve in other appointments at this time. Some of these good Catholic politicians have come under ethics review.

For those of you who felt compelled to vote in favor of the presumed social justice program of Obama versus the right to life issue, there is no longer any perceived imperative to justify withholding your full support for the pro-life program. I urge you to contact your own local Congressmen as well as any and all of the Catholic representatives in office at this time. The quid pro quo should now be support in 2010 elections predicated on the absence of any Federal abortion funding locally, nationally or globally in any Health Care Reform Bill. It must be stated in the bill! All other right to life issues must be on the table and open to discussion.

Pope John Paul II said very clearly that life is the greatest priority: “The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights—for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture—is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” At the time of the encyclical Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (aka Pope Benedict XVI), head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, insisted that the encyclical’s strongly worded formulas condemning abortion and euthanasia were authoritative teachings but stopped short of saying they met the conditions of infallibility. The act of abortion has been held throughout the tradition of the Church as an intrinsically evil moral act as Speaker Pelosi learned from the Pope. Let us regain our Catholic identity. Contact your Congressional Representatives and Senators tomorrow!!!

The bottom line is that we all will have to answer the question I proposed to all of you in April at the alumni banquet. Where will you spend eternity??? There are only two answers. There is no wiggle room. God is the ultimate mystery for humanity. We have been given a small window through Jesus to discover the answer. Some of us are closer to the truth than others. Where will you spend eternity???

Your classmate,

E. R. Habert, M.D.

950 Hwy 98 E, #7122

Destin, Fl 53241-2813

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy 68th Birthday Walter!

Walter, Dickie and Phillip having a great memorable visit.

This note was received from our classmate Walter and he said that on November 14th they had their third meeting of the Alabama Chapter of the Class of 59'ers at Wintzells Restaurant on the lake in Guntersville, roughly equidistant from Dickie Matherne, Phillip Doiron, and himself. They had a great evening with sweet tea, seafood, and a birthday bread pudding served compliments of his sneaky older daughter, Beth, who innocently asked him where they were going and not-so-innocently called up and ratted him out on his 68th being that day. A picture of all their smiling faces above. He continued to say that the only flaw is that the rest of us weren’t there to correct our time-worn memories and to add things they might have forgotten or tried to forget. They plan to meet again in late January, after deer season, in Birmingham, where new good restaurants continue to open despite the economy. They would all like to ask our non-Alabama classmates and those a little older and a little younger to join us there if they might be able and willing. No banquets, no speeches, just fun, remembering, and catching up with old friends. Best Wishes, Walter

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker Continued...

Left to right, Myrtle Loviza Alvarado, Harold "Sonny" Logue and Gene Martin. (Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker Continued...

Left to right, Myrtle Loviza Alvarado, Kay Hess Simms and myself, Marian Love Phillips. (Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker Continued...

Left to right, Jack Baker, Larry Miller, Ivan Cunningham and Walter Little. (Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker Continued...

Left to right, Gene Martin, Ina Lott Whittington and Jane Cathy. (Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Relay for Life - American Cancer Society

Dear Family, Friends and Neighbors,

I have participated in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life event the last three years and have become more involved by serving on the committee overseeing the success of the event.

The success really depends on you as supporters and sponsors of those who participate and walk through the night at Relay. We walk for 18 hours to support all those survivors and caregivers who suffer and fight 24 hours a day to defeat this terrible disease. We do remember Cancer is a word NOT a sentence.

I would like to invite each of you to participate in the event, but if you can't, then I would be honored to have you as a supporter or sponsor.

Our fight unfortunately cost real, hard earned money, but we don't ask for a lot. Any contribution you can make helps those who are less fortunate and need your support.

This will be my fourth year to walk and I appreciate all of your past support.

The Flagler Relay provides assistance to those in need who are financially unable to provide certain needs. In these hard economic times Cancer does not stop.

Please support me again in 2010 in this important cause by making a secure, tax-deductible donation online using the link below. You may also send a personal contribution to me at the address below.

To donate online now, Go to or relayforlife.orgflaglerfl
Relay For Life® is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people worldwide to:

CELEBRATE the lives of those who have battled cancer. The strength of survivors inspires others to continue to fight.
REMEMBER loved ones lost to the disease. At Relay, people who have walked alongside people battling cancer can grieve and find healing.
FIGHT BACK. We Relay because we have been touched by cancer and desperately want to put an end to the disease.

Whatever you can give will help - it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

If anyone is offended by my request I apologize, but this battle against cancer is my passion and unfortunately is never ending..


Robert Witty, Chairman, Relay for Life, Flagler County 2010

Robert W. Witty P.A., GRI
Broker Associate
Hammock Sotheby's International Realty
Two Camino Del Mar
Palm Coast, Fl. 32137
toll: 866.749.6934
cell: 386.931.6179
fax: 386.446.6216

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker Continued...

Dr. Edward "Ed" Habert and his lovely wife Judy. She is holding our 50th Year alumni booklet. (Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Alumni Drawing at Football Game!

Please pass this along to any SAHS and SFXA Alumni!

There will be an Alumni Tent set up at the football game tonight. All Alumni are encouraged to check in at the tent. Everyone checking in will be entered in random drawings for door prizes. The prizes range from dinner certificates, A Club merchandise to a 19" flat screen HDTV w/ built in DVD player! There is no cost involved. Just check in to be entered into the drawings!

Don't forget to vote for our mascot The Flash! He has made it to the Final Four of the Mississippi Mascot Challenge and as of Wednesday was in first place with 46% of the vote!!! Go to keyword: mascot and vote. There is no limit to how many times you can vote. The winning mascot will be notified by WJTV and Zaxby's at the November 6th game!


Patty Mekus
Development Director & Alumni Affairs
Vicksburg Catholic School
St. Aloysius / St. Francis Xavier
1900 Grove St./ 1200 Hayes St.
Vicksburg, MS 39183
Office: 601-630-9762
Fax: 601-631-0430

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker Continued...

William "Bill" Adams, Ivan Cunningham, unidentified lady, Larry Miller and an unidentified man. (Courtesy Rita Martin Holland)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sister Robyn's Golden Jubilee

Gail Marie Huser, better known as Sister Robyn
Help was there for Sister Robyn, who had helped many...
by Gordon Cotton ~ The Vicksburg Post
What does a retired nun do?
"I mostly walk the dog," Sister Robyn said.
But don't he fooled by her seemingly leisurely lifestyle and the pastoral setting in which she lives off Fisher's Ferry Road, for her 50 years in the Religious Order of the Sisters of Mercy have been filled with hard work and good deeds. Her story is proof of the adage to "cast your bread upon the waters" as well as the selfless devotion of a friend, sister Patricia.
By man's standards, Sister Robyn shouldn't be alive, but God must have had other plans. Few would have thought, several years ago, that she would be around to celebrate her Golden Jubilees and renew her vows - - both of which was celebrated this past Sunday at the 11 o'clock Mass at St. Michael. A reception was held in the parish hall.
Sitting at the beakfast room in her home last week she laughed and said to "make the questions simple."
She grew up in West Texas, born in Lubbock and raised in Slaton. She was Gail Marie Huser, of Czech heritage. There weren't many people in Slaton, she said, but there were lots of "chickens," chickens and more chickens," for her father not only raised them, but he also had three feed stores.
She went to the local Catholic School, operated by the Sisters of Mercy, and the resident priest, Father O'Brien, usually asked the children what they wanted to be when they grew up whenever he visited the school.
"I would say I want to be a nurse, like my Aunt Ellen," little Gail Marie said, "That's what I'm going to do."
When she was a senior in high school and Queen of the May festivities, she took the crown and placed it on the head of a statue of the Blessed Mother," and it just struck me that day" that she would enter the convent. That was in 1959. She took training in St. Louis, then went to Mercy College in Detroit where she received her BSN. Later, she earned her master's degree in nursing administration at the University of Southern Mississippi.
What brought her to Vicksburg?
"Well, that was an easy decision. You had no choice. We were told where to go," she said. "But it was a good choice."
Sister Robyn began as head nurse in OB-GYN in 1966, but in 1967 went back to her hometown for two years while her father, Robert, was ill. She had chosen the name in honor of him when she took her vows, so her time at home was very special.
In 1970, she came back to Vicksburg and held different position in the nursing profession with the Sister of Mercy, and from 1975 to 1982 she was director of nursing, then vice president of nursing services. It was during those years that she began the volunteer program of the Candy Stripers at the hospital.
Sister Robyn was working in Jackson in 1988 with the homeless and chronically mentally ill, when she suffered Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome with full-blown cardiac arrest. It was over an hour before she got to a hospital, and a week later she suffered another massive heart attack while in ICU. For three months, she was in a coma, then in the hospital for seven months, followed by about two years in rehab, some of the time in New Orleans, some at Methodist Hospital in Jackson.
Few patients recover from such an ordeal. Part of her brain was destroyed, and plans were to put her in a nursing home.
That's when Sister Patricia stepped in.
"No way," she said. She would take care of her. Sister Patricia, from Biloxi, had been director of nursing at Mercy Hospital, and the two Sisters had become good friends. Sister Robyn credits Sister Patricia's tenacity with her amazing recovery.
She used to play the piano, organ and accordion, but that knowledge and talent has been wiped out and can't be relearned because that part of the brain was destroyed. She can't do numbers at all, "but I can usually find the last line of a hymn in the book," She says she's more outspoken than she used to be, "and people say they like me better now." In looking at some old photographs taken of her when she was in school, she said, she didn't like them, "but they speak the truth."
Was she a good patient?
She doesn't remember, for she was unconscious much of the time, but she does recall that she was not very happy with some of her sisters in New Orleans. However, things got better when she found that friends had brought her some money,"and I had the best time in the gift shop. I loved to get snacks."
Two therapist told Sister Robyn she had to stay in therapy longer, and she "cried and cried and cried. They thought I was dumb, but I really wasn't that dumb." a speech therapist assured her that she could go home, so after much commotion she left New Orleans. She was so excited that in a little while she asked Sister Patricia, "Are we home yet? We are only in Metarie!"
Before long they are home, and Sister Robyn's condition improved to the point that she was soon back at work in a wheelchair as a volunteer in Vicksburg and downtown Jackson.
What goes 'round had come 'round, for those she once taught and nursed took care of her, wheeling her to wherever she needed to go.
One of her projects, before her illness, was starting a medical clinic associated with the Stewpot in Jackson, persuading doctors and nurses to volunteer their services. She also helped established group homes in three cities and providing dental and health care free for the mentally ill. Another project was securing a $307,00 van, outfitted with medical facilities, to go into the Delta to care for children. It is operated in collaboration with the University Medical Center School of Nursing and staffed with volunteers.
One of those volunteers is Sister Robyn, back in her chosen profession, in her role in life, helping others.
One of the delights of her life is her dog, Crickett Marie, a large animal that looks like a mix of boxer and Great Dane. She and Sister Patricia found it about three years ago around Thanksgiving, emaciated, frightened and cowering in the weeds, looking at first like a deer. They could never find an owner, and Dr. James Valentine kindly provided it with medical care. They name it Crickett, and Sister Robyn added Marie to give it a religious standing.
This past July 4, Sister Robyn was walking Crickett Marie when a large rattlesnake bit the dog twice. A call to Dr. Dale Cordes saved the dogs life.
Of course, the dog is a special pet who adores the two ladies. She has a ferocious bark - - and possibly a bite, too. They may have spoiled her a bit, but Sister Robyn said they have their rules and priorities.
"We have our coffee first," she said, "then Crickett and I go walking."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker Continued...

Left to Right, Judy with her husband, Edward "Eddie" Habert and Theresa Martin Kitowski with her husband, Charles "Chuck" Kitowski. (Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker Continued...

Left to right; Dickie Matherne, Myrtle Loviza Alvarado, Sonny Logue and Gene Martin. (Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker Continued

Louis "Sonny" Logue and myself, Marian Love Phillips
(Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Homecoming Week ~ 2009

It's Homecoming week - St. Aloysius Homecoming Parade today Thursday October 8 at 5 PM on Washington Street, downtown Vicksburg followed by pep rally in the gym.

St. Aloysius Homecoming game against Salem tomorrow night October 9 at 7 PM

Monday October 5 - Friday October 9 - SAT10 - Stanford Achievement Tests Grades 1-8 St. Francis

PTO Tuition Buster Raffle-$1000-1st Prize, $500-2nd Prize.$5/Chance. Stubs & Money due to office by Thursday October 8

Drawing during Homecoming Game on October 9

Early Dismissal on Friday

St.Aloysius classes will dismiss at 11:30am on Friday October 9 for homecoming preparations. St. Francis students will dismiss at regular time.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker Continued...

Left to right, Ina Lott Whittingson, Myrtle Loviza Alvarado, Vera Marshall Brown, Kay Hess Simms, Theresa Martin Kitowski, Sue McNamara Fowler, and myself, Marian Love Phillips. (Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker Continued...

Dr. Edward "Ed" Habert and Theresa Martin Kitowski looking at a photo album. (Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Ware House Resort Ice Breaker

Kay Hess Simms and Mickey Sullivan enjoying the evening together.
(Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dinner at Jacques' Cafe continued...

Bobby and Myrtle Loviza Alvarado

Myself, Marian Love Phillips and Ina Lott Whittington
(Courtsey of Rita Martin Holland)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dinner at Jacques' Cafe continued...

Jim Simms (Kay Hess Simms husband), myself, Marian Love Phillips and Ina Lott Whittington. (Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Signs of Mercy

Sister Mary Paulinus Oakes, R.S.M., signs a copy of her book, "Tapestry of Mercy: The History of the St. Louis Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas," Monday at St. Aloysius High School for Sheila Wood of Boulder, Colorado. Wood is a 1955 graduate of St. Francis Xavier Academy and a former teacher. (Katie Carter - The Vicksburg Post)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Don't forget to vote for "The Flash" today! You can vote as often as you like! Pass along to other alumni, students and St. Al Fans.

We need to catch up with Madison St. Joe and if everyone votes at least twice a day, we can do it!

The first round of voting ends Sept. 27th so if we are steady with our voting we can stay in the Top 12 and make the first cut!

Thanks for your support and most importantly YOUR VOTES!!!!!!!

A special thanks to Josh Williams who has agreed to be our mascot. Look for him in the WJTV Mascot Challenge Commercials!



Patty Mekus
Development Director & Alumni Affairs
Vicksburg Catholic School
St. Aloysius / St. Francis Xavier
1900 Grove St./ 1200 Hayes St.
Vicksburg, MS 39183
Office: 601-630-9762
Fax: 601-631-0430

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dinner at Jacques' Cafe continued...

Kay Hess Simms and Sue McNamara Fowler
(Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dinner at Jacques' Cafe continued...

Jim Simms, (Kay Hess Simms husband) and myself, Marian Love Phillips.
(Courtesy of Rita Martin Holland)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dinner at Jacques' Cafe continued...

Robert "Bobby" and Myrtle Loviza Curro Alvarado
(Courtsey of Rita M. Holland)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dinner at Jacques' Cafe continued...

Charles "Chuck" and Theresa Martin Kitowski
(Courtesy of Rita M. Holland)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dinner at Jacques' Cafe

Kay Hess Simms, Sue McNamara Fowler and Jim Simms, Kay's husband, posing for pics before our dinner at Jacques' Restaurant and Cafe at the Battlefield Inn. (Courtesy of Rita M. Holland)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Our Social at Battlefield Inn

Left to right, Kay Hess Simms, Myrtle Loviza Alvarado, myself, Marian Love Phillips. Second row, Theresa Martin Kitowski and Ina Lott Whittington. Third row, Rita Martin Holland and Sue McNamara and on top Jane Cathy.

Left to right, Theresa Martin Kitowski, Myrtle Loviza Alvarado and myself, Marian Love Phillips. Second row, Sue McNamara and Ina Lott Whittington and on top, Kay Hess Simms.

A few of us were able to have a nice get-together Thursday night on April 23, 2009 at Battlefield Inn before our 50th Class Reunion began on April 24th. We had a very nice social, visited and enjoyed a meal afterwards. It was a great way to start our reunion off. (Courtesy of Rita M. Holland)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Rita's Pix of Our Reunion

I received the other day some pictures of our 50th class reunion from Rita Martin Holland from Henderson, NC. I want to thank Rita for the pictures and will be posting them through out the week and possibly into next week. Rita's sister, Theresa, graduated in our Class of 1959. Rita will be celebrating her 50th class reunion next year. We are all looking forward to seeing one another again and visiting. Thanks again Rita for the pictures. I know everyone here will enjoy them. They turned out really good.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Tapestry of Mercy

From left, Sister Theresa Finnegan, Sister Paulinus Oakes and Sister Fatima Starks stand in front of the Sisters of Mercy mural at the flood wall on Levee Street. (The Vicksburg Post)

If a tapestry were designed to depict all the good works performed by the Catholic Sisters of Mercy since arriving in Vicksburg in 1860, it likely would include scenes of the sisters taking care of the sick and wounded, teaching school children and nurses-in-training, offering food and carrying out the exhortation of Christ in Matthew Chapter 25, verse 40: "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Some of these scenes are painted on the Sisters of Mercy mural at the flood wall on Levee Street - which includes, at the sisters' insistence, that scripture reference.

Some of the scenes are simply part of the city's architecture - the former St. Francis Xavier Academy buildings and the convent that now house the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, or the former Mercy Hospital-McAuley Retirement Home complex on Grove Street.

Now a new book, "Tapestry of Mercy," documents the history of the sisters in Vicksburg and all of Mississippi and six other states that made up the St. Louis province of the order - Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma.

"It's a landmark," said Glenda LaGarde, Mercy Historian and Hinds Community College English teacher. "For Vicksburg especially, (since) during the last decade they have come to appreciate much more the contributions of the sisters, across the faith."

Every one of those sisters, whether assigned to Vicksburg or another area of the St. Louis community, has been listed in the book. It's a record of more than 1,700 sisters who served in the order from 1851 to 2008.

Included are birthplaces and dates and, for those sisters who have died, date of death and place of burial. If a sister withdrew from the order, that is also noted.

Former SFXA principal and Vicksburg native Sister Mary Paulinus Oakes, R.S.M. will sign copies of "The Tapestry of Mercy: The History of the St. Louis Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas," at St. Aloysius High School, 1900 Grove St, at 6 p.m. Sept. 21. Copies of the book will be available for $25.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Memorable Evening With Patsy

Left to right, Patsy Glass Duncan, (myself) Marian Love Phillips, Ina Lott Whittington, Vera Marshall Brown, Pat Stamm, Myrtle Loviza Alvarado, Katherine Meyer Turcotte and Becky (a friend of Patsy). We got together last night at Monsour's at the Biscuit Co. Restaurant and had a wonderful evening reminiscing about our high schools days. Patsy is here for her 50th class reunion and resides with her husband in Martin, TN.

Patsy Glass Duncan

Left to right, Patsy Glass Duncan, (myself) Marian Love Phillips, Ina Lott Whittington, Vera Marshall Brown, Pat Stamm, Myrtle Loviza Alvarado and Katherine Meyer Turcotte. We all went from the first grade to the twelfth grade together except for Patsy who left at the end of the 10 grade and Pat who left the end of the 7th grade and both transferred to Cooper High School.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reunion Video Coming Soon....

Louis "Sonny" Logue is in the process of trying to help me figure out how to load our video that he made for our 50th Class Reunion....hopefully, soon I will be able to post it. It will be in two parts. Will let you all know as soon as they are up by email. Have a nice week ahead. Marian :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

50th Class Reunion Banquet

Pictures of our 50th Class Reunion Banquet.
(Courtesy of Harold "Sonny" Logue)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our Picnic at KC Home Continues...

Elizabeth Little Allen, Walter Little's daughter, Phillip Doiron, myself, and Kay Hess Simms getting ready to leave a memorable 50th class reunion picnic.

Jim Simms, Sue McNamara Fowler, Phillip Doiron, myself and Kay Hess Simms.

Marlene Wilson Caston and her husband, Butch Caston talking to Phillip Doiron.
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