Head of School Blog
Susan Tyree Dempf, Ph.D.

Hopeful Anticipation

Dear Academy families and friends,

Last Sunday we entered into the liturgical season of Advent — a time when we as Christians ready ourselves to celebrate the coming of Christ into the world. It is a period of preparation and anticipation. In this first week of Advent we focus on hope — the hope for that which is yet to come, that which sits on the horizon, but is not yet within reach.

Hope supports the emotional well being of all. After a year of COVID precautions and separation, hope for a better day is essential. “Hope is seen as an active process of conscious and unconscious reasoning.” Hope is fueled by optimism and an outlook that each of us has the ability to bring about positive change for ourselves and for others. In this season of Advent, where are your hopes centered? This is a wonderful time of the year to reflect on this simple question.

One of our greatest challenges to experiencing a rich experience of hope comes from living in a world ripe with instant gratification and immediate response. One of my favorite spaces at the Academy is a small room on the second floor of the 1836 building — it once was the community room for the Religious of the Sacred Heart. In this little chamber I envision Philippine sitting by the hearth waiting for a response to one of her many letters to Madeleine Sophie. The patience and the trust she had, confident that a reply would come, is a lesson for us all.

Recently, I read a quote from Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ that connects with this season of anticipation of Christmas. Mother Stuart stated

Preparation is spoilt by impatience and want of resignation. If the vision make any delay, wait for it, for it will surely come and shall not tarry. Few things are so restless, unsatisfactory and useless as impatient waiting — especially following on hurried preparation, and one of the hardest gravest lessons is to learn to wait with patience and resignation. If Advent adds any of these qualities to our spirit of preparation, it will have been well spent.

In this season of anticipation, may you truly experience hope. May it linger in your heart and home across these weeks of Advent.

United on this journey,

Dr. Susan Dempf
Head of School