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2018 Nano Nagle Award

L-R: Mr. Joseph Ciccoianni, Principal, Sister Breda
Christopher, pbvm and Mrs. Deanna O’Keefe, 8th Grade

In 2009, a generous alumni family established the Nano Nagle Award at St. Norbert Catholic School, Orange, California, USA, in gratitude for the quality education their children received at the school.

The award has several qualifications. First, the donors are to remain anonymous. Second, the cash value of the award is for the recipient’s personal, not classroom use. Finally, the award is to be made by a panel of judges reviewing redacted essays written by students wishing to do so; the essays cannot be a mandatory school assignment and can be written about any teacher of the student’s choice, not necessarily their homeroom teacher.

Each year, St. Norbert students learn about the life of Nano Nagle and her work educating Irish children in defiance of English Penal Laws which forbade schooling for such children. As they study Nano, they are encouraged to see how her charism is being carried out by their very own teachers today. Nano’s legacy extends over 50 years in Orange, California when in 1965, just one year after the parish was founded, four Presentation Sisters opened the school. 

With a new focus each year on the qualities exemplifying Nano’s work, the students have a week each spring to write their essay. This year, they were to write about the way a teacher exemplifies Nano’s qualities of playfulness, prayerfulness, kindness, and being just and fair.

At the Baccalaureate Awards Presentation on May 24th, Principal Joseph Ciccoianni reported that 185 essays were submitted nominating 18 teachers, and the recipient was: Mrs Deanna O’Keefe, the 8th Grade Teacher who is in her 20th year at St. Norbert. In her acceptance speech, Mrs. O’Keefe said, “I just get to put the cherry on top with the 8th graders. These students have already been formed by all the teachers who came before me. It is a joy to teach them and to have the job that I love here at St. Norbert Catholic School.”

Of course, all of the teachers look forward to the award announcement, followed by the opportunity to read the redacted essays written about them. Once again, the panel of judges had a tough job and the essays made it clear that all nominees carry Nano’s “light” forward in the work they do with St. Norbert Catholic School students.

Peter Edwards Named Presentation Prayer Center Director, Fargo, North Dakota

The Leadership Team of the Union of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, recently appointed Peter Edwards as the Executive Director of the Presentation Prayer Center.

Located near the Red River at 1101 32 Avenue South in Fargo, the Prayer Center has been a sponsored ministry of the Presentation Sisters for 37 years. For many people in the area the Prayer Center has been a quiet place of healing and spiritual nourishment located within the busy city.

Mr Edwards is a Certified Spiritual Director and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). In addition to providing spiritual direction at the Prayer Center for the past 14 years, he also worked at Catholic Charities for 27 years as a counselor and in Family Life Education. Most recently he has served as the President of the Presentation Prayer Center Board.

Peter lives in Fargo with his wife, Joan. They have four adult children and nine grandchildren.

Regarding his appointment Peter noted with enthusiasm, “I hope to utilize my training as a spiritual director, my experience at a social service agency and my passion for spiritual growth to help further the mission of the Prayer Center.”

Core services offered by the Prayer Center include the following: spiritual direction, individual retreats including the 19th annotated Ignatian retreat, centering prayer, Taizé prayer, Dream Seekers group, Men’s Movie Night, Women’s Camp and workshops/book studies on a wide range of spiritual and social justice topics.

For information about the Presentation Prayer Center and its programs, contact Scott: presentationprayercenter@gmail.com, 701-237-4857, or look for Presentation Prayer Center on Facebook.