Welcome to St. Mary of the Annunciation Spotlight. This newsletter shines a spotlight on our parishioners and ministries engaged in the works of our Lord and is a vehicle for us to better connect and embrace one another as a community of believers. I thank God for the blessings He has bestowed on St. Mary community and His people. May He continue to show us with His graces.
Fr. Jerry Jacob
Pastor, St. Mary of the Annunciation
Spotlight Articles - St. Mary School Edition
Thank you to all teachers who have or are currently teaching at St. Mary. St. Mary was where I first learned to love and appreciate Catholic education, and I was part of a community that felt like a family. After attending both a Catholic high school and college, I have a deeper understanding of how teaching at a Catholic school is a sacrifice of both money and job security, but my teachers chose to teach at St. Mary so they could teach about their faith and be a part of our community. It is wonderful how many people make this sacrifice for the children they serve.
St. Mary Fun Fact: When people hear I am from the Chicago suburbs, everyone imagines I must be a city girl. Then, I love telling them that I went to elementary school in a cornfield, and we used to be the only church in the archdiocese to have cows on our property!
Rebecca Galuska Class of 2010Read More Testimonials
The reason why we choose Frassati for our family is that we want our children to have the opportunity to get a fantastic education while being nurtured as a steward of the Catholic faith. As soon as we walked through the doors, we felt a part of this amazing, loving and supportive community. Eight years later, my children continue to receive an excellent education and grow stronger in their faith.
Erin Gardner Parent of Current StudentsRead More Testimonials
Here are my remembrances of St. Mary's in 1963-64 when it was just St. Mary's.
I came from St. Ita's in Chicago with large classes to St. Mary's where there were 3 grades in one room, which took a lot of getting used to. The Nuns were the teachers. The smaller children were in a separate building down from the main school and is now a private home.
I was surprised that some of the 13 in my 8th-grade class was quite standoffish most of that year. The ones that accepted me were great and we still keep in touch.
My first Midnight Mass was so very special especially the small children carrying in Baby Jesus and putting Him in the manger.
It was fun to wear a cap and gown for graduation from 8th grade. The school districts were very different back then so only a few of the 13 joined me at Libertyville Fremont H.S.
Linda Goldsberry Class of 1964Read More Testimonials
When we first came to St. Mary from out of state in'91, we were greeted by Judy Hertel and Sr. Rita. It was pretty clear by the way we were greeted and welcomed that they were not going to let us leave without registering! Soon we were glad to be here Prayer buddies, reading buddies, Mission parties, birthday parties for Mother Mary on Sept. 8th, the Giving Tree, Living Stations, Lenten Soup Lunches prepared by Mrs. Hertel and the " Special Teachers", band, cheerleading, the teachers all dressing in the same sweatshirts for holidays all became occasions to look forward to.
A few years later, I became an aide in the kindergarten and spent the next 20 years in what has to be the next best thing to heaven! Little ones coming in each August to teach the ways of school - math, social studies, calendar, religion, music, art, gym, computers, library, and learning to read. My joy and favorite part of the year was as each student suddenly realized they could read! To see their eyes light up as all those letters and sounds now making sense is just so special! Watching those same students as they went on to other grades and rejoicing in their accomplishments - spelling bee, geography bees, D.A.R.E., First Communion, Confirmation, Scouting, 4H, graduation and beyond.
I have made many friends among the faculty, staff, and parents over the years at St. Mary School. The memories and friends will always be there for me.
Rita Gunther Kindergarten Aide 1993-2013Read More Testimonials
I taught kindergarten at St. Mary's, and I loved every second of it! Every day was a new adventure and a new opportunity to help young minds develop. My experience was such a positive one because our school was a family. The teachers love each other dearly and work together as a team to make our school and the children's education the best it can be. The parents are involved and work with the teachers to help their children succeed. The parents devote endless hours towards volunteering for playground and lunch duty, organizing fundraisers, decorating and planning parties and events, and supplying teachers with anything they might need. The students were wonderful- such a pleasant, sweet, polite group of children. I loved every child that I had the honor of teaching, and I am so blessed to have had that opportunity. I would walk into the building and feel at home because I loved and cared about everyone in the building, and I truly felt that the feelings were mutual. This tight-knit St. Mary's family made my teaching career the amazing experience that I remember so fondly.
Christina Hanrahan Kindergarten Teacher 2009-2014Read More Testimonials
I attended the school of St. Mary of the Annunciation in the years of 1978-1979. We had a graduation class of 16 students. Fr. Morrissey was the residing Pastor and Sister Elaine was our Principal at the time. I remember having our lunches in the little church basement. Our 8th-grade dance was also held there. Our 8th-grade classes were held in one of the mobile homes that were there at the time. My experience as a student of St. Mary's was very fruitful to my academics and in my faith formation before entering high school. I feel blessed having the opportunity to have attended such a wonderful school with such a rich history and abundant faith. I am still an active parishioner and have enjoyed experiencing all the changes and building friendships throughout the years.
Catherine (Kawa) Hansen 1978-1979Read More Testimonials
One teacher taught two grades (1st/2nd; 3rd/4th at the little school; 5th/6th; 7th/8th); went to Mass every day. Best teacher I ever had--Mrs. Moe. The principal was ALSO the 7th/8th grade teacher. Recess for an hour. The convent was connected to the school. My closest friends are still my classmates from St. Mary--even 40-50 years later (I graduated from a class of 10). We can go MANY years without seeing each other--but there is ALWAYS that CLOSE connection. My family has five or more generations that attended St. Mary's (before it was known as "Annunciation" -- we always knew as St. Mary's Fremont Center and will always refer to it this way. I taught 6th grade CCD as an adult. I love the parish families--Hertel, Behm, Tekampe, Titus, McNamara, Baker, Stramich, Baum, Lenzen, Zaleski, Steffenhagen, Beelow, Olsen, Diebold, Ullrich, and many others who are "family" either in blood or spirit. I think everyone remembers when Grandpa Zaleski had the greenhouse behind the church and made sure each school child had a plant/flower to give to Mom on Mother's Day. I would be VERY HAPPY to share many more memories--there are MANY stories to tell. It was an honor to ring the school bell, walk the nun's dog BeBe, and learn great study skills. Please don't hesitate to contact me for more stories.
Marie Hertel Class of 1971Read More Testimonials
I (Rose Ann Beelow Kraemer) was born in 1936 in a farmhouse about one mile from St. Mary’s. My mother wrote in her diary that there were below zero temperatures for days and heavy snowstorms with a lot of drifting. Highway 59a was closed for a couple days and just got opened up about 4 hours before I was born. The doctor came to the house. My mother was born in the same house. St. Mary’s School wasn’t there when my mother went to school. She went to Ivanhoe School, but my parents got married there in the rectory because my dad was not catholic, I think by Father Steer. I was baptized, received my first communion and was confirmed at the old church. I started school when I was 5. My brother was one year ahead of me and I studied with him and knew how to read before I started first grade. There was no kindergarten at that time. Most of the time we either walked or rode our bikes to school. I graduated in 1949. There were two teaching nuns plus one as a housekeeper. Sister Lillian taught grade 1 through grade 4 and Sister Alverna taught grade 5 through grade 8. At the time I thought Sister Alverna was terrible, but later I realized she was a wonderful and great teacher. She was strict but fair. There was 8 in my graduation class. Ann Behm, Marilyn Weidner, Shirley Behm, Virginia Long, Bill Leffelman, Jim Obenauf, Ed Miller and myself, Rose Ann Beelow. Anyone remember any of these names? Ann and Ed still live in the area, Marilyn in Georgia and Jim in Arizona. I live in Libertyville. Father Nabholz was the priest at the parish then. His sister was his housekeeper. A few of us kids used to go to the rectory at lunch time and Father or his sister would give us candy. We loved going there to say hi, get their blessing and get candy. I remember interrupting their lunch at times. I got married there in 1955 by Father Burke. My oldest son was baptized there in 1958 by Father Burke. We had our vows renewed in 2005 at our 50th wedding anniversary mass in the old church. My brothers and parents (Beelow), grandparents (Bauernschmitt) and great grandparents (Tradt) are all buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Rose Ann (Beelow) Kraemer Class of 1949Read More Testimonials
I was at the school for 11 years and believe it or not I loved being there and miss many things about it. The school and parish continue to hold a very special place in my heart!
1. The students were amazing. They were Christian in spirit, respectful, intelligent, worked hard for their grades, fun loving and athletic. They exhibited good leadership skills through student participation in church liturgies, Student Council, the Buddy program and DARE. The students desired to succeed and to be their best. They continued to do well in high school, and I was always proud of them and of their accomplishments!
2. The faculty and staff at St. Mary's provided a strong Catholic based curriculum and a comprehensive academic program for our students. The teachers exhibited a strong work ethic and continued to grow as professional educators. They worked well together as a united team for the students and parents. They supported each other in the use of multiple instructional strategies for the best learning environment for the students. The faculty put in many hours before and after school without being asked. They always put the students’ needs first. Each student was just as important as the next one. A more dedicated and caring faculty you will never find in my opinion.
3. Some qualities I hope to have instilled in the students are a strong Catholic faith, the love of God, family, neighbor and themselves. Another quality would be a strong educational drive that will help them achieve a higher education in high school, college or a trade. The faculty and I worked with them on decision making and how to make the right choices and also using their common sense. I hope I helped instill in them confidence in themselves to try new things and not be afraid of failure.
4. My favorite memories are the hardest question of all. There is not enough paper space for sure! * Time spent with the students at Mass, First Holy Communions and First Reconciliation * Greeting the students in the morning * Holiday celebrations, school dances and athletic events * Students coming to my office for candy and stickers from the treasure box for a job well done on an assignment or a task * Students drawing me pictures. I still have a box full of them and I still look at them. They warm my heart! * Listening to the first graders read me a story * Visiting the classroom and watching the teachers interacting with the students * The kids doing snow dances in gym class when they wanted a snow day! It worked a couple of times! * Planning school events with the junior high * Planning new curriculum strategies and brainstorming with the faculty * Receiving the Blue Ribbon
5. I will always be grateful to Father Ron Lewinski for giving me the Opportunity to be principal for 11 years at St. Mary's. Fr. Ron was an excellent mentor and was dedicated to the mission of the school as well as to the faculty, parents, and students. I enjoyed my position as principal and as I have said to many when I walk through the doors of St. Mary Church and school, I feel I am home! I am grateful for all of the parents who gave so much of their time, talents and treasures to the faculty and students! I found the School Advisory Board, the Home and School Association, Athletic volunteers and parents who volunteered for other school activities helped to build a positive family spirit that the school community enjoyed! Without their support and dedication, the school could not have thrived as well as it did!
Deborah Dedeo Principal 1999-2009Read More Testimonials
Our favorite school tradition is the Daddy Daughter Dance. It focuses on the importance of fathers and daughters having a healthy and strong relationship. The first strong male bond that girls have is with their dads. This event teaches the girls what it means to be treated throughout their entire lives and that is with respect, love, and kindness.
April Joan Labra-Renacia Parent of Current StudentRead More Testimonials