Christmas Traditions from Srs. Josita, Anita, Karen, and Stephanie, ND

We were honored this year to receive letters from almost all of our Notre Dame Sisters about their Christmas traditions growing up. Below is the first post about Christmas traditions. Hopefully, this can inform how your traditions may change this year, as COVID-19 keeps us from celebrating the way we usually do. Below, read traditions and see the full, hand-written stories at the bottom.

Contemplate this miracle with us. A small-town carpenter and his young wife, barely a teenager, could find no place but a stable to deliver their son to the world. The gifts of His birth were God’s power personified, bringing humanity the gifts of peace and presence eternally. It is incredible!

Sr. Josita Hanus, ND

As we children did our farm chores Christmas Eve, our dad reminded us to feed the chickens and cattle more than usual. This was a custom my grandmother brought from Czechoslovakia. It was our way to thank our animals who served us just as they served the Holy Family by sharing their stable with Joseph, Mary, and their newborn, Jesus.

(Photo is Sr. Josita, age 4, on the farm)

Srs. Karen and Anita Rolenc, ND

We grew up on a farm west of Brainard, Nebraska. Late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, Dad would come from doing chores to the porch and holler at us, “Come quickly, girls! I just saw Santa Clause in the grove!” We’d rush to the porch and push open the door to look. “Oh, you’re too late…. Santa’s already gone,” Dad would tell us. We never caught on that while we were staring out from the porch, mom was putting the presents under the tree.

(Photo of the family farm and woods)

Sr. Stephanie Matcha, ND

Our family went to St. James Orphanage on Christmas to sing and play music. The impact of growing up celebrating the biggest holiday of the year sharing my talents with the orphans, the poor and the homeless has instilled in me a passion to serve the homeless and those who were not blessed with the family and opportunities that I had in my life.

(Photo of the Matcha family, 1955)