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September 2013

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In This Issue
A New Life
Julia & Co.
Rotary Steps in to Help
Quick Links
A New Life of Freedom
Julia receives her motorized chair at a ceremony in St. Peter Claver Chapel.
Julia was a student at St. Peter Claver School for the past 12 years. When she was in elementary school, she began asking our Sisters if the institution could be expanded to include a secondary school -- something that became a reality just four years ago. Julia became a member of the high school's first matriculating class. As a tenth-grader, Julia received the Head of School's Award for courage, perseverance and hard work.
The Astonishing Story of Julia & Co. 
Julia's legs became paralyzed following failed surgery for a club foot when she was ten. In this photo, Julia and her classmates are in 6th grade. Our Sisters at St. Peter Claver insisted that Julia remain in school with them when no other school was willing to accommodate her disability. 
For someone confined to a wheelchair, Julia has a way of being in the thick of things. That's because, for the past eight years, her teachers and classmates at our St. Peter Claver School in Kroonstad, South Africa, would not hear of her being sidelined. Whether it was spelunking in prehistoric caves or heading upstairs to class in a school without an elevator, Julia was borne along by her classmates' and teachers' physical strength. Her courage, however, was -- and is -- all her own.
Rotary International Steps in to Help
A local Rotary International executive spoke at Julia's wheelchair presentation ceremony. 
As Julia aged, it grew more and more difficult for her to maneuver in a manual wheelchair. Unbeknown to Julia, her teachers and classmates asked Rotary International to help raise funds for a motorized one. St. Peter Claver's High School Rotary Interact Club, the Kroonstad Rotary chapter and two Rotary chapters in Australia, along with our Sisters, raised enough money to purchase and present
a state-of-the-art wheelchair to Julia last year. The best part? Julia was completely surprised.
"Julia and her classmates have been an inspiration for us all," writes Sister Brigid Rose from St.Peter Claver School. "It's astonishing what we can accomplish together as a loving and inclusive community."
A Little Inspiration for the Day
We realize that Julia's story is in a class all by itself. How a young woman, disabled at birth and further physically impaired as a child, accomplishes so much is astonishing. One thing is for sure -- she did not do it alone. The culture of kindness and acceptance our Sisters cultivate at St. Peter Claver School, the willingness of Julia's classmates and teachers to carry her up and down stairs to class, the remarkable generosity of Rotary International, Julia's courageous spirit -- all of it speaks to a kingdom that has come and is still coming. Inspiring? We think so! And we're passing it on to you, just in case you're in need of a little inspiration for the day.

With a grateful heart,
Sister Leonore Coan 
Director of Mission Support

P.S. Julia has applied to two universities, with plans to study forensics beginning February 2014.