Words from Cistercian


Quarantine has separated many of us from each other and I’m sure y’all want to know how some members of our community are doing. So, the Informer has reached out to teachers and students to tell you about how their time at home has been.

Mr. Saliga

“When we got the order to ‘Shelter in place,’ I bristled. I had no intention of ‘taking shelter’ during this, a prime opportunity to go on the offensive with life. I miss my students, but Zooming with them has been good. I’ve invited them to learn more humanely than ever while they are away from campus. My hope is that they see that learning is life and life is learning. ‘School’ is not a place… it’s a way. I mean, in my own case, I’m red lining it these days in and out of class — reading, writing, praying lots — but with more free time available, I’m hitting the kitchen like Guy Fieri, shooting hoops and daily flinging the disc, chucking bocce balls and swinging the croquet mallet like it’s 1977. And, if you could see me getting air on the trampoline, dealing cards, smacking the ping pong ball around, ridin’ bikes or playing hopscotch, you’d swear I lapped up the whole fountain of youth. Spending time with my kids is the highlight of any day, and so being ‘stuck’ at home with them makes me feel like el Rey de España. Hey, if the Corona fits, wear it! Yep, it’s good to be ‘da King!”

Fr. Ambrose

“Usually when you come down with a common, more historical sickness like the flu, you know what to expect. The unpredictability of Covid-19, however, has made it a challenge. Thankfully, the more-at-risk older Fathers are now out of the woods and recovering nicely*. In my case, the symptoms, mostly fatigue and headache, were up and down. I either felt pretty good or lousy. My medicine was plenty of rest and vitamins for the body, and the love and prayers of you all. In my own family, and among my Form and the wider Cistercian community, I have always felt genuine care and friendship. I’ve encountered that in so many tangible ways during my 15 years as a monk but also in a really profound way the last several weeks – way more than I come close to deserving. From thoughtful notes, to variety popcorn, homemade cocoa Rice Krispies treats, and even a VR set to try, people have been exceedingly generous and thoughtful in tending to my needs and lifting my spirits. Included in that list is a happy dose of Zoom calls, even with a distant cousin I haven’t spoken with in 20 years! While I long to return to more normal days, I am forever grateful for these gifts in my life and extend a hearty THANK YOU to you all.”

John Rehagen (’21)

“For our robotics team, the start of social distance meant the breaking of many hearts on our team. After nine long weeks of designing, testing, and re-designing the robot, our season was over with just a single competition. Our competition in Dallas (which we had a good chance of winning), the state championship, and the world championship were all cancelled. After a long and arduous build season, it was abruptly cut short with a lot less payoff than we had hoped for. Everything we were working towards and looking forward to suddenly disappeared. However, we knew we couldn’t mourn forever. There was a pandemic at hand, we still had things to do. Our team leaders began researching what we could do, but we didn’t know what was exactly needed. We knew we wanted to make something that could protect those on the ‘front lines’ of this virus. Then we learned about a new type of PPE that was designed and could be produced by teams like ours. This ‘COVID-Box’ is used to intubate (and extubate) patients for ventilation and it’s made out of the same clear plastic that we use on our robots. Its purpose is to protect doctors from further exposure while dealing with critical patients. Once we heard about this, we quickly got back to work. After coordinating with the administration on how we could safely access the science building and with Dr. Vaughan on how many COVID boxes they needed, we were able to use our resources and swiftly build 3 of these boxes. Not only that, we also consulted Dr. Vaughan to build an appliance that can be used in people’s normal ovens to disinfect their masks. The COVID boxes have been at hospitals for several weeks now and we are currently distributing the disinfecting racks. Thanks to the help of the administration, the supporters of the school and our team, and the hard work of our members, we were able to turn an unfortunate situation into an opportunity to positively impact our local community.”

*This interview was conducted prior to the passing of Fr. Denis Farkasfalvy on May 20, 2020.