Father Kapaun’s Christmas Greeting to Sister Euphrasia

Father Kapaun was a prolific letter writer. I think one of his very saintly qualities was his genuine care and concern for others. Often when he would write, he would share words of encouragement as he would relay his own activities to those to whom he was writing. Father Kapaun had the utmost respect for those in the religious life. This included those in the missions. While the school in Pilsen, Kansas was a public school, it was staffed by three religious sisters from the Sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. Their motherhouse was in Wichita, Kansas. The school in Pilsen was a three room school house. The first room held grades kindergarten through 5th grade. The second room held grades 6th through 8th, and the third room held grades nine and ten. The school did not have anything past the sophomore year of high school. Father Kapaun was a good student and had advanced grades on two different occasions. One of his classmates said that Fr. Kapaun often knew things that were going on well before even the teachers knew. If there was a classmate struggling, then Emil would offer to help. This classmate said that Emil would be helping the other student even before the Sisters knew that there was a problem. One dubious note, Father Kapaun’s favorite subject in grade school was Latin. (I say dubious because I struggled with Latin on more than one occasion while in school and I cannot imagine anyone, even a saint, saying that it was their favorite subject in school!).

This is Father Kapaun’s Christmas Greeting to Sister Euphrasia, who was his 9th grade teacher at school in Pilsen, Kansas. This was written when he was studying at the Catholic University of America. Father Kapaun corresponded not only with those back home but also with the many friends that he made throughout his life. We have copies of letters to and from family, friends, classmates and fellow chaplains and missionaries that he met while he was serving in India and Burma.

- Fr. John Hotze

Dear Sister Euphrasia:

I wish to thank you for the lovely Christmas Greeting Card. I see you are still using your gift of art to make others happy, as indeed your card made me happy and brought back pleasant memories.

After attending the University I have begun to realize what a tremendous task it is to be a teacher. Surely God must have a very rich reward for those of you who have dedicated your lives to such a work. I hope and pray that God will never inflict upon me such a task, for it would be calamitous to expect an ungifted person to accept such responsibilities. I am happily convinced that God put me in the class of people who can admire teachers but not hope to imitate them.

Indeed this is a very Happy Christmas. Yesterday the sun was shining brightly – today we have the first snow of the year, and it surely is lovely.

May God continue to bless you, good Sister, and keep you in his loving care.

Father Emil Kapaun
Catholic University

December 26, 1947

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