The teddy bears at our Rockhurst Dining Room Christmas Tree represent
the true spirit of Christmas and the best of our ministries.
The teddy bears were given to +Sister Valeria Lessard and Sister Mary Felten by Roger O’Brien in 2001. Roger spent most of his active years of employment as an engineer at the Westinghouse plant during its operation. After his job ended there, he applied to our Facilities Department and was employed here from 1995 until his retirement in November 2001.At his first Christmas on our campus, Roger loaned the Facilities Department about half of his large collection of animated and stuffed Christmas figures. Later, when he retired, he donated them to the department and gave Sister Valeria and Sister Mary Felten each a teddy bear. Roger was especially grateful to Sister Valeria for her role in his life and in the life of his family.The story behind his gratitude is this: The children in the O’Brien family attended St. Clement’s School at the time Sister Valeria was teaching there. Roger was one of her kindergarten students. One day, Roger’s younger sister, Claire Ann, was struck by a car as she crossed Piedmont Avenue where the convent was then located. Sister Valeria saw the accident and immediately went out to be with Claire Ann. She cared for her there on the avenue and stayed with her until her mother and other help arrived. Claire Ann died as a result of her injuries. The memory of Sister Valeria’s attention to his young sister remained with Roger throughout his life. His gift of gratitude was the teddy bears to her and her good friend Sister Mary Felten, many years later.