The Art Form of Raku


The art form of “raku” originated in 16th century Japan. The word itself means “comfortable” or “enjoyable”. The Japanese form was developed to create simple, quiet vessels associated with the tea ceremony. The ware was raw glazed, fired to harden the clay and melt the glaze and then the work was removed, orange hot, from the kiln and allowed to air cool.



Raku firing

Raku firing







In the 1960s, raku was made popular in the US when it was discovered that if the glazes contained metallic oxides (used for color), and cooled in combustible materials the reducing atmosphere would cause dramatic color changes, particularly with copper, to produce metallic lusters and other unusual colors.

newly fired pots

newly fired pots

firing in progress

firing in progress







“This was the first time I had experienced a Raku firing, and it is something I will never forget. Being actively involved with putting the piece in combustibles and how your piece comes out is especially amazing. The colors are so vibrant, you could never get that with a normal glaze firing. I really enjoyed it!” – Lexy ’16

Raku is an excellent teaching tool for students because it offers immediate gratification and allows the students to get directly involved in the firing process.



Three people I’d like you to meet

Morning Prayer: Three People
May 5, 2014
Prayer by Fr. John Buldoc, S.M.

I’d like to introduce you to three people.  Marvin was sleeping in an abandoned car outside the church.  I was shoveling outside.  “Man,” he rolled down the window to shout at me, “you don’t have to make such a racket when a guy’s trying to sleep.”  Marvin would never take your money.  Thieves can’t take what you haven’t got.  When he died, the church was full.  He was know all up and down Nostrand: the gentle, helpful homeless guy.  We can pray to Marvin.

Sarah was a fourth grader at St. Francis School.  St. Francis’ statue had had its head cut off by vandals, determined to rid the Church of Idol worship.  The NYPD treated it as a hate crime with TV 24/7 coverage.  CBS news came on the scene, live.  Sr. Teresa sent her fourth graders around the statue.  The reporter asked Sarah, “When they catch who did this, what should they do to him?”  In her Trini (Trinidad) accent, Sarah said without a pause, “Well, we would have to forgive him.”  Sr. Teresa and I smiled.  St. Francis, without a head that morning, preached a sermon.

I was in Havana walking up a hill after class when I saw a man coming down the other side.  Reaching closer I saw the ugliest person I had ever, ever seen.  He had an enormous bump on is forehead, another where his eye should have been.  His cheek protruded, his lips hung over, and he seemed to have two disfigured necks.  He slowed as though he wanted to cross the street toward me.  I made fast, passing him, so as he, without a chance, wouldn’t stop to talk to me or beg a peso.  I did not want to have to see him anymore.  But, you know, I see him every day.  Months ago Pope Francis hugged a man, disfigured.  He looked just like my man; Francis hugged him, a man who looked just like my man.  I am so humbled.  Don’t miss a chance to give a hug to Christ.

I’ve introduced you to three people.  Marvin, Sarah, and one whose only name I know is Christ.

Mary, seat of wisdom, pray for us.

Peace by Piece – a visit to the W D Mohammed School

On Friday, April 25, 2014, Marist School students spent the day at the W D Mohammed School.

Under the auspices of the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta (FAMA), Peace by Piece aims to promote respect and understanding among Jewish, Christian and Muslim high school students.

Peace by Piece is part of a network of young leaders who meet with their counterparts at the Weber School,  Marist School and the W D Mohammed School, aiming toward open conversation and mutual respect, building trust and understanding.

Students spend a full day at each school, participating as observers in religious ceremonies, attending panel discussions about religious tenets, and learning about the history and culture of each faith.

Students commented on their experiences:Three together

Henna Drawing

Henna Drawing


“I loved going to the W D Mohammed School because I have never seen the traditional prayer service before. It was interesting seeing them call the prayer and do all of the prostrations. I thoroughly enjoyed how we brought up problems in the world like abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, etc. and discussed them in each religions point of view. The henna and being able to have one of the girls put a hijab on for me was something I had never experienced, and I felt like every person there really wanted to show us and invite us into their culture.”


WD Mohammed

“I really enjoyed watching them pray, and seeing the similarities and differences between their method of prayer and ours. I learned a lot more about Islam, and I loved hearing how passionate each person was about their faith. Getting a henna tattoo was a really fun way to learn more about their customs.”

Learning to put on a hijab

Learning to put on a hijab

Suspended Coffee

Morning Prayer: Suspended Coffee
May 1, 2014
Prayer by Carole Ann ’14

I’d like to share a story I came across a while ago:

2 friends entered a coffeehouse and gave their orders. They took their coffee, and they approached their table. Shortly after, 2 people came into the coffeehouse and went to the counter. “Five coffees, please.” they said, “ two for us and three suspended.” They paid for their order, took the two coffees, and left. One of the friends, confused, asked the other what a suspended coffee was. The friend, answering, said, “Wait for it and you will see.” Some more people entered the coffeehouse and ordered 7 coffees. There were 3 of them, and 4 were to be suspended. While the first friend still wondered what was going on, a man entered the coffeehouse, dressed in shabby clothes and presumably homeless. He walked to the counter and kindly asked “Do you have a suspended coffee?” And shortly after was given a coffee free of charge. He sat down, took a sip, and smiled.

The idea was simple: people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who cannot afford a warm beverage. The tradition of suspended coffee started in Naples, Italy, but has spread all over the world, and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee but also a sandwich or a whole meal.

It’s a simple act of generosity, a way to pay it forward in a small but never unnoticed way.

I encourage all of you to take the time to perform small acts of kindness and generosity, especially as the end of the year approaches. Find ways to show those around your appreciation for what they do for you, and seniors especially, cherish every moment you have left together. Take the time to reach out of your comfort zone and do something thoughtful for someone else. Discover your own way to pay it forward. Discover your own suspended coffee.

Let us pray.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for everything you have blessed us with. Remind us to be thoughtful and considerate of others, and give us the inspiration to go out and perform acts of kindness and generosity on a daily basis.

In your name we pray,


Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Pray for Us.


An Interview With God

Morning Prayer: An Interview With God
April 29, 2014
Prayer by Christopher ’14

I dreamed I had an interview with God.

“Come in,” God said. “So, you would like to interview me?”

“If you have the time,” I said.

God smiled and said:
“My time is eternity and is enough to do everything; What questions do you have in mind to ask me?”

“What surprises you most about mankind?”

God answered:
“That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again…

That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health…

That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future…

That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived.”

God’s hands took mine and we were silent for awhile and then I asked… “As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”

God replied with a smile:
“To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved…

To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives…

To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis…

To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least…

To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them…

To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness…

To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings…

To learn that money can buy everything but happiness…

To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally different…

To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them, and likes them anyway…

To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves.”

I sat there for awhile enjoying the moment. I thanked Him for his time and for all that He has done for me and my family, and He replied, “Anytime. I’m here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me, and I’ll answer.”

Dear Lord,

We always have so much to learn from you, so as we approach the end of this school year, let us slow down and appreciate everything and everyone that we have around us.  May we enjoy our time with you and with others so that we can practice the love and forgiveness that you understand so well.

Amen.  Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Pray for Us.

Holy Week

Morning Prayer: Holy Week
April 14, 2014
Prayer by Fr. Joel Konzen, S.M., Principal of Marist School

A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, I was sitting in a student desk in a Marist classroom.  It was the first hour that day of a debate and speech tournament that Marist was hosting.  I was listening to 10-minute prepared speeches that high school students from around Georgia were giving.  I was surprised when the last speaker moved to the front of the room and began with a statement saying in blunter terms than I’m using that all her life she had been thought of as unattractive and, as a result, made fun of to the point of spending most of her days miserable and depressed.  She recounted locking herself in bathroom stalls at school so that she could escape taunts from classamtes, and she described the effect of her mother’s death, which further complicated her situation.  Her outlet, more and more, had come to be writing, and especially writing about her experiences.  It seemed to have been her saving grace.

The Marist student who sat beside me and the three other people in the room were, I’m sure, no less surprised than I was.  I was left pondering the fact that this girl didn’t have to think about what she would use as her subject; it was obvious to her that the subject was what she was bearing and contending with every day.

All of us are trying to get better each day at feeling what someone else is feeling and trying to understand their experiences.  This requires a healthy portion of respect.  I am glad for the respect that Marist students show each other and those outside the school on a daily basis, and I’m glad for the lessons and the advice that Marist teachers and coaches give in the area of respecting others.

In this week that we call Holy Week, when we remember the sufferings of Jesus because he was human, because he was one of us, let us pray that we can recognize the value of those whose experience is different from ours and that we can respond in love and respect to any cry of anguish or plea for help that we might hear today and each day to come.  In that way, we accompany Jesus on His journey from abandonment and pain in his last hours to the new life and joy that comes with leaving behind doubts and uncertainties that weigh us down.

Let us pray.

In the name of the Father…  O God, you who show us the path out of our own worries by calling us to serve others and to think of their needs over our own, give us the way to see your Son Jesus in those in distress and to reach out to them in care and respect.  Because of the abundant life that we have been given in Christ, our joy, may we express our thanks to you this week by helping others to carry their crosses as we shoulder our own burdens.  We praise you for what we can learn from the suffering of Jesus, and we hope we can imitate his ways and finally follow him to everlasting life.  In Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom,Pray for Us.

Safety First

This week we welcome students from Marist Fuerstenzell, a Marist School in Germany, who are part of the German Exchange Program.

Erwin Gierl, teacher and chaperone, gave this mornings prayer:

“Safety first”, the pilot had said and so we arrived more than one hour later in Atlanta due to technical problems.

What can make me safe in my life?  Money?  Success?  Possessions?  They are all fleeting.

What makes me safe is faith – though I can only believe and not prove.  But knowing that our Lord is always with me gives me strength and the feeling of safety.

Thank you for praying for Marist Fuerstenzell.

Thank you for your warm welcome here in Atlanta.

Thank you for making this exchange program possible for our young people.

Knowing that I have friends all over the world makes me safe.

The Lord’s Prayer

Vater unser im Himmel,
geheiligt werde dein Name;
dein Reich komme;
dein Wille geschehe,
wie im Himmel so auf Erden.
Unser tägliches Brot gib uns heute.
Und vergib uns unsere Schuld,
wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern;
und führe uns nicht in Versuchung,
sondern erlöse uns von dem Bösen.

Denn dein ist das Reich und die Kraft
und die Herrlichkeit in Ewigkeit.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.


Morning Prayer: Choices
April 2, 2014
Prayer by Sara Adelaide ’16 and Ansley ’16:

 SADD color

Continuing the theme of “Making  Good Choices” for Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) week, we would like to begin prayer with a poem:


by Allen Steble

We all have a choice
to live a lie
or be ourselves
to laugh and cry
or to follow someone else

to look up and smile
or bow down and frown
to walk the whole mile
or take off our crown

We have a choice
to shout out loud
or chant a whisper
to fly through the clouds
or to be blown like paper

to conquer our fear
or hide in the shadow
to the wise words hear
or be thrown out the window

We all have a choice
to climb our highest mountain
or fall into our deepest hole
to drink from life’s fountain
or live life like a troubled soul

to learn love in the heart
or grasp to hate with regret
to wake up and start
or sleep until sunset

We all have a choice
to speak truly with ourselves
or go against what seems

We all have a choice
to fulfill our greatest dreams


We chose this poem because it talks about the daily decisions and choices we have to make in our lives and how our choices can impact ourselves, others, and who we are.

Let us pray –

This is another day, O Lord.  I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be.  If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.  If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly.  If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently.  And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly.  Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Mary, seat of wisdom… Pray for us.


Morning Prayer: Mary
March 24, 2014
Prayer by Fr. John Harhager, S.M., President of Marist School:

March is Women’s History Month.  This is our opportunity to remember all of the great women who contributed much to our world, our country, our church and to our school community.

It is fitting for our school and during this Season of Lent that we remember Mary – the most important woman in Church history.  She was the first disciple, the faithful disciple, the one who stayed with Jesus to the last.  We are told in John’s Gospel that she was present at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and was also there at the foot of the cross at the end.  She perfectly models for us: Discipleship.

The 13th century hymn, the “Stabat Mater,” is traditionally sung during the Stations of the Cross.  I invite you to pray with me as I recite a few of the verses of this beautiful hymn:

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

O thou Mother! Fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

Mary, seat of wisdom… Pray for us.