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BNI alumna salutes alma mater as it approaches 100 years

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Lillian Schreiner Radigan, a 1938 graduate of Catholic Central High School, is shown on her 99th birthday in January 2019. She is believed to be Bishop Noll Institute’s oldest living graduate. (Provided photo)


Special to the NWIC


      HAMMOND – As Bishop Noll Institute alumni around the world ring in 2021, they may reflect on the lessons of their Catholic faith and pray for a brighter new year for all. One alumna, believed to be Bishop Noll’s oldest living graduate as she celebrates her 101st birthday this month, continues to show that faith daily while living in Mesa, Ariz.

      Lillian Schreiner Radigan, a 1938 graduate of Catholic Central High School, was the ninth of 11 siblings to attend Catholic Central High School, now Bishop Noll Institute.

      In fact, the Schreiner family has been part of the Noll legacy since the school was established.

      On Catholic Central’s first day of classes, Sept. 16, 1921, George Schreiner, Lillian’s oldest brother, was in attendance. Her parents, John L. and Henrietta Schreiner, continued sending children to the school for three decades, until the youngest, Carol, graduated in 1950. A number of the 11 siblings also sent their children to Bishop Noll, and next-generation descendants attended Noll until 1990.

      During Lillian Schreiner’s time at Catholic Central, she met her future husband, James F. Radigan Sr., and made lifelong best friends, she said. She enjoyed her time at the school and is thankful for its positive impact on her family.

      Although currently unable to have visitors due to safety measures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Radigan is thankful to be able to spend time with friends who live in the same building. She also keeps in touch with her family by phone and has even FaceTimed with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

      During the recent Christmas season, Radigan was happy to share a Christmas message with fellow BNI alumni, urging them to keep their faith.

      “I was very into praying the Rosary since I was very little and my mother was, too, so I would say pray the Rosary,” she said. “It’s a weapon that will carry you through any bad time in your life. It’s marvelous.

      “And have hope, even in the dilemma we are in today with the whole world in such a mess. You cannot give up hope. There’s always hope and, one day, I'm still waiting for the Immaculate Heart of Mary to triumph.”

      Radigan, who prays the Rosary every morning and night, said it’s a great comfort to her, as is her faith, instilled in her through her family and the Catholic education she received.

      As Noll continues to celebrate its centennial school year, families like the Schreiners, with their longstanding history at the school, make it especially momentous.

      “I think it’s wonderful,” Radigan said of the school’s 100th anniversary. “I just celebrated mine last January, and it was wonderful. I enjoyed my years at Catholic Central, and it set me along my path. I think if you have a good foundation, you can weather any storm. It doesn’t make any difference what the problem is, it’s always solvable with a good foundation.”

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