As Bishop Noll alumni around the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, they will 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 alum as she approaches her 101st birthday, continues to show that faith daily at her residence in Mesa, Ariz.
Lillian Schreiner Radigan, a 1938 graduate of Catholic Central High School, was the ninth of 11 siblings to attend Catholic Central, now known as Bishop Noll Institute.
In fact, the Schreiners have been part of the Bishop Noll legacy since Day One.
On Catholic Central’s first day of class on 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 11th, 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’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 she is currently unable to have visitors due to safety measures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lillian 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 her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
As the Christmas season neared, Lillian said she was happy to share a Christmas message with her fellow alumni. She wished to tell 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.”
Lillian, who prays the rosary every morning and night, said it’s a great comfort to her, as is her faith, instilled to her through her family and the Catholic education she received.
As Bishop Noll continues to celebrate its 100th school year, families like the Schrieners, with their longstanding history in the school, make it especially momentous.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Lillian said of the school’s 100th. “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 but it’s always solvable with a good foundation.”