Our Lady Oak
- photos courtesy OLA
Our Lady Oak, a prominent live oak tree on the Our Lady Academy campus was struck by lightning on March 11, 2016.
To some it may seem like just a tree, but to the students and faculty at Our Lady Academy it was tradition. It was estimated to have been two-hundred-fifty years old and was put on the Historical Tree Registry in 2014.
“Lots of hurricanes blew through the area during my 30+ years at OLA,” says Our Lady Academy Former President and Principal, Sister Jackie Howard.
On the Shoofly
“Two were significant - Elena and Katrina. In both cases, the tree was stripped bare - no Spanish moss, no leaves, just bare branches. It looked so pitiful! Both times I called an arborist at MSU and hired him to come down and evaluate the tree. Both times, it was declared sound. Both times it came back.”
Unfortunately, this time was different. Half of the tree had fallen due to the damage caused by the strike. After consulting many arborists, the decision to remove the tree was made in regard to the safety of the students and faculty members. The tree had suffered not only external damages from the lightning but also internal damages from decaying after so many years.
Our Lady Oak was an important aspect to Our Lady Academy. “Many generations of women lived, laughed, cried, prayed, and studied under its branches. Our Lady Oak was always there to welcome us long after we graduated. Just like our ties to OLA, the trees roots go deep,” says Our Lady Academy alumnae Shannon Collins.
In proper Our Lady Academy fashion, there was a prayer ceremony to honor and say goodbye to the tree. “When we came back from spring break the tree was gone, but the light shone even brighter at Our Lady Academy,” says OLA Principal Darnell Cuevas.
Our Lady Oak will be missed.