Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sister Needs a Roof

Last week the wife and I went to visit our alma mater, St. Patrick School.  We both attended St. Pat’s through the 60s in what was then called the “new” school.  The Sisters drove into Lowell daily in a station wagon with 8 nuns crowded in, complete with habit and black briefcases.  St. Pat’s was also my first teaching assignment once I got my certification.  I loved the place as a child, as a new teacher, and now as an alumnus.  Sr. Joanne Sullivan is the current principal.  She is one of the Sisters of Notre Dame who currently staff the school as they have for the last 160 years.  Mother Desiree began with 5 Sisters in 1852.  Sr. Joanne works with 7 Sisters and a very devoted lay staff.  The work that Mother Desiree began those many decades ago continues with Sr. Joanne, to teach the new people who make the Acre their home. 

When we entered the building Sr. Joanne was answering the phone.  That day she was playing secretary and principal.  She still took time to chat with us in between giving hugs to kids and answering parents’ questions.  Talk about multi-tasking.  Those of you who have worked with nuns know where the conversation went next.  Sister asked when I’d be available to help out with a new project she has going to celebrate the school’s 160th anniversary.  You see, this is how schools like St. Pat’s have survived and working with Sisters for many years has engrained something within me.  From whom much was given, much is expected.  Sister knows this very well.  The SNDs have many wonderful schools and they are well known for their high school academies and institutions of higher learning.  Sr. Joanne could have a very nice position anywhere else and make her life much easier.  But no, she and her Sisters have chosen Lowell and the Acre. A number of years ago, the parish found that it could no longer support the school.  The SNDs took on that great task and much of that burden was taken on by Sr. Joanne.  She raises the money.  She writes the grants.  She pays the rent (yes, they pay rent for the building).  She pays the salaries.  She knows the story of each and every family in that school.
In the middle of our chat Sister said, “I need a roof.”  The new school is not so new anymore.  The roof leaks, literally.  So on top of all she does she needs to raise money for a roof.  We try to give back when we can.  I know many alumni and people who share the mission of the school do what they can.  I am humbly and earnestly asking that if any readers, in this season of giving, feel called to help out.  Please do so.  She needs your help.  They need your help.  If you can please do what you can now.  Their need is immediate.  I feel like Bing Crosby in The Bells of Saint Mary’s.  If you can’t give, offer a prayer.  You can contact Sister Joanne at St. Patrick School 311 Adams St.  Lowell, MA 01854.  Or take a look at their website

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