New sculpture honors Blessed Marie Rose

New sculpture honors Blessed Marie Rose

Mrs. Emily Humphries, Director of Public Relations and Communication

Art Department Chair Mrs. Sharon West, artist Sister Paula Turnbull, and Academy President Dr. Harry Purpur pose for a commemorative photo beside the new statue of Blessed Mother Marie Rose.

Ashley Orosco, Video Editor

Caroline de Quesada and Michelle Ebrada, Achona Staff

On October 6,  Academy celebrated, as it always does every year, the feast day of Blessed Marie Rose Durocher, the foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.  However, this year’s celebration had an added feature – the dedication of a beautful wood and copper sculpture of Blessed Marie Rose created by Sister Paula Turnbull, SNJM,  from Spokane, Washington. 

The incentive for this tribute to Blessed Marie Rose originated when Sister Paula, as a Visiting Artist, was a guest of Academy two years ago, hosted by the Art Department. During this visit,  Fine Arts Coordinator Mrs. Sharon West and Sister Mary Glavin interested Sister Paula in creating a statue that would grace the Academy campus and stand as a reminder of the mission of the school and the Sisters of Holy Names.

Sister Paula, who enjoys creating works of art with her hands and gathers her inspiration from nature, said she wanted the statue to say “welcome” to all who view it as they enter the main lobby of the school from Bayshore.

In her address to the school community at the end of the Mass, Sister Ann Regan drew attention to the artist’s detailed rendering of Blessed Marie Rose’s  glasses, soft hands, and the book she holds.  The glasses, made from copper, crown the statue with “wisdom and understanding”; the open hand represents the “openness that Blessed Marie Rose had towards other people”; the book could be the Bible or just a symbol of her passion and vision for education.

As part of  Sister Ann’s inspiring reflection during the celebration, “Passion will lead to great things.” Blessed Marie Rose’s passion was for the education of children and young women.  The all-school Mass reflected Blessed Marie Rose’s vision and the fruits of her labor – a mission that started many years ago. Her mission continues with the announcement at the Mass of a scholarship drive at the Academy to sponsor a student to attend a Holy Names school in Maseru, Lesotho, located in Africa.

Sister Ann stated three key components in pursuing a dream similar to one that Blessed Marie Rose held: vision, strength, and faith. The first component involves vision to see the dream and to understand what it takes to achieve it. The next aspect demands strength to carry out the dream with passion and dedication. Finally, and most importantly, the component of faith encourages believers to know it is possible to achieve a dream with the guidance of God. 

In the tradition of “Esse Quam Videri,” Sister Ann continues to inspire the community today with her own passion for education. Another example  on this feast day of dedication to education is Sister Mary Patricia Plumb, who worked tirelessly preparing for the mass and preparing the new Eucharistic ministers for their debut. The new Eucharistic ministers included Arlyn Barlaan, Chandler Cartwright, Anna Cevallos, Isabaella Cogdill, Alexandra Diaz, Grace Gonzalez, Allison Mangan, Reena Martinez, Alina Meador, Anne Polo, Tyler Ruppel, Maria Sager, Amanda Schifino, and Ciara Alvarez. In her typical humble manner, Sister Mary Patricia views her duties as “exciting, rather than as stressful.” 

The Mass commenced with one of Blessed Marie Rose’s favorite songs, “I Put My Trust in You,”  by the worship band and chorus.   MonsignorJoseph McCahon (“Father Joe” ) set the theme of the day with the parable of the scattered seeds, connecting this reading to the idea of Blessed Marie Rose scattering her seeds on good soil. In fact, Father added, within five years after Blessed Marie Rose’s school opened, she had hired thirty teachers and was educating about four hundred and fifty students.   In this way, Father Joe explained, the educational mission of the Sisters of  the Holy Names has grown  over a hundredfold, fulfilling her vision of education.

Thus, Father concluded, the passion and vision of Blessed Marie Rose Durocher, initiated in the early 1800s, clearly remains today. Her instruction to “cast fire upon the earth” continues to inspire not only individuals in religious orders, but educators and students alike.

The Mass was a celebration of not only Blessed Mother Marie Rose, but also, of the SNJM community. Sister Margaret and Sister Emma, among others, believed Blessed Marie-Rose’s spirit was present during the ceremony.  As Dr. Purpur stated, many Sisters found it inspiring to see the student body, faculty, and guests gathered  together as “one Body of Christ.”

After the Mass, the Sisters gathered for a celebration reception, coordinated by Executive Assistant Maureen Martineau and assisted by Mrs. West, who also arranged for the mini-white rose corsages the Sisters wore in honor of the feast day of their foundress.