Academy celebrates Blessed Marie Rose and SND Sisters at all-school Mass

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Alexandra Diaz

First-grader Ian Ramirez shares a special moment with Sister Dolores Wheel as he hands her a rose.

Michelle Ebrada and Christina Gerecke

During the morning on October 5, the Academy of the Holy Names celebrated the 201st anniversary of Blessed Marie Rose Durocher with a beautiful Mass that commenced with a violin performance by Sister Lisa Perkowski, a teacher in the Fine Arts Department, accompanied by Ms. Linda Ruescher, Campus Music Minister.

Mr. Art Raimo, President of Academy, passionately voiced the impact and devotion the sisters have had on this institution beginning over 100 years ago.  As a community of the Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa, Mr. Raimo emphasized joining the rest of the Holy Names’ community throughout our country and the rest of the world in celebrating this day.

Father  Steve Ryan, SDB, new director of the Salesian Community of Tampa and Mary Help of Christians Center, captured everyone’s attention during his intereactive homily of God’s calling. He first opened  with an overview of the example set by Blessed Marie Rose Durocher, who had to face and overcome challenges before entering into the convent.  It was through the lessons of perseverance, which she learned in her early life, that she gathered the strength to lead a group of dedicated religious women  in helping her build schools for children and young women in Canada and the United States that centered on the ” the full development of the human person through education, social justice, contemplation and the arts.”

Father Ryan requested that a student volunteer to decide between a golden box or a roll of toilet paper. The young boy chose the golden box,  which he opened only to find it contained a peanut. Then Father  revealed that the toilet paper contained a $20 bill.  The lesson Father wished to illustrate is that looks are deceiving.

At the end of the Mass, the tradition of the sisters receiving their symbolic roses touched everyone’s spirits as the sisters affirmed their commitment to the sisterhood and to their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.