Written on: August 27, 2019
On a sunny Sunday morning in August we welcomed former students, teachers, families, Grey Nuns, and friends to our former Motherhouse chapel to say a fond farewell to Grey Nun Academy, and to thank God for all the blessings of the last 55 years of Academy history. We celebrated Eucharist together in our beloved Sacred Heart Chapel, then celebrated at other tables where friendships were rekindled, and memories and memorabilia were shared.
At the first table, bread and wine mingled to remind us that from death comes life. Afterwards, at different tables, laughter mingled with tears to remind us that what we love and all that we taught and learned at GNA lives on in each one of us.
These past few months have been filled with the long goodbye to Grey Nun Academy. At the end of the 2018-2019 academic year, it was clear that the Academy was not financially sustainable. The decision to close the school was a difficult and heartbreaking one. As a Congregation, we knew what had to be done, but the Trustees and Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart Leadership were also heartsick knowing that the lives of so many people would be impacted by the closure.
In equal measure we mourned for the students and their families, for the dedicated teachers and support staff, and for ourselves. We were closing the door to a school and a community that we loved.
Rev. Timothy Lyons, a Vincentian friend, led us through the beautifully prepared liturgy. The words of Sister Eileen White brought us into the celebration by recalling the many Sisters who contributed to the building up of the school. Sr. Eileen also shared the words of former teacher and principal Joanne Cornell. Later, Jean Kuhn shared memories of her days as student and parent. Sister Dolores Beatty’s memories and Sister Denise Roche’s words of comfort reflected different aspects of the very life of St. Marguerite d’Youville, present in a special way in the daisies near the altar and in front of her statue.
The Academy is closed, but the spirit of those participating in the liturgy reminded all present that the life work of St. Marguerite and the charism of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart will live on through each and every person who came through Grey Nun Academy.
Our spirits were lifted by all who came to bid goodbye along with us. Sacred Heart Chapel and Grey Nun Academy will live in our memories, sacred as the people we carry forever in our hearts.