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Scholarship gift for woman attending Catholic college

Members of the Trinity College Class of 1968 will celebrate their 50th reunion this year and to enhance the celebration will present a one-time gift of $4,000 to a Catholic woman attending an accredited Catholic college or university. 
 
“While we came from different backgrounds and different educations … we had three things in common,” noted class member Mary Cheney of Charlotte. “We were women; we chose to pursue/attain an undergraduate degree; we chose to pursue this degree at a Catholic College.”
 
Trinity College in Burlington was a small, Catholic women’s liberal arts college founded by the Sisters of Mercy. It closed in 2001, but the Trinity College of Vermont Association of Alumni and Friends remains active.
 
“We are looking for a woman [to receive the gift] who is a reflection of ourselves 50 years ago,” said Carol Lyons Muller of Hinesburg, another member of the Class of 1968. “We wanted this gift to go to another woman who was reminiscent of ourselves.”
 
The objective of the gift is to encourage Catholic women to pursue their undergraduate degree within the community of a Catholic institution of higher education.
 
“The Catholic education came complete with excellent academics plus a phrase that we heard over and over [from the Sisters of Mercy]: ‘Don’t forget who you are and what you represent,’” Muller said.
 
Graduating high school seniors or adult students attending a post-secondary school for the first time are eligible for the gift. Candidates do not need to be from Vermont, and the school does not need to be in Vermont. 
 
The gift will be for the 2018-2019 academic year.
 
The $4,000 will come from Class of 1968 donors. “At our 45th reunion, about 20 of us were having dinner in downtown Burlington and talked about making the 50th a really big splash,” Muller said. “We decided then to raise money for a class gift. By the end of dinner we had about $300 seed money, and it has grown from there.”
 
Contributions have come from the class members, and in one case, from the brother of a deceased class member. 
 
The majority of the Class of 1968 received some form of financial aid from Trinity College; many of them were the first generation of their family to attend college. “We matured at Trinity; it gave us a solid foundation on which to build our adult lives,” Muller said. “We are heartsick that the school closed, but that’s history now. We want another woman to know that, while we are helping her, someone else helped us. If our dollars can ease her way, perhaps she can pay it forward when she is, as we are now, women ‘of a certain age’ and looking back at what was important.”
 
The application deadline for the gift is April 15.
 
For more information, to obtain an application or to make a monetary contribution, call 802-578-4601.

 
 
 

Obituary: Mary Markle McNamara

Mary M. McNamara died Dec. 16 at the McClure Miller VNA Respite House in Colchester. She was a former executive director of Vermont Catholic Charities Inc.
 
She was born in Burlington on April 7, 1941, the daughter of Ruth (McGovern) Markle and Ralph Markle, both of whom predeceased her. Her husband Dan, whom she married in 1982, predeceased her in 2005. She was also predeceased by her cousin, Judy Moriarty, in 2014.

Mary was educated in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy from kindergarten through college at Mount St. Mary’s elementary and high school and at Trinity College in Burlington. She received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Trinity College and a master’s in social work from the State University of New York in Albany.
 
She began her social work career at the Vermont Catholic Charities Inc. in 1963, becoming executive director in 1998 and retiring in 2008. After completing her work for the Diocese, she delivered flowers for Chappell's Florist.

She is survived by her sister, Pat Markle, and nephews Josh (Elly), Seth and Ben (Carrie) as well as by extended family and friends.
 
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 11 a.m. in the Sacred Heart Chapel at Mount St. Mary Convent, 100 Mansfield Ave., Burlington. Visitation will be prior to the service beginning at 9.
 
Burial will follow at Resurrection Park in South Burlington. 
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Sisters of Mercy jubilarians

The Sisters of Mercy – Northeast Community celebrated jubilees for five sisters in Vermont who, collectively, have provided nearly 350 years of service to the Green Mountain State.
 
A special liturgy at the Mount St. Mary Convent chapel in Burlington honored the jubilarian sisters on Sept. 24. After Mass, a celebratory luncheon took place at the convent for Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates.
 
Vermont’s jubilarian have brought the works of Mercy to schools and parishes, hospitals, nursing homes, social service agencies and food pantries throughout the state.
 
Today, they work, volunteer, pray for people in need and advocate for social justice. Their advocacy work includes participating in rallies and vigils, working for change on behalf of women, the climate and immigrants, and seeking an end to racism and violence.
 
The Vermont Sisters of Mercy marking jubilees are:
 
75th jubilarians
Sister Germaine Compagna, 94, is the founder of a hospitality ministry at Mount St. Mary Convent, which serves women who have family members in treatment at the University of Vermont Medical Center. She also serves in prayer ministry.
 
 
Sister Jane Frances Matte, 95, is a former teacher who brought Communion to people at the medical center and a local nursing home. She now serves in prayer ministry.
 
70th jubilarian
Sister Gertrude Myrick worked as an administrator at the former Trinity College in Burlington; she also served in community leadership and as community archivist. She now volunteers and serves in prayer ministry.
 
60th jubilarians
Sister Jean Marie LaFreniere taught at Mater Christi School for 32 years and now serves in prayer ministry.
 
Sister Lucille MacDonald oversees the needs of the Vermont sisters as local coordinator. She ministered in rural Maine for 34 years, serving those who are homeless and struggling by providing emergency shelters, services and housing.
 
 
In memoriam
The Sisters of Mercy in Vermont remembered Sister Claire Boissy, a 60th jubilarian, who died on Aug. 4. She served at the Institute for Spiritual Development and taught at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington.
  
The religious community extends its gratitude to the jubilarians for their dedicated service as Sisters of Mercy. They are part of a larger jubilarian celebration in the Northeast Community, where 91 sisters with more than 5,900 total years of service are being recognized in a yearlong celebration.
 
About the Sisters of Mercy
 
In Vermont, the Sisters of Mercy sponsor Mater Christi School and Mercy Connections in Burlington and Mercy Farm in Benson. Sisters in the state have long been active in education and social justice.
 
The Sisters of Mercy—an international community of Roman Catholic women—dedicate their lives to God through vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and service.  For more than 180 years, motivated by the Gospel of Jesus and inspired by the spirit of their founder, Catherine McAuley, the Sisters of Mercy have responded to the continually changing needs of the times.
 
Through prayer and service, the sisters address the causes and effects of violence, racism, degradation of Earth and injustice to women and immigrants. The sisters sponsor and serve in more than 200 organizations that work with those in need in the United States, Central and South America, Jamaica, Guam and the Philippines.

Visit the jubilarian website (sistersofmercy.org/northeast/northeast-2017-jubilarians)
to see profiles of these sisters and write a congratulatory message.



 
 

Obituary: Mercy Sister Claire Boissy

Sister Claire Boissy (Sister Mary Bernice), 77, of the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community, Vermont, died at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington on Aug. 4.
 
She was born in Winooski on Nov. 5, 1938, the daughter of Isabelle (Devino) and Arthur Boissy. She attended St. Francis Xavier School in Winooski and Mount St. Mary Academy in Burlington. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Trinity College in Burlington and a master’s in Sacred Scripture from St. Mary's College in Norte Dame, Ind.
 
She entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 8, 1957, and professed her vows on Aug. 16, 1960. She taught at Mater Christi School and Mount St. Mary Academy in Burlington and at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington. She also taught religious education in several parishes of the Diocese of Burlington.
 
Sister Boissy served on the General Administration for the Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy, Vermont; she also served on the Initial Formation Team and was director of novices for the regional community.
 
She was involved in national leadership, serving on the governing board for the Federation of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas; chairperson of the Leadership Board -- Religious Formation Conference and chairperson of the New England Region of the Religious Formation Conference.
 
In 1989 Sister Boissy became director of the Institute for Spiritual Development, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy. She was also a spiritual director.
 
She is survived by her sister-in-law, Blanche Boissy; many nieces and nephews; and her sisters in religion, the Sisters of Mercy. She was predeceased by her parents, her sister Pauline, and brothers Paul and Clayton Boissy.
 
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 11 a.m. in the Mount St. Mary chapel. Visiting hours will be 6 to 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 8, at Mount St. Mary's. 
 

BioBlitz at Mercy Farm

The 39-acre Mercy Farm in Benson is home to at least 36 moth species, more than two dozen types of trees, a half dozen spore bearer varieties, two score of plants, 42 types of birds, a dozen insects and a dozen animals, eight types of aquatic life and three Sisters of Mercy.
 
It’s easy to count the sisters who live at the eco-spiritual center but difficult to count the other forms of life that call it home.
 
Thanks to a recent “BioBlitz,” the sisters have a better handle on just what is living with them on the religious congregation’s property.
 
The May BioBlitz was a 24-hour period of intense biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species on the farm.
 
According to Sister Betty Secord, program director, the survey was valuable in showing how full of life the land is and how connected each form of life is to others. “The desire came from our sense that we are connected. All of creation is interconnected,” she said.
 
According to the Mercy Farm website, “Spiritual practice invites us to contemplate and engage in the world in an intentional way that is dedicated to developing a more insightful, mature relationship with self and the world – a way that is profoundly meaningful and fulfilling.”
 
During this Year of Creation in Vermont called for by Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, the BioBlitz drew attention to the need to care for all of God’s creation. “If we’re all part of creation, all part of God’s gift of love through nature, when one part of our body hurts, we all hurt,” said Sister Secord, director of the BioBlitz at Mercy Farm. “Everything is a manifestation of God’s love.”
 
But she lamented that much of society has become “consumers” rather than “citizens,” disconnected from creation. “We are raping the Earth for comfort and profit,” she said. “We are not living within our means. We are consuming too fast for the Earth to recoup. We are taking much more than we actually need. Consumerism is a major issue.”
 
So at Mercy Farm, visitors can connect with one another, with nature and with their deepest self. “It’s important that we have places like this in the world where people can get away from everyday life and get that sense of relationship,” Sister Secord said.
 
It’s also a place where, according to the BioBlitz, visitors just might see a clover looper moth, a quaking aspen, a prickly ash, an inky cap, a hairy vetch, an ox-eye daisy or a dog violet.
 
There will also be wild geraniums, robins, crows, June bugs, caterpillars, fox, red maples and crayfish.
 
Forty-two volunteers and 30 participants attended the BioBlitz, recording their findings in categories including trees, basic botany, spore bearers, animal signs, insects, moths, aquatic life and birds. A group of naturalists lead the effort.
 
No recommendations for improvements to the farm’s ecosystem were made. “They seemed to think we have a complete ecosystem here,” Sister Secord said of the experts.
 
She plans to share the information from the BioBlitz with visitors and said it will be important information for future planning for the property.
 
The BioBlitz also included a Master Gardener display, an astronomy talk, a lesson on growing mushrooms, a bat-banding demonstration and a scavenger hunt.
 

Obituary: Sister Mary Clare Naramore

Sister of Mercy Mary Clare Naramore, 102, of the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community, Vermont, died at Mount St. Mary Convent in Burlington on April 12, in her 73rd year of religious life.
 
She was born in Lowell on May 28, 1914, the daughter of Louise (Stephenson) and Donald Naramore. She attended Lowell grade school and Peoples' Academy in Morrisville. She also attended Strayer Business College in Washington, D.C., and graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in education.
 
Before entering the Sisters of Mercy, she taught in Lowell Village and Westfield schools and worked as a clerk in the Valley Savings Bank.
 
She became a Catholic in 1942; she entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 8, 1944, and made her profession of vows on May 16, 1947.
 
She taught in parochial schools in Burlington, Barre and Montpelier. Following her retirement from education, Sister Naramore served as a volunteer missionary to Matsu, China, for 11 years. When she returned from China, she worked in prison and hospital ministry.
 
She is survived by her nieces, Mary Speroni and Nancy Naramore; a cousin, Irene Hayes; and by her sisters in religion, the Sisters of Mercy. She was predeceased by her parents and her brother, William Naramore.
 
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, at 11 a.m. in Mount St. Mary Chapel. Visiting hours will be 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 17, at Mount St. Mary's. 
 

Obituary: Sister of Mercy Joyce Barrett

BURLINGTON--Sister Of Mercy Joyce Barrett (Sister Mary Petronilla), 84, of the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community died at Mount St. Mary Convent Sept. 28.
 
She was born in Burlington on Dec. 3, 1931, the daughter of Eveline (Blanchette) Barrett and Daniel Barrett. She attended Mount St. Mary grammar and high schools, received a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in Burlington and a master’s degree from St. Michael's College in Colchester.
 
She entered the Sisters of Mercy on Aug. 15, 1949, and was professed on Aug. 18, 1952.
 
Sister Barrett taught for 25 years at Mount St. Mary, Christ the King and Cathedral Grammar schools in Burlington, Marian High School in Barre and Winooski High School. She also worked in religious education in St. Albans, was involved in peace and social justice concerns and was the coordinator of the Mercy Justice Coalition.
 
She ministered as a nurse's aide to the terminally ill at Calvary Hospital and Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center in the Bronx and as the director of health care for the Sisters of Mercy in Burlington. When she was no longer able to be in active ministry, she volunteered at Mount St. Mary Convent.
 
She is survived by her sister, Colleen Pelkey, and her husband, Harry; many nieces and nephews; her sisters in religion, the Sisters of Mercy; and many friends. She was predeceased by her parents, Daniel and Eveline Barrett; her sisters Lorraine Barrett (Sister Mary Charles), Arlene Barrett and Kathleen Dannehy; and her brother, Norman Barrett.
 
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3, at Mount St. Mary Chapel.
 
 

Showing, sowing, growing mercy

At Mercy Farm in Benson, the Sisters of Mercy are creating a place where people can experience peace and quiet and a sense of contemplation, reverence and care for the Earth. 

Here the importance of the Earth and its care are emphasized, and visitors are encouraged to find ways they can care for it: organic gardening, recycling, composting, using solar power and reusing, for example.

Here visitors can experience God in creation; one college student returned to her Catholic faith after a visit to the farm.

Three Sisters of Mercy live on the farm that was once Lumen Christi retreat center and before that a Benedictine residence: Sister Elizabeth Secord has been at the farm since 2013 and is the program manager; Sister Holly Cloutier, the farm manager, as been here since 2010; and Sister Mary Quinn, the business manager, has lived here since 2013.

Here in the quiet, “God has a chance to get through,” Sister Secord said.

There is a plaque in the farm kitchen that reads, “Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.”

Officially known as Mercy Ecology Inc. at Mercy Farm, it offers self-directed and directed retreats, group rentals (including recovery retreats and yoga) school programs including the Classroom Around Us and Human Impact on the Landscape, liturgical programs and farm experiences like preparing gardens, planting and stacking wood. Staff members also help visitors design their own programs on topics like canning, bread making and quilting.

The sisters care for the Earth through environmental education, organic gardening and sustainable living practices that include solar energy for about 85 percent of their electric needs.

Located on 39 acres ­— including eight conserved acres — the farm facilities include six bedrooms and three bathrooms for guests, a chapel/meeting room, a library, an art room and quiet space. There is a bee yard with hives and a barn with 20 solar panels. Two sheep — Bailey and Dexter — and numerous egg-laying hens live on the farm that draws guests from throughout the Northeast and from as far away as the southern states and England, Australia and Guam.

Produce from the gardens is used for guests, donated to the Fair Haven Concerned Food Shelf and shared with neighbors.

Visitors sometimes work in the gardens.

“We help [visitors] reverence the Earth and get a sense of the Earth,” Sister Secord said.

Owned by the Sisters of Mercy of the Northeast for more than a dozen years, the property is now focused on ecology; “healing of the Earth” is a focus of the religious order once primarily engaged in teaching and now also focused on women and children.

“We want to help people understand that the materialism and consumerism people experience causes us to be greedy,” Sister Secord said. “We want to help them understand the need to cut back on some of our consumption.”

She said that even though people have many “things,” many are still not spiritually fulfilled: “People still feel hungry and empty.”


                                                

‘If you are connected to the Earth, you’re fulfilled.
I see God in the Earth. I see God in all of life.’


— Sister Elizabeth Secord


                                                

 

The sisters hope to help people realize more and more that things they buy cannot fulfill them. “If you are connected to the Earth, you’re fulfilled,” she said. “I see God in the Earth. I see God in all of life.”

In his encyclical, “Laudato si,’ on Care for Our Common Home,” Pope Francis wrote: “The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: Everything is, as it were, a caress of God.”

Marking the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace launched a new website dedicated to the document and efforts throughout the world to put its teaching into practice.

The site — www.laudatosi.va — “witnesses not only to the impact of the encyclical, but also the creativity and generosity of the people of God everywhere in the world,” said Cardinal Peter Turkson, council president.

Sisters of Mercy, said Sister Quinn, consider care of the Earth a “critical concern.”

They seek to address that concern through mercy and ecology. “Mercy is compassion” and includes “compassion for Earth and all living things,” Sister Secord said. 

“Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth,” the pope wrote.

People need to “get with it,” Sister Cloutier said, and realize the severity of climate change and humans’ effect on the Earth.

“Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change,” the pope said.

To arrange a visit to Mercy Farm, call 802-537-4531.

Article written by Cori Fugere Urban, Vermont Catholic staff writer.
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