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'Fashion Show of Ga-Baaa-Ge'

Twelve-year-old Danny Kiniry had a wardrobe malfunction before the St. Monica-St. Michael School “Fashion Show of Ga-Baaa-Ge,” an event that was supposed to sound fancy even though models were wearing outfits created from recycled materials.
 
The sixth grader’s stovepipe hat lost its bubble-wrap top, but he made do with the microwave dinner dish and recycled paper bottom that sufficed for a fedora. The hat complemented his bubble wrap suit jacket with straw fasteners, recycled construction paper satchel and yogurt-cup headphones.
 
He showed off the outfit as he walked down the “runway” lined with white plastic gallon jug “lights” and green sparkle toile cloth.
 
Classmates Cole Young and Alex Keane, both 12, helped created the recycled fashion statement.
 
“This was fun. You get to show off all the stuff you made,” Danny said.
 
But it was more than fun.
 
The fashion show was part of the Barre Catholic school’s celebration of the Year of Creation in the Diocese of Burlington.
 
“This is a way to show we care for the Earth,” said Mariah, 12, a seventh grader who declined to give her last name. She modeled a prom dress made of newspaper fans by her friend, Autumn Lewis, 13, another seventh grader.
 
“It came out pretty good,” Mariah said. “It was cool to watch her work on it. She’s very artistic.”
 
Autumn too reflected on the meaning of the fashion show highlighting creations made of recycled goods: “God wants us to take care of everything He created.”
 
Added Mariah, “The Earth a gift to us so we have to take care of it.”
 
Spanish teacher Edda Concessi coordinated the event for the students in preschool through grade eight. “Pope Francis asks, ‘What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?’ His answer? ‘It’s up to us.’”
 
She said at St. Monica-St. Michael School caring for the environment is a moral obligation and therefore part of the children’s education.
 
All of the children participated in the fashion show either by modeling fashions made of recyclables, designing the fashions or describing the fashions to the audience of students and family members in the school gym.
 
The fashion show included children wearing hats made of coffee filters and fruit cups and dresses and skirts made of newspapers and bedecked as princesses, pirates, knights, superheroes, a rapper and animals.
 
Other materials included cardboard, plastic grocery bags, bottle caps, fabric, old jeans and paper towel rolls.
 
St. Monica-St. Michael Principal Brenda Buzzell said the fashion show project was a way to show children how to look at what they discard in a different way. “We’re not just telling them to reuse, they are experiencing reuse.”
 
And in the Year of Creation, that is a particularly important lesson. “It’s really our job to leave the Earth better than we found it,” she said. “God gave us the Earth, and by taking care of it and making it better, we are honoring Him. It’s all about taking care of our gifts from God.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Published in Schools

Learn about Divine Mercy

There will be a 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima parish mission from
Sunday, April 30, through Tuesday, May 2, at St. Monica Parish, 79 Summer St., Barre.
 
The featured speaker will be Father Dan Cambra, director of the Marian evangelization team and a member of the Mother of Mercy Province of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
 
The Marians of the Immaculate Conception is the religious community entrusted to spread the message and devotion of The Divine Mercy.
 
He will speak at all weekend masses.
 
Presentations will be on Sunday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m.; Monday, May 1, at 9 a.m.;
Tuesday, May 2, at 9 a.m.
 
Topics include praying for the conversion of souls, praying for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary as a prelude to ushering in the era of The Divine Mercy, the interrelationship of the message of Divine Mercy as revealed to St. Faustina and the message of Our Lady of Fatima as revealed to the three shepherd children.
 
There also will be the opportunity to receive a blessing with a relic of St. Faustina. St. John Paul II canonized her in 2000, making her the first saint of the new millennium. Speaking of her and the importance of the message contained in her diary, the pope called her "the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time."
 
Materials about The Divine Mercy devotion will be available for purchase at the parish mission.
 
For information contact: Teresa Hawes, DRE, at 802-476-4020 or visit thedivinemercy.org/events.
 
 
  • Published in Parish

Christmas pajama project

When the children in the preschool/pre-kindergarten class at St. Monica-St. Michael School in Barre were asked how many of them had warm pajamas to wear this winter and enjoyed bedtime reading, a sea of small hands went up.
 
But they also know that before going to sleep not every child has warm pajamas – or any pajamas – to put on or a book to read – or have read to them.
 
So for the second year, the teachers of the youngest children at the Catholic school are spearheaded a pajama drive, this year opening it not only to members of their class but to the school and wider community as well.
 
Marianne Goodrich and Nancy Durgin, preschool/pre-kindergarten teachers, want their students to understand that there are other children who do not have all that they have and that even the youngest children can help.
 
“They’re learning to be merciful to others,” Durgin said. “They’re learning Jesus wants us to help His people because we’re all His people.”
 
The 18 children in the class are eager to learn and have taken the lessons to heart. “Jesus wants us to be kind to others; that’s what they are doing,” Durgin said.
 
This pre-Christmas pajama drive was done in conjunction with Scholastic Reading Club, which pairs pajamas with an age-appropriate book for each recipient. The sets were donated to a local shelter or shelters.
 
Since 2009, Scholastic Reading Club classrooms have collected and donated nearly 500,000 pairs of pajamas to Pajama Program through the Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive.
 
Brand-new pajamas in all sizes, from newborn to adult, were needed. Pajamas had to be complete sets -- a top and bottom or an appropriate nightgown. The garments were needed for all seasons but especially for the winter months.
 
“Because this is the Year of Mercy, we thought it would be wonderful to include the whole school and local parish, hoping to get the community involved too,” Goodrich said.
 
Some of the children go shopping with their parents to purchase the new pajamas to donate to the drive, sometimes buying ones they would like or already have at home. “They are so excited to bring them in. It makes me happy,” Goodrich said.
 
Popular in the St. Monica-St. Michael preschool/pre-kindergarten pajama world were those bearing images of cats, Batman, Spiderman, Captain America, cows, turtles and trucks. Some of the children like pajamas with feet.
 
Without warm pajamas this winter, children would be cold and sad, said prekindergarten student Sadia Riso.
 
Classmate Alexis Corrigan said it would not be comfortable to sleep in school clothes.
 
So having new pajamas and a new book just in time for Christmas will, the students chimed in, help make recipients feel warm, happy, comfortable and loved. 
 
  • Published in Schools

Barre DRE says beatification of founder of Our Lady of Life Institute a 'joyful confirmation'

BARRE--For Teresa Hawes, the upcoming beatification of Venerable Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus is an opportunity to spread his teachings about the importance of an intimate relationship with God and the role of the Blessed Mother.
 
“It’s a joyful confirmation that his teaching is a sure path to union with God,” she said.
 
Discalced Carmelite friar and founder of the secular institute Notre Dame de Vie in Venasque, France, he will be beatified Saturday, Nov. 19, during an international Mass celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Amato in the Parc des Expositions in Avignon, France.
 
Pope Benedict XVI declared Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus venerable in 2011, and the upcoming beatification brings him one step closer to canonization.
 
Hawes, director of religious education at St. Monica Church in Barre, is one of 14 members of the institute attached to the house in St.-Paul-d'Abbotsford, Quebec. She is the only consecrated member of the institute in Vermont; there is one Vermont associate.
 
Notre Dame de Vie is an institute of the consecrated life for women, men, diocesan priests and incardinated priests.
 
Hawes met members of the institute in the mid 1970s while studying in France and participating in retreats with them. “I felt drawn to the contemplative prayer,” she said.
 
She took perpetual vows in 1986.
 
Consecrated men and women of the institute strive to be a humble sign of the Church’s presence in the midst of the world, evangelizing and serving the Church.
 
“Our charism is living Carmelite silent prayer in the world and teaching that prayer to others,” she explained. “We are hoping the beatification will make [Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus] better known and encourage people to find out more” about his life and about the institute. “He believed all the baptized need to live out an intimate relationship with God is silent prayer…. Everything we need to be contemplative is in our baptismal grace.”
 
Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus was born Henri Grialou in 1894 into a simple and deeply Catholic family in a mining village of southwest France. From early childhood he wanted to be a priest.
 
He completed his seminary studies after World War I and was ordained in 1922. He entered Carmel and took the name Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus.
 
Called to share his charism with many, he founded the Institute of Notre Dame de Vie with Marie Pila in 1932 in Venasque, France.
 
He died in 1967 at Notre-Dame de Vie in Venasque.
 
The miracle connected to his beatification was the sudden and definitive cure of an infant in the 1980’s.
 
A former French and religion teacher at St. Francis Xavier School in Winooski, Hawes facilitates prayer groups, retreats and workshops on prayer.
 
She noted that Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus was a humble and enlightening witness to the inner paths to God and attentive to the needs of the times and the Church. He said, “There are people seeking God everywhere. Ah! How I would like to go and speak to them all about God’s infinite love!”
 
The beatification, she said, “makes this even more possible.”
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Principal appointed in Barre

During her first year as principal of St. Monica-St. Michael School in Barre, Brenda S. Buzzell intends to support student learning, increase enrollment and promote continued community involvement.

The school was formed by the merger of St. Monica School in Barre and St. Michael School in Montpelier.

The two schools and the former Marian High School in Barre “have been pillars in these two communities for almost 100 years,” said the fourth-generation parishioner of St. Monica Church in Barre. “Many people in Central Vermont have fond memories of attending these schools that produced strong community leaders and solid community members.”

 Today St. Monica-St. Michael School — offering preschool through grade eight — continues to offer a quality educational alternative to public schools with a mission to empower students with spiritual, intellectual and physical growth.

A Barre native, Buzzell attended St. Monica School and Marian High School and graduated from Spaulding High School in Barre. A Vermont licensed educator, she earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Union Institute and University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Vermont; she has more than 30 years of teaching experience in both public and private schools.

She is board chair of the Barre Town Middle and Elementary School, a member of the Barre Supervisory Union Board and is active with Vermont state organizations and committees to promote quality early care and education.

She comes to the St. Monica-St. Michael principal job from The Stern Center for Language and Learning where she spent 11 years as the Building Blocks For Literacy coordinator, instructor and master trainer. 

As a national presenter and master trainer, she traveled extensively throughout the United States bringing this research-based, research-proven early literacy program that teaches developmentally appropriate practices to childcare providers and preschool teachers. 

Buzzell co-authored the online Building Blocks For Literacy course, presented webinars and developed the undergraduate and graduate courses.

She brings to the principal’s job knowledge of educational research and best practices and her experience of teaching children in public and private schools as well as teaching adults to understand language and literacy development. 

“My school board experience has given me knowledge of best practice, policy development and financial responsibility,” she said.

Declining enrollment — a challenge shared with many public and private schools — is an area she will address as principal. “I am hoping to encourage families to register their children, knowing that we offer strong foundational skills in academics,” she said.

Buzzell’s appointment was effective July 1; she replaces Denise Maurice.

Article written by Cori Fugere Urban, Vermont Catholic staff writer.
  • Published in Schools

New principal appointed for Barre Catholic school

Brenda S. Buzzell, fourth-generation parishioner of St. Monica Church in Barre, is the new principal of St. Monica-St. Michael School in Barre.
           
Her appointment was effective July 1; she replaces Denise Maurice.
           
During her first year as principal of St. Monica-St. Michael School Buzzell, intends to support student learning, increase enrollment and promote continued community involvement.
             
St. Monica-St. Michael School – offering preschool through grade eight -- offers a quality educational alternative to public schools with a mission to empower students with spiritual, intellectual and physical growth.
           
A Barre native, Buzzell attended St. Monica School and Marian High School and graduated from Spaulding High School in Barre. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience in both public and private schools.
           
She comes to the St. Monica-St. Michael principal job from The Stern Center for Language and Learning where she spent 11 years as the Building Blocks For Literacy coordinator, instructor and master trainer. .
           
She brings to the principal’s job knowledge of educational research and best practices and her experience of teaching children in public and private schools as well as teaching adults to understand language and literacy development.
           
“My school board experience has given me knowledge of best practice, policy development, financial responsibility,” she said.
 
  • Published in Schools
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