Monnie Patten, a retired postal clerk, had never modeled before, but when the opportunity arose to be in a fashion show to benefit her parish, Our Lady of Seven Dolors in Fair Haven, she stepped up.

She and her husband, Paul, a retired airline pilot now on a different kind of runway, were among 20 models in “Thrifty Fashions,” a fashion show presented April 10 by Our Lady of Seven Dolors Thrift Store.

The event drew more than 100 people to the former St. Mary School, across the street from the church.

“I knew this was going to be fun and good publicity for the thrift store,” Monnie Patten said.

The thrift store “is a ministry” and volunteers “come joyfully,” said Vocationist Father Antony Pittappillil, pastor. “They come with a passion for serving and making our parish known to other people.”

He sat in the front row for much of the fashion show, applauding and laughing heartily at some of the antics of the models. He also stood to videotape the show.

“I’m impressed,” he said of the organization of the event, the participation and the willingness of people to volunteer.

“I figured I’d put my jitters aside” and be one of the models, said parishioner Peter MacDonald who had never modeled before. “It’s a little outside my comfort zone, but I decided to go for it.”

He didn’t look a bit uncomfortable on stage as he hammed it up for the audience.

Models ranged in age from 1 year to about 80 years.

Parishioner Bonnie Doran was the producer of the fashion show and described for the audience the outfits the models wore. “My goal was to form the community together for family and love,” she said. A cosmetologist and juried jewelry artist, she worked with Joyce Roberts, a parishioner and thrift store manager, to select and prepare the clothing and accessories from the thrift store for the fashion show.

“The items in the store have been loved; why not love them again?” Doran commented during the show.

All fashion ensembles modeled in the show were for sale on racks after the show.

There were eight “scenes” in the show that featured fashion ensembles that went with the theme: nature, gardening, denim, patriotic, beach, sports, formal and hats.


This was a “great” community builder, Roberts said of the parish’s first fashion show. “It has drawn people in and shown we are reaching out to bring something to Fair Haven.”

Father Pittappillil agreed. “This is an outreach to other people. … Nourished by the Word of God, we are an extension of Christ’s charity.”

His focus is on getting more people to know about the Catholic faith, and events such as the fashion show are opportunities to welcome non-Catholics to the parish and show them hospitality. “My concept is always to go beyond the bounds of the parish and share the love of Jesus,” he said.

Parishioner Rosie Doran called the fashion show “fabulous” and added, “The spirit that has been generated has brought such a sense of community to our little parish, and the clothes are great!”

Our Lady of Seven Dolors Thrift Store is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from mid March until the first week of December.



Click to scroll through images from the fashion show.

Fair Haven Fashion Show