Special celebrations at St Angela’s, Waterford

Two special events were celebrated in St Angela’s recently. One was the official opening of the school’s new building, named Merici in honour of St Angela. The other was the moving celebration of entrusting the future care of the Ursuline charism in the school to the Le Chéile Trust. This Trust has been established by a number of religious orders, including the Ursulines, to ensure the spirit enshrined in their various schools is safe-guarded in future years. Members of the Trust were present to witness the official handing over of the Trusteeship of the school.

Celebrations began with the traditional start of year Mass, in the local parish Church of the Sacred Heart, concelebrated by parish priests, Fr Sean Melody and Fr Gerry Chestnutt, who is also Chaplain to St Angela’s. Liturgical dance and choral music, performed by the students, graced the rituals.

This Mass historically marks the blessing of the Head Girl and, this year, the Deputy Head Girl, who are Shannon Stewart and Grecy Mungenga. Within the Eucharistic context, the significant ritual of handing over to the Le Chéile Trust the responsibility of maintaining the Ursuline ethos of St Angela’s was symbolised by an exchange of Charters and the shared lighting of a candle by representatives of the Ursuline Sisters and the Trust.

The words of St Angela Merici came to mind: “If, with changing circumstances, it seems wise to do things differently, then pray, get good advice and act accordingly.”

The decision to be part of the Le Chéile family feels right at this time.

Back in the school, the Principal, Ms Edel Connolly, praised and thanked parents, and members of the Board of Management, whose courage and vision had made possible the very fine Merici building, which comprises outstanding additional teaching and learning facilities, as well as public and office space. Sr June Fennelly, Education Officer, and one of three former principals present, along with Ms Margaret O’Donovan and Mr Kieran McCarthy, congratulated all involved on bringing this project to fruition and that, of course, included so many generations over the almost 200 years, since the first Ursulines came to Waterford.

The bright, cheerful, spacious building was officially opened by Sr Paula, a former teacher of Home Economics in the school and a lady known and loved by many generations of students. Students led guests on a tour of the new facility and then all repaired to Brescia Hall for lunch and the sharing of good memories and happy company.