Led by the Xaverian H.S. Pipes and Drums, the students and faculty from Fontbonne Hall Academy, Bay Ridge, processed from school to St. Patrick’s Church for a liturgy that closed the school’s 75th anniversary year.
Principal concelebrant Msgr. Robert Romano, Fontbonne’s chaplain and pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, Dyker Heights, was joined by Father Jim Brening, S.D.B., retreat director of Don Bosco Retreat House in Haverstraw, N.Y.
The welcome was offered by Carol Bedrossian Fell, director of alumnae relations, who noted the growth of the student body from the first 93 students with Sister Dolorita, C.S.J., as principal, to the current 500 students.
“Today [Fontbonne] stands proud and strong, a tribute to all of the sisters and lay women and men who have ministered there, to the 9,000 students who have grown from young girls into women reflecting the four C’s of confidence, compassion, competence and creativity, each one shining like a diamond under the tutelage of that faculty and to the parents who sacrificed for their daughters’ education,” Fell said. “Fontbonne graduates have become noted doctors, lawyers, engineers, leaders in business and the arts, educators, mothers and even, like Sister Ita Ford, class of 1957, martyrs for their cause.”
Music was directed by Una Marie O’Donnell. The leader of song was Nicolette Shin, ’13. The readings were proclaimed by Jazmin Rivera, ’13, and Linda Winslow, chairperson of the English department.
General intercessions were offered by campus minister Jennifer Uzzi-Silverio, ’94; Fred Herron, chairman of the religious studies department and parent of a member of the Class of ’00; Sister Virginia Down, C.S.J., chairperson of the board of trustees; Catherine Marinello, guidance/development secretary and parent of members of the Classes of ’04, ’07 and ’12; Gabriella Castellano, ’13, student body president; Ugonna Nwabueze, ’14; Barbara Wasserman ’13, third-generation Bonnie; Sister Ann Mollica, C.S.J., ’51; Catherine St. John Barton, ’65, mathematics department; Fran Pagnotta Fuerst, ’73, mathematics department; Noelle Loraine Gray, ’86, director of admissions; Bridget Leavens Hilgendorf, ’94; Donna Russo, ’06, religious studies department; and Tricia Gaya, ’10, second-generation Bonnie.
Sister Dolores Crepeau, C.S.J., principal, offered closing remarks, thanking all for sharing in the celebration. In recalling that the 75th anniversary symbol was a diamond, Sister Dolores pointed out that the word itself was derived from the ancient Greek word for “unbreakable” and that: “The women of Fontbonne have maintained their faith in the face of global conflicts, domestic terrorism, economic crisis and cataclysmic weather events. Fontbonne women indeed lift their voices in ‘a song of faith, of hope, of love’ as they reach out to serve others in need.”
She closed with a reminder that the school’s motto, “Ex Fide Fortis – From Faith Comes Strength,” was a force which would keep the women of Fontbonne forever bonded to God, to each other and to their school.
Following the singing of the school song, a reception for former faculty members was held at Fontbonne.