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Catholic Schools Week: Embracing Unity and Legacy

In a heartwarming display of community, Carmel Catholic seniors, BVMs, and associates recently gathered virtually for two lively Zoom sessions, marking the celebration of Catholic Schools Week (CSW). Despite the physical distance, these sessions not only bridged generational gaps but also created a warm sense of community and a deepened appreciation for the school’s rich legacy.

Kambra French, Chief Mission Officer and head of Mission and Ministry at Carmel Catholic High School (CCHS), expressed the significance of embracing the school’s legacy during Catholic Schools Week. She noted, “We at Carmel Catholic always reference our legacy, our past, and our history that has built where we are today. But even more so during CSW, it’s a great opportunity for us to dig deeply and be grateful for the legacy that we’ve inherited from the BVM sisters and the Carmelites.”

Zoom provided a platform for students to connect with the BVMs and associates, fostering a beautiful community through the wonders of technology. Students engaged in conversations, asking insightful questions about the process of becoming a BVM or associate, the passions that drive them, and how they harmonize faith with personal interests.

BVMs and associates expressed that being a part of the BVM Community has been the most significant blessing in their lives, providing them with opportunities they would have never encountered otherwise. Their words echoed a profound gratitude for the path they have chosen and the enduring impact it has had on their individual journeys.

Students shared how their time at Carmel Catholic has deepened their faith and empowered them to live out the BVM core values. One student shared a transformative experience during a Chicago immigration march, overcoming initial fears to boldly share scripture and advocate for God’s word. In a separate instance, another student expressed joy as a Christian, finding fulfillment in taking religious courses, even though they are mandatory. Additionally, a different student discussed a connection to the core value of charity, sharing the quote, “You can’t out give God.”

Discussions continued to unfold, delving into topics such as vocation and the journey to discover one’s true purpose and calling. BVM Ann DeNicolo, who taught and ministered at CCHS from 1975–1991 encouraged the soon-to-be graduates, stating, “The reality of who you truly are is in the eyes of God.” Associate Maureen McGrain conveyed a timeless message to students, emphasizing that “Regardless of the profession you choose . . . each profession has an opportunity to be ministry and mission focused.”

BVM Mary Fran McLaughlin, who served as CCHS President from 1996–2006 and again as temporary president in 2014, encouraged the students, stating, “Anything you touch, you can turn to gold and bring the Lord with you.” BVMs Peg Geraghty, who held the position of Principal at CCHS from 1976–1988, Terese Shinners, an educator at CCHS from 1979–1988, and Nancy McCarthy, who taught during the school’s inaugural five years, all underscored the lasting legacy and influence of the Carmel Catholic community.

BVM sisters and Associates Pat Maddux, Maureen McGrain, and Lori Ritz cherished their Zoom moments with CCHS students. Across both sessions, a collective optimism emerged—that the ongoing dialogue between Carmel Catholic and the BVMs will thrive, nurturing connections, understanding, and an enduring celebration of the school’s profound BVM legacy.

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