Convent of the Sacred Heart opens 166th school year

From left, senior Alana Normile, pre-kindergarten student Josephine Olson and senior Anneliese Hummel celebrate the opening of school.

From left, senior Alana Normile, pre-kindergarten student Josephine Olson and senior Anneliese Hummel celebrate the opening of school.

Convent of the Sacred Heart marked the opening of its 166th school year in Greenwich on Wednesday, Sept. 3, with an inspiring prayer service.

“Today, we gather to celebrate the beginning of another school year and to consider who we are and where we stand,” said Head of School Pamela Juan Hayes ’64. “What a great privilege it is for all of us to be part of such an excellent educational environment, where opportunities exist for faith development, learning, leadership, community building and service, as hallmarks of this institution.”

The morning service began on the spacious front lawn with an invitation to prayer, a special form of prayer called Espacio, used by students throughout the year. Assistant Head of School Michael Baber issued the invitation and told students and faculty,

“Our school is unique in that it was found by St. Madeline Sophie Barat, a religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who imagined an educational system that would transform the world by making known the love of the heart of God.” Mr. Baber said.

To signal the start of Espacio, a minute of meditative silence, Mr. Baber rang a Tibetan singing bowl. Deep silence settled on the 750 students and their teachers.

“Espacio is a time when we pause to rest our minds and just be in God’s presence,” Mr. Baber added.

Then, a procession began from the administration building, Salisbury Hall, down the front steps and out onto the lawn, finally stopping at a podium framed by a view of Long Island Sound in the distance.

Representatives of the school participated in the procession, bearing symbols, such as a laptop computer signifying staff support, teachers’ planning books, and a basket of canned food to symbolize community service.

The school’s sports mascot, Rory the tiger, also participated much to the delight of the students, who reached out to shake her hand.

Readers of prayers included students, teachers and staff from across the various divisions. Student Body President Bella Libassi and others led the school in a series of prayers asking God’s blessings on the new school year, their sister school in Uganda and for world peace.

Raising the large American flag that flies above the campus, the school community recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang God Bless America.

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