Congregation Spotlight: Saying Goodbye to St. Luke's School

By Katie Beckmann Mahon, Communications Manager


In early July, the St. Luke's School community received devastating news.

The Archdiocese of New York announced on July 9th the closing of 20 Catholic schools due to the financial impact of COVID-19, and St. Luke's School was one of six schools located in the Bronx on that list.

For Sr. Grace Augustine Canevari, OP, and the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, this news was especially heartbreaking as the congregation has had a special connection to St. Luke's throughout its 110 years in existence as a school in the Bronx.

Sr. Grace Augustine Canevari, OP

"The vocations that came from St. Luke's, as well as our Sisters who ministered there were so special," shared Sr. Grace, who ministered at St. Luke's for 25 years, most recently as Assistant Principal. "St. Luke's was stability for our congregation, and we've always had a connection there."

Sr. Grace, who first began ministering at St. Luke's as a teacher in 1983, reflected on the "disheartening" news.

"I’m sad. When we said goodbye in March, we thought we would be saying hello again in a few weeks.”

As hard as this news was to accept, Sr. Grace credits the leadership of Tracey Coleman, Principal of St. Luke’s, for helping transition the community through these difficult times and helping students get settled in their new schools.

Sr. Grace Augustine Canevari, OP

“You could always talk to Tracey, and she would always listen. She was always outgoing in supporting the children and faculty. Her concern was always there for us.”

When reflecting on her ministry at St. Luke’s, as well as the future, Sr. Grace shared Ms. Coleman’s concern for the children, parents, and faculty.

“Our school was a stable, safe place for children and St. Luke’s always supported the South Bronx community. I will miss the students and faculty tremendously. We were always a family. The children were always happy to be in school.”

Sr. Grace also shared some of her fondest memories of her ministry at St. Luke’s.

Culture Day, the annual Christmas Show, and Sports Day were three of Sr. Grace’s favorite observances each year.

Sports Day was especially memorable, as it was held on the Motherhouse grounds each year.

“The entire school would take busses to Blauvelt and participate in a day of fun with field day activities. The children always loved coming up to the ‘country.’”

Sr. Grace will carry those memories, as well as the bonds she made with students, parents, and teachers throughout the years, onto her next ministry at St. Benedict’s School in the Bronx.

Even though she will be starting over at a new school in the upcoming weeks, Sr. Grace hopes that the legacy of St. Luke’s School will carry on and be remembered by students, parents, faculty, and alumni.

“Remember what you learned at St. Luke’s. Make St. Luke’s proud of you. I know you will. Do your very best. You will make new friends and have great new teachers. Don’t lament the fact and go ahead in life. Be grateful for your faithfulness.”

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