By Katie Beckmann, Communications Manager
This week's "Embracing Faith" article, will focus on Embracing Faith through Ministry.
Education has always been at the heart of many ministries of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York.
Sister Grace Augustine Canevari, OP, has ministered in education in the South Bronx for the past 34 years.
In June, Sister Grace Augustine will complete her 13th year as Assistant Principal for St. Luke’s School, and before that, she taught 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.
Though her ministry title and responsibilities at St. Luke's have changed throughout the years, her impact on students has not.
All of the students at St. Luke’s know who Sister Grace Augustine is and often will beam with delight when talking to and about her.
While all the students know her quite well, Sister Grace Augustine knows them equally as well and even knows the first name of most of them due to her daily presence during the school day.
Each morning, Sister Grace Augustine goes to the lunchroom, schoolyard, and gym to greet students as they arrive at school. After the students go to their classroom to begin the day, Sister Grace Augustine will then complete any paperwork she may have, as well as fill in for and assist any teacher who is in need.
Sister Grace Augustine’s willingness to help out wherever and whenever it is needed is a similar mindset shared by the entire staff of St. Luke’s.
“The faculty has always been interested in the children’s best needs. Whether it’s staying late with the older students to help them prepare for high school examinations or tutoring them in subjects they need additional help, our staff will do anything for the students.”
St. Luke’s is well known in the South Bronx as a safe place for children where they will learn and be around friends in a warm and welcoming environment.
Many of Sister Grace Augustine’s students often stay past the end of the school day because they do not want to leave school and go home. They enjoy being able to do their homework in a safe environment and interact with friends.
St. Luke’s has become a second home for many students and, for Sister Grace Augustine, seeing their progressions each day has been incredibly rewarding.
“’Lunchroom standards’ is what I call the way to measure how a student changes throughout the years. Every day, you can see how they are growing up, treating their peers, and maturing.”
Along with their growth as an individual, their evolution in academics has always been a part of Sister Grace Augustine’s ministry of which she is proud.
Sister Grace Augustine’s impact in the St. Luke’s classroom was recognized in April at the National Catholic Educational Association Conference in Chicago. At the Conference, Sister Grace Augustine received an award from Today’s Catholic Teacher magazine for her submission to their Great Ideas section.
While Sister Grace Augustine has an enormous amount of gratitude for this award, nothing makes her smile more than hearing from former students and having their children attend St. Luke’s.
“Many students have come back to visit when they are in high school, college, as well as when they are married and even send their children to St. Luke’s. When I see these former students, they will often share their favorite St. Luke’s memories with me, and it’s just a blessing.”