Wednesday, July 19, 2017

St. Joseph of Cluny Sisters’ School

1957 – 2017

The St. Joseph of Cluny Sisters’ School or Cluny School, in Newport, is a private catholic elementary school for girls and boys sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny. As a private elementary school, Cluny School first opened its doors in September of 1957 with a small kindergarten.  At that time the naval operations in Newport were flourishing and a large number of naval families sought a school for their children. As the local parochial schools were filled to capacity, Captain and Mrs. Black asked Sister Angela Schartz, the Provincial of the Cluny Sisters, to consider opening a school. Each year the school added another grade until the first Cluny eighth grade graduation was held in 1965.

Along the way construction had taken place to provide adequate classrooms and space for the students. In 1960 classrooms for Grades 1 to 3 were constructed and became commonly referred to as ‘the Little School.’ The stone cottages and the ‘carriage house’ on Hammersmith Road were used as classrooms while the ‘Big School’ was being constructed in 1965.  The sisters throughout the Province worked and contributed to the cost of expansions until in 1978 the mortgage was retired.

By the 1990’s the idea of renovations began to surface. Nothing evolved until after the Station Nightclub Fire in 2003 and the resulting changes in fire codes.  The school would have to do significant renovations or close.  In August of 2007, the ground breaking ceremony for the new renovations took place and in September of 2008 the entire school moved into a newly built and renovated modern building which united the entire student body from Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade.

On Friday, June 30, 2017, a Mass of Thanksgiving was offered under the ‘Big Tent’ on the grounds of Cluny School.  Following the Liturgy, the Honorable Henry J. Winthrop, Mayor of Newport, presented a Proclamation by the City of Newport, declaring,
June 30, 2017 “Cluny School Day”, calling on the citizens to join in celebration of 60 Years of service to the local children and families and to extend thanks and appreciation for all Cluny School had contributed to the community over the years.

Mr. Daniel Ferris, Superintendent of Catholic School for the Diocese of Providence, greeted us and shared a letter from His Excellency, Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence.  In particular, the Bishop expressed gratitude to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny whose generosity and commitment to the school over these 60 years has been remarkable and thanking them for their witness and work.

After Michael Garman, 2017 Cluny School Graduate, shared his thoughts in regards to his school experience, Sister Luke, Provincial of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny for the Province of USA & Canada, gave some closing remarks.  She began with an invitation: You are here, we are here, on this land set aside in 1957 to be used for the mission of Jesus and the Teaching Mandate of the Church – a command to go to all peoples, everywhere and teach them.  So for a moment, take a deep breath, and bring to this place and this time – Your ‘Cluny Moment’.

Our hearts are full of gratitude for these 60 Years
Of Service and Collaboration in the Mission of
Catholic Education.

Thank you for your generous support
as sponsors and supporters
of Cluny School.
Be assured of the sisters’
deep appreciation and gratitude for these 60 years.
Each of you are especially remembered in the sisters’ prayers
on behalf of our donors and benefactors.

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