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In Memoriam: Sister Barbara Heil: by Written by Hannah Langley ’17

Sister Barbara’s Grotto

Babe Ruth once said, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” On the night of March 4, 2016, Kennedy Catholic lost its very own legend – Sister Barbara Heil. Sister Barbara, a beloved member of the Sisters of Divine Compassion, began working at Kennedy Catholic while it was still called St. Mary’s High School. In 1966, when the school moved to its current location, Sister Barbara once said, “I came along with the moving vans.” Since the beginning of the school’s opening, Sister Barbara was known for her unforgettably cheerful and witty attitude. She was more than just a teacher at Kennedy; she was a mentor, colleague, mother, and friend to all who knew her.

Sister Barbara was considered the “Miss Hospitality” of Kennedy Catholic, as she organized and participated in nearly every school event. She commanded a strong presence in every aspect of school life at Kennedy. She consistently pushed herself every day to provide for each of the students at the school, whom she loved as though they were her own. As a teacher in Mathematics, Latin, and Home Economics, she inspired and touched the hearts of many students. For years, Sister Barbara, along with Mr. Schmidt and other Sisters of the Divine Compassion, worked to support the impoverished migrant families in Goshen, New York, providing them with food and handmade clothing. During the Christmas season, she organized the collections for the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital Toy Drive, and, during Easter, she arranged baskets for Goshen children. For many years, Sister Barbara exercised one of her greatest passions: designing and sewing costumes for the Kennedy Catholic play productions. In addition to her participation in the school play, she was also an avid sports fan who attended nearly every home game for school sports played both in the gym and on the field. Sister Barbara exemplifies the spirit of hard work, and, during her lifetime, she brought out the best in everyone she knew.

Sister Barbara’s stone in the grotto

Following her passing, many former students and parents have returned to speak on behalf of Sister Barbara and the legacy that she left. Annette DiGrandi, mother of 2016 graduate Nicholas DiGrandi, shared a personal relationship with Sister Barbara, as the two worked together in costume design for Kennedy Catholic performances of The Sound of Music and Cinderella. This year, Mrs. DiGrandi wishes that Sister Barbara was here t
o volunteer with her, but she is grateful to have known and worked with her. She describes Sister Barbara as an “example of kindness and compassion not only for our children, but for all of us”and commemorates her by saying, “We miss you but know you are with us, looking down on all the kiddies with your beautiful smile.”

In remembrance of Sister Barbara, Kennedy Catholic has launched several memorialization projects, including the renovation of the grotto at the entrance of the school, as well as a bench crafted in dedication to her. The bench, which will be unveiled toward the end of this school year, will be engraved with Sister Barbara’s name, a Latin quote, and other items that she cherished. On May 22nd, Cardinal Timothy Dolan will be coming to the school to bless this monument and pay respect for such a wonderful woman.

It has been one year since Sister Barbara’s passing, but she continues to be, and will always remain, a legendary woman in the hearts of the entire Kennedy Catholic community. She embodies the virtues Kennedy Catholic was built upon – courage and compassion. Sister Barbara’s endless love and support, as well as her unfailing spirit, will never be forgotten.

 

 

 

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Missing Sr. Barbara and Her Lovely Dolls: By Ava Gallo, Class of ’18

 

The Kennedy Catholic High School auction is always a fun event to attend, holding a silent auction and a live auction as well as having great food and live music. This year, the auction will be held on November 19th from 6pm-10pm. Every year Sister Barbara would sew beautiful clothes for a doll to auction off during the silent auction. However, after the loss of our beloved Sister Barbara in March, the Kennedy Catholic High School 2016 Auction will be the first in Kennedy history to not have Sister Barbara’s gift available.

“…she used to make 6 or more outfits for the doll as well as provide the accessories…” Mr. Schmidt 

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Sr. Barbara’s closet of doll clothes.

Sewing the clothes for the doll was something Sister enjoyed doing and had a passion for. Mr. Schmidt recalls, “I know she used to make 6 or more outfits for the doll as well as provide the accessories such as shoes, jewelry, etc. She would also get the small ‘closet’ to hang and display all the clothes. Sr. Barbara loved to sew, as you may know from the many costumes she worked on for the school plays.” Going past what Sister Barbara would do for the auction, Mr. Schmidt also stated, “She also provided all the banners that hung in commons, repaired the altar linens, etc. When we went to Goshen, if there was anything that needed repair she would mend it.” Jillian Flynn recalled what Sister Barbara used to say to her “Latin Scholars” about the dolls. She said that sister was proud of making the dolls and that it was something she loved to do and enjoyed doing as it brought her joy to make them. She would even line up the clothes that she would put on the dolls in her office. It seems like making the dolls was something Sister Barbara would look forward to every year around November.

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Our beloved Sr. Barbara Heil

Sadly, this will be the first auction without Sister Barbara and her beautiful doll’s outfits, but the auction is still a great event to attend. The live auction presents items beneficial to the school or members of the Kennedy community. At the 2015 Auction, money was raised through the live auction for new lighting for the Kennedy Catholic High School Players and the Spring Musical, a row of seats at the graduation ceremony could be purchased, and one could also bid on a seat at the President’s Circle Dinner, among other quality items. Those in charge of the event always ensure that there is a good time to be had by all. The evening begins with a lovely selection of fruit, cheese, breads and crackers, wine and a delightful array of sandwiches and other small plate items. While people are bidding on the items in the silent auction, and in the past Sister’s dolls, a group of student musicians play some jazz music. The evening ends with the live auction, but don’t forget to grab a cup of coffee and a cookie on the way out!


Come and be a part of our 2016 Auction. Visit our Auction page to sign up and to learn more about this year’s event:

****   KennedyCatholic.org/Auction   ****

 

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