METHUEN — Sister Suzanne Fondini principal at Holy Trinity School in Lawrence until it closed in 2006, is back in the area.
Fondini is now the principal of St. Monica School, at 212 Lawrence St., a kindergarten through eighth-grade school with 218 students. She succeeds Sister Alice St. Joseph, who retired.
In late April, Fondini received a call from the Rev. Patrick Armano, pastor at St. Monica Parish asking her if she would consider leading the school. At the same time, Fondini was considering accepting a teaching position in Papua New Guinea.
“It felt right to come. It broke my heart leaving here. Once they knew, I had the support of my family and my community. It’s a privilege to be back in the area,” Fondini said. “I absolutely love the children, the people and the area.”
Fondini was born in East Boston. She has been a sister with the Franciscan order for 40 years, inspired by the same order of nuns who taught her at Our Lady of Good Counsel grammar school in East Boston. She also got to know the sisters well as they lived not far from her house.
Fondini has a bachelor’s degree in history from Newton College of the Sacred Heart, an all-women’s college which merged with Boston College; and a master’s degree in theology from St. Bonaventure University in Western, N.Y. She also took courses in administration at Boston College.
In her years in the ministry, she has taught fourth grade in Rockford, Ill., at St. Clare, an all-girls high school in Rosindale, and 11 years as principal at Mt. Alverina School in Newton and Our Lady of Holy Peace in Brooklyn, N.Y.
After leaving Lawrence, she served as provincial of the Franciscan order for eight years working with the sisters in the United States, Canada, Australia, Papua Guinea, Bolivia and Peru. After that, she taught theology at Mt. Alverina for two years.
Fondini was on sabbatical, spending half the year in a renewal program in Assisi, Italy and the other half at the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas learning Spanish.
The Bible passage Fondini lives by comes from John 14:1, which reads, “Don’t let your heart be troubled.”
“What you carry in your heart is the center of love, the love of God and the people,” she said.
Fondini incorporates her Franciscan values at the school by reciting the prayer of St. Francis in the morning.
“He wants us to be a symbol of peace and how the world can come together,” she said.
In addition to math, religion, science and music, students are learning about charity by hosting fundraisers including “A Bed for Every Child” which netted more than $200 and a walk-a-thon to benefit the school.
St. Monica offers a chess club, an after school program, a fun and fitness club, bowling club and junior and senior choirs.
St. Monica School will have an entry at the Festival of Trees with the upper class men explaining the legend of the candy cane and youngsters making ornaments for the tree, said development director Laurene Costello.
Future plans at the school includes expanding the science lab and upgrading the technology in the classroom for interactive instruction.
“I want them to learn in happiness. I want them to be leaders, to find their voice so we can develop the future leaders in the world.”
Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation celebrates 90th year of Bat Mitzvah
ANDOVER The Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation celebrates the 90th anniversary of Bat Mitzvah on Thursday, 7 pm at the Lanam Club, 260 North Main St.
Barbara Vinick and Shulamit Reinharz editors of “Today, I am a Woman: Stories of Bat Mitzvah Around the World,” will talk about the history of bat mitzvah, and how it is celebrated around the world.
The book is a collection of personal testimonies of young women from 78 countries and their reflection on their bat mitzvah experiences.
Reinharz teaches Sociology at Brandeis University, and is founder and Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. She is the author of 12 books.
Vinick. has collected and edited stories for “Esther’s Legacy: Celebrating Purim Around the World” at the Institute. She is also secretary of Kulanu, an organization that helps isolated and emerging Jewish communities around the world.
Tickets are $13 and can be purchased by calling 978-688-0466 logging on to www.mvjf.org or by mailing a check to MVJF, PO Box 937, Andover, MA 01810.
Merrimack College hosts Holocaust remembrance week
NORTH ANDOVER — Merrimack College is hosting Holocaust Remembrance Week, Monday through Friday with a poster, photo exhibit and talks.
The event begins with “The Courage to Remember: The Holocaust 1933-1945” with a poster exhibit Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in McQuade Library.
An exhibit titled, “We Have Faith: Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Clergy and People of Faith Speak Out,” featuring photography and text by Family Diversity Projects will also be on display on Tuesday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Sakowich Campus Center.
On Tuesday, Rabbi Karen Landy presides at “Shattered Glass-Shattered Lives: Remember, Reflect, Commit!” 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Cascia Hall.
Atkinson Congregational, 101 Main St., Atkinson: On Nov. 25, the church celebrates its 240th anniversary during the 10 a.m. worship service.
Corpus Christi Parish at Holy Rosary, 35 Essex St., Lawrence: “Why Catholic” a six week course based on the Catechism, the Catholic church and scripture meets Mondays at 1 p.m. and Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.
Chabad Lubavitch, 310 N. Main St., Andover: “Kabbalah of You” A Guide to Unlocking Your Hidden Potential” Thursdays through Dec. 6, 7-8:30 p.m.
Church of the Transfiguration, 1 Hood Road, Derry: Members of the church and Etz Hayim Synagogue lead an interfaith discussion on the book, “Have a Little Faith,” Nov. 14, Dec. 19 and Jan.16 at noon.
Faith Lutheran, 360 S. Main St., Andover: The Rev. John Heydenreich leads a “Walk through the Bible” study focusing on key stories and what do they mean, Nov. 11, 18, 24; Dec. 2 and 9,5-6:30 p.m. To register, log on to www.faith-Andover.com or call 978-475-4059. Youth director Tom Schauer hosts “Tom’s Teen Time” for high school students to talk about topics and issues related to teens. The group is watch a film series on “The Hunter Games,” “The Avengers” and “The Way” for discussion and reflection on its Christian and social themes.
First Presbyterian, 346 Broadway, Haverhill: Book study is reading Rob Bell’s “Velvet Elvis” Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 9 a..m.
Island Pond Baptist, 26 N. Salem Road, Hampstead: Women’s Bible study, a DVD series discussing the works of noted Christian writer and speaker, Elisabeth Elliot every Thursday from 9:15 to 11:30 a.m.
Laman Club, 260 N. Main St., Andover: Editors Barbara Vinick and Shulamit Reinharz share stories about Bat Mitzvah around the world, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. Cost is $13, sponsored by the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation.
Londonderry United Methodist, 258 Mammoth Road, Londonderry: Adult Sunday School class titled, “What Does it mean to be United Methodist” is Sundays at 10 a.m. The video series focuses on the roots of the United Methodist church and the Wesleyan heritage.
Mary Queen of Peace of Sts. Mary and Joseph parish, 200 Lawrence Road, Salem: Veteran Mass is celebrated Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. Names of deceased veterans will be read and their flags will be displayed and blessed. Mass with the sacrament of the anointing of the sick is Nov. 11 at 2:30 p.m.
New Creation Healing Center, 80 Route 125, Kingston: Service focusing on the healing of the Father image is Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. There will also be prayers for people with physical and emotional needs.
North Parish Unitarian Universalist, 190 Academy Road, North Andover: The parish is sponsoring a study group on immigration as a moral issue for four to six weeks, beginning Nov. 15 from 7 to 8:30 pm. Contact Deb Olander ad firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Lady of Good Counsel, 22 Plymouth St., Methuen: Bible study focusing on “Year of Faith” as proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening Vatican II and the 20th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The group meets Mondays through Nov. 19; Wednesdays to Nov. 28 and Thursdays to Dec. 6 all from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Sacred Hearts, South Main St., Bradford: The final session of, “Mary, the Mother of God” is Nov. 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The group explores “Peter, Paul and the Missionary Adventure.” Discussion follows led by the Rev. John Delaney.
St. Augustine, 43 Essex St., Andover: Catholicism series explores “Amazed and Afraid, the Revelation of God Become Man, Part 1,” Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. Beginning the week of Nov. 25, the series will be offered Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings.
St. Christopher Episcopal, 189 East Road, Hampstead: The church is hosting “Rhythms of Grace” a worship and faith formation program for children with autism-spectrum disorder and other special needs, the first Saturday of the month at 2 p.m. An informal study of the Bible for mothers will be held Tuesdays from 10-11 am starting Nov. 13.
St. James, Winter Street, Haverhill: A course on “My Life with the Saints” by the Rev. James Martin is held Tuesdays at 7:15 p.m. City-wide youth Mass is Nov. 25 at 5 p.m.
St. John the Baptist, 120 Lincoln Ave., Haverhill: Members of the Marian Society devoted to Our Lady of Fatima pray the Rosary Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. The Rev. John Walsh leads a Course on “My Life with the Saints” by the Rev. James Martin, Wednesdays at 9:45 a.m.
St. Joseph of Sts. Mary and Joseph parish, 40 Main St., Salem: Theme for Exploring the Catholic Faith is “Introduction to Scriptures,” tomorrow from 7-8:30 p.m.
St. Jude, Mammoth Road, Londonderry: The book club discusses Mitch Albom’s “Five People You Meet in Heaven” Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.
St. Mark the Evangelist, 1 South Road, Londonderry, N.H.: Members of the Men of St. Joseph meet Nov. 17 at 7 a.m. for fellowship, food and prayer.
Sts. Mary and Joseph parish, 40 Main St., Salem: The program, “Exploring the Catholic Faith” where participants reflect on the Sunday gospel and discuss it, will be offered Sundays, 7-8:30 p.m. through Easter. A six week preparation for a Marian consecration is held through Nov. 21, 7-8:30 p.m. The group will use the book, “33 Days to Morning Glory” handouts and DVD lessons by the Rev. Michael Gaitley. Cost is $15. To register, call the office.
St. Matthew, 2 Searles Road, Windham: The Rev. Steve Marcoux leads the children Mass Nov. 18 at 9:30 a.m. He will have a homily and make a presenting a special sacramental to them. Marcoux leads service of anointing with prayers, music of consolation and anointing with holy oil, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m.
St. Michael, 196 Main St., North Andover: The parish is hosting an opening celebration in the Merrimack Valley for the Year of the Faith. “Lord, Teach Us How to Pray” will be held Nov. 18, 2-4 p.m. with sister Marie Cooper. The session includes prayers Lectio Divina, examination of consciousness and prayer of petitions. For details or to sign up, contact Mary Ann McLaughlin or Ann Cussen at 1-617-779-3640.
St. Patrick, 118 S. Broadway, Lawrence: “Life and Faith” adult faith formation series focusing on the sacraments will be held Thursdays from 7-8:30, through April. Bible study for people in their 20s and 30s meets weekly to discuss the Passion and Resurrection narratives of Jesus, Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. Mass with the anointing of the sick is Nov. 17 at 4 p.m.
St. Patrick, 11 Main St., Pelham: The parish celebrates a Mass Nov. 11 at 10:30 a.m., to pray for all the men and women who have serve and continue to serve in the Armed Forces. Reception follows at the John H. Hargreaves VFW Post. The Teen Ministry presents a teaching Mass Nov. 18 at 10:30 a.m.
St. Peter Episcopal, 3 Peabody Row, Londonderry: The parish’s book group discusses “ Hafiz. The Gift,” tomorrow. Centering prayer group meets Wednesdays at 7 p.m. for silent prayer and contemplation.
St. Thomas Aquinas, 26 Crystal Ave., Derry: Charismatic prayer group meets for praise, thanksgiving and love through the Holy Spirit, Mondays 7-8:30 p.m.
South Church, 40 Central St., Andover: The church’s annual musical showcase takes place Nov. 4 at 2:30 p.m. Monday night prayer group meets 7-8:30 p.m. to listen to each other and God through silence, centering prayer and compline. Bible study on the Book of Acts meets Tuesday 2-3:15 p.m.
Temple Emanu-El, 514 Main St., Haverhill: Peace sabbath with fifth and sixth graders participating, Nov. 16, 7 p.m. Bible study class discussing issues concerning Israel and the Middle East, Nov. 17 at noon. Adult education studies “Blessings and Gratitude” Nov. 18 at 9: 30 a.m.
Trinitarian Congregational, 72 Elm St., North Andover : The Rev. Rich Knight continue his series entitled, “Bridges to the World’s Great Religions” covering the basic beliefs of each religion and what Christians can learn from them, tomorrow at 10 a.m. Hindu music will be featured.
Unitarian Universalist, 15 Kenoza Ave., Haverhill: The Rev. Frank Clarkson and Kimberly Cloutier Green lead “Tending the Sacred: Holy Longing, Holy Listening” using contemplative prayer and spiritual direction Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 9:30-11:30 a.m. and Nov. 13, 27 and Dec. 11, 7-9 p.m.