EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 10, 2012

Sister Suzanne Fondini new principal at St. Monica School

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.

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