The opening of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart preschool, daycare and kindergarten was celebrated Thursday morning, Sept. 6, as a new era began in the decades-long history of the institution.
The school, formerly known as St. Frances Cabrini Day Care and Learning Center, was founded by the sisters and educated young people in North Haven for 33 years, according to Sister Jacinta Ibe, the head of the school.
Parent Tahia Thaddeus Kamp said it was closed in June following the 2017 consolidation of three local Catholic parishes — St. Therese Parish, St. Barnabas Church, and St. Frances Cabrini — into the St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish.
Kamp said she and her family were left without the services of a school that she believes has educated her children well, provided a strong Catholic foundation and has become a dear part of their lives.
Her eldest son, Frederick, graduated from the school, while her middle son, Thaddeus, is entering the new kindergarten there, Kamp said. Her youngest son, Aurelian, will attend when he’s old enough.
“Education is of paramount importance to us,” said Kamp. “The academic rigor of this school is like none I’ve seen. The theology that the children learn, and the real academic work that they do — one doesn’t suffer from the other.”
But the sisters and school families banded together to petition the church, Kamp said.
“We weren’t having it, to say the least,” said Kamp. “All of us felt we loved the sisters and we loved what they’ve done with our children — we don’t want to go to the other school.”
The sisters were granted permission to operate the school independently by the Archdiocese of Hartford. An ongoing fundraiser has since brought in more than $3,000 to aid them in the effort. While the situation is not permanently resolved, the archdiocese has leased the property to the sisters for a year for $1, Kamp said.
On Thursday, the new school was christened with a ribbon-cutting, prayers from the Rev. Michael Santiago of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, and a few words from First Selectman Michael Freda, who shared fond memories of when his daughter attended the school years ago.
Ibe said she was pleased that the school would continue on, and credited God for seeing that this day would be.
The institution is wholly owned and operated by the sisters of the Sacred Heart, Ibe said, and currently educates 22 children.
She said she believed St. Elizabeth of the Trinity would help the school thrive and flourish in the years to come.
“I’m very, very happy that God, one way or the other, has done his will,” said Ibe. “I ask [him] for the strength and the wisdom to continue to serve him, to continue to believe in the potentiality of the little children — [to help] them know that they are special, and helping to protect them and educate them in the right path, as we have been doing.”
“I thank God for the parish of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity; I thank God for the people of North Haven; I thank God for each and every person who [has] made this day a reality — and I believe God will bless them, in his own way.”