The Deacon's Bench

From the In My Own Backyard Desk: a generous and anonymous benefactor is giving back to the Church that gave him so much — and a group of recently unemployed nuns is reaping the benefits.

The scoop, in the NY Daily News:

A godsend for poor Brooklyn students is also turning into a miracle for a quartet of laid-off nuns.

An anonymous benefactor who is bankrolling the soon-to-open Pope John Paul II Family Academy in Bushwick has also hired the Catholic school educators whose school was set to close.

“It was divine providence,” said Sister Natalina Rotatori.

Rotatori taught for 34 years at the St. Brendan’s School in New Haven, which merged with another school and will shut down for good in August.

“For two weeks, we were jobless,” Rotatori said. “We prayed.”

Just when the laid-off sisters were starting to lose hope, Sister Mary Antoinette Cappelli answered a late-night phone call.

On the other line was the patron of the new school in Bushwick.

He credited his success to Catholic education and said he wanted to give something back.

“I feel it was a call from God,” Cappelli said Monday. “We were not looking for anything else, and I had never heard of this gentleman.”

The donor offered to hire all four nuns who had lost their jobs.

“Without even asking for it, the Lord has granted me the grace for working in a school for poor children,” she said. “I feel very grateful to God for this special favor.”

Cappelli, Rotatori, and Sister Daisy Kollamparampil are now set for a new mission in an underserved and demanding neighborhood.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for us in so many areas,” Rotatori said.

The new Family Academy, located at 139 Menahan St., will offer free tuition to students whose families are under the federal income threshold for poverty.

The school, with 10 faculty members, will serve 100 students from pre-K to third grade in its first year, said headmaster John Murphy.

“The idea of us creating this school in this neighborhood and having four sisters who dedicated themselves to Catholic education and living,” Murphy said, “I think that’s nothing short of a miracle.”

Check out more details from the link.

PHOTO: Sisters Marykutty Edavazhickal (l.) and Mary Antoinette Cappelli outside of what will be the school at St Barbara’s church in Bushwick. From the NY Daily News.

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