December 13th is the Feast of Saint Lucy, Patroness of Saint Lucy Day School
Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., was the main celebrant and homilist during Mass to celebrate Saint Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairments 60th Anniversary. Concelebrating with the Archbishop was Father Thomas Higgins, Father Thomas Viviano and Father Vincent Tung the Pham. Mrs. Betty Crosson, the mother of twin sons who were students at St. Lucy Day School, who first petitioned Cardinal O’Hara to establish a school for the blind in 1955, was in attendance. In addition, Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), who have served as teachers and principals since the opening of the school were present.
Immediately following Mass, students from Saint Lucy Day School and Archbishop Ryan School for the Deaf performed a Christmas concert for those in attendance. After the concert the school held an open house and tours.
Sister Lisa Lettiere, IHM, Principal of St. Lucy Day School and Archbishop Ryan School for the Deaf said, “The 60th Anniversary of Saint Lucy Day School is a powerful testament to the students, parents, and teachers who have been a part of this school community throughout the years. The love and respect demonstrated for each child in our program is an unmistakable sign of the presence of God among us. This unique Catholic School of Special Education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been a blessing to so many. We look forward in hope that our school can continue to provide education to students who are blind and visually impaired for many years to come.”
Saint Lucy Day School was founded within Saint Francis de Sales Parish in Philadelphia in 1955. At that time, there was a high population of blind children due to the overuse of oxygen in hospitals to save the lives of premature babies, as well as the rubella epidemic of the early 1960’s. As these children reached school age, their parents sought a program which would provide instruction in the Catholic faith as well as the special education their children needed. Finding none available, they approached Cardinal O’Hara, the then Archbishop of Philadelphia, and requested that a school be established for the education of children with visual impairments. Today, Saint Lucy Day School and Archbishop Ryan School for the Deaf serve students in grades K-8 on the campus of Holy Innocents Parish in the Hunting Park Section of Philadelphia and work in cooperation with Holy Innocent Area Catholic Elementary School.
Editor’s Note: For information about the four Special Education Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit http://www.aopcatholicschools.org/special-education/. For information about Faith in the Future visit http://www.faithinthefuture.com/.