PARADE GRAND MARSHAL
Sr. Josephine St. Leger
Life began for Sr. Josephine St. Leger in the lovely countryside around O'Callaghan's Mills in County Clare, Ireland. She was the youngest of five siblings, all of whom were educated at the local National School where faith and life were closely linked. While the distance from home to school was close to two miles the daily trudge by country roads or 'through the fields" were times of growth also, nature at the different seasons gave plenty of scope for learning. Friendships to last a lifetime were forged during these early years.
Secondary school was in the big city of Dublin - a culture shock in many ways yet proved beyond doubt the quality of education in the National Schools of Ireland. These years were busy and good ones and prepared Josephine for separation from home and family and where she learned the value of maintaining friendships. This was her first real contact with Sisters and she discovered that the way of life might be what would help her live that gift of faith she had since the beginning of her life. When Josephine's decision to enter the convent was known it did cause some wonderings by those who knew her at the hurling matches and at the ceili dances. The fact that she is here today is the answer to these wonderings!
The United States was to be her first assignment after Religious profession. She was assigned to teach in St. Catherine Laboure School in Torrance, California. The next venture came in four years when she was sent with three other Sisters to open the first Convent of the Order in Hamilton, Ontario. After five years spent in teaching in St. Joseph's School in Hamilton Sr. Josephine spent one year here at Cluny School in Newport where she taught Grade One. It was back to California for the next fifteen years.
In 1979 Sister returned to Newport as Principal of Cluny School. She spent twelve years in this position. During these years she became involved with St. Augustin's Church as Eucharistic Minister and as teacher and later coordinator of the Confirmation Classes in the Religious Education Program. In 1993 she became Pastoral Assistant at St. Augustin's. During all these years Sister was always a Religious Education teacher wherever she was assigned.
The Irish Heritage has been very much part of these years in Newport, Cluny School was supportive of many ventures; were available to bring in the Irish Month by their singing, walk in the Parade, and sing for the Masses in honor of St. Patrick at St. Joseph Church to begin the Parade and at St. Augustin's Church on the feast itself.
Sister Josephine has been on the Board of Directors of the Irish Heritage for many years, she is Trustee of St. Augustin's Parish and Cluny School, and currently serves on the Provincial Council for the Province of United States and Canada for her Congregation. Sister's love for Ireland and its culture never waned. Newport is a great place to keep that love alive and give it expression. It is a joy to celebrate the feast of St. Patrick and Ireland.