Sparkill Dominican Leads Parish Community in Building of New Catholic School

MONROE CITY, MO. — Sunday, August 21, 2016 marked an incredible milestone for the parish communities of Holy Rosary and St. Stephen in Monroe City, MO. Parishioners, friends, students and families came together for the dedication and opening of a brand new Catholic elementary school which is the product of nearly five years of research, planning, fundraising and hard work of a tremendous number of committed individuals and partners. 

The new facility, Holy Rosary School, offers a state-of-the-art learning environment to over 170 students in grades Pre-K through 8 whose previous school building, at almost 100 years old, was in desperate need of an overhaul. It was determined that building a new school was a more realistic plan than attempting to fix the old building. So, in August 2012, with the support of the local parishioners and the Bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City, MO, a capital campaign was launched to raise funds for the new facility. The project broke ground in December 2014 and was completed this summer in time for the 2016-2017 academic year. The new building is fully handicap-accessible, air-conditioned throughout, and provides the students with larger gymnasium and library spaces. 

The new Holy Rosary School building and grounds on Locust Street in Monroe City, MO.

The Connection to Sparkill

The Dominican Sisters of Sparkill have ministered at Holy Rosary School for 115 years the longest ministerial presence in the Congregation’s 140-year history – and since the school’s opening in 1901, a Dominican Sister has consistently been the principal. Sister Suzanne Walker, the current Principal and herself a proud Holy Rosary alumna, has led this community of education and faith formation for the past 31 years. Her guidance was instrumental during this period of growth and transition. “We are so grateful to Sr. Suzanne and the wonderful faculty and staff of Holy Rosary School—past and present—for all they have done to live out the mission of the Dominican Sisters here in Monroe City,” said Sr. Margaret Palliser, member of the Sparkill Leadership Team who was present for the dedication. “As Holy Rosary School begins a new chapter of its wonderful story, it stands as a testament to the hard work, sacrifices, and deep commitment of the members of this faith community. The people here want the very best for their children when it comes to their education and faith formation. They trust deeply in God and throughout the school’s history have continuously shown a courageous willingness to sacrifice for the future.”

Dedicating The Building

The Most Rev. John R. Gaydos, Bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving after which he led the prayers of dedication and blessed the new building before more than 450 parishioners of Holy Rosary and St. Stephen parishes. He expressed his deep appreciation for their extraordinary efforts to ensure the future of Catholic education in their community.

Bishop John R. Gaydos blesses the new Holy Rosary School

At the dinner that followed the school’s dedication, Sr. Suzanne Walker spoke to those gathered: “As we think of what has been accomplished, we can be very proud, but we must not lose our focus on the WHY – why have we been allowed to do this, been guided to do this? It is because it is our ministry. We, the people of Holy Rosary and St. Stephen, have a long and strong tradition of supporting Catholic education. We know that it is our responsibility to help lead one another to know Jesus Christ more deeply and follow His way… One way we fulfill this mission is by providing a solid Catholic education to the wonderful young students of our community, and this fantastic new facility is a vehicle of working to accomplish our mission.”

The morning after the dedication, Sr. Suzanne Walker visited with some of the first graders in their new classroom. 

The children’s smiles said it all as the school year began! Certainly, any new Catholic School being built today is cause for rejoicing. This school, however, also holds a very special place in the hearts of hundreds of Dominican Sisters and lay teachers, as well as the many individuals who have been educated there for the past 115 years.

We congratulate the Holy Rosary School community on this great milestone for Catholic education in Monroe City, and we share in their excitement for all that lies ahead with the new facility! 

Additional local coverage of this story can be found at:

CBS news

The Catholic Missourian

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