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Saintly courtyard blessing for Stafford students

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For years, the courtyard outside the middle school hallway was an unkempt eyesore, said David Lima, principal of St. William of York School in Stafford. The playground, overwhelmed by insects, had to be removed. Then the weeds took over. “It turned into a really ugly space,” said Lima.


So last year, the school decided to use money they raised through their fun run to beautify the area with a garden. Now, a pathway from the school leads through the grass to a white statue of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton surrounded by bunches of mums and bushes.


“What really makes it a special place is that it was made and put together by parents, students and staff,” said Lima. “There were no professionals involved. We gingerly put the statue up and hoped it didn't fall,” he joked. “It's a nice quiet place for the kids to meditate and pray.”


On All Saints Day, Father Robert J. DeMartino, pastor, blessed the statue and courtyard. He told the students that as a child, every day the nuns at his Catholic school prayed for the canonization of Elizabeth Ann Seton. “She’s responsible for the Catholic school system as we know it in our country today,” he said.


Throughout the church and school grounds are other statues of saints, such as St. Therese of Lisieux and Our Lady of Grace, where parishioners and students can take a moment to pray.  


“The students know this is a place of God, all the time,” said Lima. “All these saints are always here watching out for us and praying for us.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017