History of the Religious Sisters Filippini
The History of the Religious Sisters Filippini at St. Thomas Aquinas School
Our school was founded under the direction of Monsignor Douglas Raun, Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church, who obtained permission and support for this school venture from the late Archbishop Emeritus Michael Sheehan, the former Archbishop of Santa Fe. Monsignor Raun traveled to the Mother House of the Religious Teachers Filippini in Morristown, New Jersey to request religious sisters to establish the new school. This religious order was founded by Saint Lucy Filippini in Montefiascone, Italy for the teaching of poor young women. In 1910, five missionary sisters were sent to the United States by St. Pope Pius X to teach Italian immigrants in Trenton, New Jersey. Their charism is “Euntes Docete Verbum Domini,” or “Go and teach the word of God.” Through Monsignor’s diligent effort, four sisters came to New Mexico to found St. Thomas Aquinas School.
Sr. Mary Klersey served as the school’s first principal. Sr. Anne Louise Abascal was the first grade teacher, Sr. Dolores Jensen was the 5th grade teacher, and Sr. Alma Blume served the parish as the Director of Religious education. Monsignor Raun, with the assistance of Sr. Mary initiated the beginning phase of our school. Many volunteers aided the Religious Sisters Filippini in the preparation of the school for its opening on August 14, 2000. At that time, the school served 143 students in grades K - 5. Since then, STAS has grown to encompass grades preK - 8, and presently serves 310 students.
Our founding sisters gave of themselves with great love and devotion. They have acted as little reminders of St. Lucy by proclaiming the Word of God and serving with great dedication and love. We are so proud to be a Filippini school and carry on the traditions of Catholic Education handed down through the order for hundreds of years.
Today, we give thanks for the Religious Sisters Filippini. We were blessed to have had other sisters come to serve our community. Sr. Roseann Fernandez joined the St. Thomas Aquinas School Community. She served as a 5th grade teacher; she continues to support the school by teaching elective courses and supporting the St. Lucy Club. We were also served by Sr. Diana Yodris and Sr. Luciana D’Cruze; their time with us made a difference. We are thankful and blessed to have Sr. Anne Louise Abascal, one of our original founding sisters, as our school principal. She has blessed the school with her leadership. We are also grateful to our other founding sisters, Sr. Mary, Sr. Dolores, and Sr. Alma. They are missed, but our little corner of the world in NM was forever changed by their sacrifices to move to NM and start our school. May God bless all our dear sisters as we honor them with great gratitude tonight and always.