New Bedford Catholic School named Saint Teresa of Calcutta School

NEW BEDFORD — A new Catholic school resulting from the merger of St. James-St. John and Holy Family Holy Name the schools will be known as Saint Teresa School of Calcutta, diocesan and school officials announced Thursday.

The name chosen is the result of gathering feedback from family, staff and students and the prayerful reflection of Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, said Cristina Viveiros-Serra, director of St. James St. John. “Our bishop gathered all the information and feedback and prayed about it, and now we look forward to a new school year under this great new name,” Viveiros-Serra told The Standard-Times.

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More space means a new STEM lab, full-size gym

The project includes the continuation of operations at the existing St. James St. John School at 180 Orchard Street, with major renovations to the adjoining school. Kennedy Youth Center at 377 County St. to make it the new home of the middle classes of Saint Teresa School of Calcutta as well as some shared facilities.

“Our STEM lab will certainly open up opportunities for all students in our new school, from kindergarten to grade 8, and we are also excited to have a full-size gym that will serve multiple purposes – a cafeteria, a space where productions and events can take place, as well as being great for the sports and activities aspect of our school,” said Viveiros-Serra.

Currently, Holy Family Holy Name School at 91 Summer St. is the only one of the two schools with a STEM lab.

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What to expect: registration, project completion, tuition fees

According to Catholic School Alliance Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment Sandi M. Duxbury, the “target enrollment” for the opening of the new school will be 325. The current combined enrollment for two schools is 330, Duxbury said, noting that officials expect the project to be completed in time for a new school year in late August.

Tuition fees, Duxbury explained, will not be affected by the project, but there will be a slight increase for other reasons. “Tuition fees have not been impacted as a result of the project, as 100% of tuition fees are allocated to cover the costs of teacher and staff salaries as well as the normal operational costs of running a school; i.e. heating, electricity, internet, etc.” Duxbury writes by e-mail. “Furthermore, the proposed operating budget for 2022-2023 takes into account an increase in these costs, as our Catholic schools are not immune to inflationary pressures and, as a result, we have had to reluctantly pass on a portion of these costs on our families.

Reverend Michael Racine speaks about St. Therese of Calcutta Thursday night at the Kennedy Youth Center, after it was announced that the new Catholic school in New Bedford will be named after her.

“That said, we are working hard to mitigate the impact through access to financial assistance for more of our families.”

The diocese currently has no plan for the Holy Family Holy Name School building, which it currently retains ownership of, Duxbury said.

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Saint Therese and New Bedford

On June 14, 1995, Saint Teresa of Calcutta – then known as Mother Teresa – visited New Bedford. The visit is a momentous occasion in the city, as crowds lined County Street to greet the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize laureate as she visited the local chapter of her own Missionaries of Charity. During the visit, she spoke at the nearby St. Lawrence Martyr Church. In a June 16, 1995 article published by the Diocese of Fall River The anchorthe visit was described as “one of the greatest days in the history of the 91-year-old Diocese of Fall River and the 148-year-old whaling town of New Bedford”.

She died two years after visiting New Bedford on September 5, 1997 at the age of 87.

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