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a 100+ year story of service

On June 19, we had the delightful experience of dedicating a bench and 3 cherry trees in Eastside Park, Paterson, New Jersey. The Province of the Immaculate Conception donated these to the people of Paterson,   as a symbol of our 100 plus years of presence to and with the city and its needs.

17 SMICs were joined by the Bishop of the Diocese of Paterson Arthur Serratelli, his priest secretary and Vice chancellor Fr. Kevin Corcoran, Chancellor and Delegate for Religious Sister Joan Daniel Healy, SCC, current mayor Jane  Williams-Warren, the mayor elect Andre Sayegh, as well as Gianfranco Archimede, Executive Director of the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission, Joanne Wiley of the Eastside Neighborhood Association and a commissioner of the Historic Preservation Commission as well as several officers and members of the Eastside Neighborhood Association.

Several years ago while attending another dedication in the Park of a bench donated by the Islamic Center of Passaic County, Sister Barbara Fried remarked that this would be a wonderful way to commemorate our time in the city when we would be leaving for senior housing elsewhere.

So began a 3-year process navigating the inner workings of city government, historical commissions, and various civic councils to bring about this moment.  Thanks to the able guidance of Joanne Wiley and the on-going efforts of Mr. Archimede, it was finally accomplished.  In addition to the bench for rest and relaxation of park-goers, we added the flowering cherry trees to not only enhance the beauty of the park but to back up our province environmental stance on constructively helping with climate change.

As we started to name the various ways we have been present to the people of Paterson through the years we realized that we were involved on the west side, through St. Bonaventure parish and Don Bosco High School, center city at Martin de Porres, Eva’s Village, St. Joseph Hospital as well as Paterson General, several elementary schools, the Paterson Public library, on the north side with Associate Ethel Williams, on the east side through Barnet Hospital, St. Therese parish, the Eastside Neighborhood Association, and Paterson Catholic High School.

In recognition of all this, the city council of Paterson presented a plaque to our leadership team. The Historical commission also honored the Missionary Sisters with their annual award citing people who treasure the city and its people in their actions and presence.

Following the ceremony which ended with the Sisters blessing the bench and trees with holy water and a prayer for all those who would use the bench and enjoy the trees, billed by the historical as a place of contemplation, all adjourned to Joanne Wiley’s home in the neighborhood for tea and sandwiches and sweets.

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