TAMPA — Former and current students as well as supporters of two nuns gathered at a recent reception to honor the women for their service.
The small event was part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Sister Mary Rinaldi as a nun; it also served to thank Sister Clare Kennelly, who is leaving Villa Madonna School and the Salesian Center for Miami.
Both are members of the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, a Roman Catholic religious order founded in 1872. It is considered a teaching order that operates worldwide.
Rinaldi, who has served as the director of development for the order for 25 years, was instrumental in forming a partnership between the school and Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa to establish the center.
“Just celebrating 50 years has been a joy,” Rinaldi said.
She thanked the guests, saying, “I look at the faces we have here. You have been here for 25 years or more. You are believers who came along the way.”
Kennelly, who was presented a new suitcase for her travels, said she enjoyed being at the school for nine years.
“It has been a privilege to be with these giving people — and have fun, too,” she told the guests.
The event also served as an opportunity for the school’s new principal, Sister Mary Jackson, to get to know more families in the school.