By Gail Merhair
St Dominic’s Convent
On Saturday, October 8, approximately 85 past students of St Dominic’s Convent (Barataria) held a “surprise” Tea Party at St Dominic’s Children Home, Belmont to celebrate the 80th birthday of Sr Catherine Therese Mc Comie OP. Joining via Zoom was an overseas cohort of 25 past students who viewed the event online.
Also in attendance were Sr Catherine’s family, other Sisters in residence and her school friends from St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain. After the proceedings, the students joined the residents of the Home for Holy Mass.
Sr Catherine was surprised, a bit emotional yet filled with humility, love, and gratitude. Wendy Foncette (past student) directed the proceedings as the Mistress of Ceremonies injecting some humour and much loved memories.
The mood was set by the melodious voice of Clarice Beeput, the 2022 Solo Music Festival Winner who sang ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. The lilting and hypnotic voice of Wendell Constantine filled the room with his rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Love Changes Everything’ and Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Like a Bridge over Troubled Water’. The latter song had persons swaying on their feet and hands in the air.
As the passionate tributes flowed it was clear that Sr Catherine’s impact on the lives of these ladies was enormous and treasured. Each speaker shared fond memories of their time at St Dominic’s Convent and their interaction with Sr Catherine. Some spoke about the challenging times where Sister provided hope.
Another remembered that Sister kept us grounded in prayer and cultivated our great love for the Virgin Mary and the rosary. Others spoke of the connection that Sister maintained throughout their lives always with an outpouring of love, support, and guidance.
Sr Catherine spoke of her motto which is that of her patron Saint, St Therese of Lisieux: “do ordinary things extraordinary well”. She fondly remembered her years at St Dominic’s Convent where she “loved every child that came into her care” and the “community spirit” she enjoyed with the School and the Principal Sr Moyra Ann Roach OP (deceased).
Although praises were given to Sr Catherine, she said that our parents at that time, “chose to send you all to St Dominic’s that means your parents cared” and her role was to love and guide us because we were entrusted in her care. We were all so touched by her humility, grace, and strength.
The message of love, camaraderie and sisterhood prevailed for the entire afternoon, and it soon became clear to all present that the friendships and bonds made in our teenage years was everlasting.
Past students journeyed from Barbados, Canada, USA, and all parts of T&T to pay tribute to Sr Catherine. A mini reunion one might say…the memories, the fun, the laughter, and the love was ever present.
As a pivotal figure in our lives Sr Catherine has moulded us into the persons that we are today; she continues to be our mentor, our guide, and our friend.
The planning committee would like to thank: JAD Jewelry, Thumbs Up, Lucent Research Ltd, Mario’s Pizzeria (who provided pizza for the children) and all the St Dominic’s past students who supported this event.
Caterers for the afternoon were Boomerang, and the sound system and deejay services were provided by Edward and Nicholas Camps from EC Audio.