Mother of Divine Grace Primary school Ballygall, known locally as ”The Mother’ honoured a past school principal, Sr Benen Staines, in a tree-planting ceremony in the school’s award- winning garden on Friday 30 May 2014.
Sr Benen was principal for over twenty years, from 1973 to 1996, and is fondly remembered by the local community including many parents who are past students of the school. A tall, striking woman, Benen cut an unforgettable figure on her bike in a dashing imitiation of a ‘flying nun’ as she cycled from Glasnevin to ‘The Mother’ in full habit in all weathers. The students in first class produced imaginative pencil drawings of Sr Bener’s bike which ranged in style from a penny-farthing to a mountain bike!
Students, staff and visitors were delighted to see Benen’s nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand-nephews as Mr Brian Staines, Sr Benen’s brother, planted the tree assisted by the Chair of the Board of Management, Sr Brenda Maddock and the school principal, Mrs Eleanor Fahey. Former teachers and sisters who had taught there attended along with Sr Vivienne Keely, the Holy Faith congregational leader and Sr Rosaleen Cunniffe, the regional leader. The words on the plaque read ‘Sr Benen Staines, by word and action she showed the love and truth of Jesus’
Visitors were welcomed by fifth class girls whose hospitality skills were well-honed. A beautiful prayer service honouring Mary in the month of May had been prepared and the whole school and visitors participated enthusiastically. Some of the infants were in full voice, holding nothing back! Anyone who has taught primary school children would appreciate how much work and effort had been put into the organisation of the prayer service.
The tree safely planted, delicious refreshments were served. Congratulations and a big thank you to the staff and students of Mother of Divine Grace for their very fitting tribute to one who served them so well for so long.