Sister Jane F. Morrissey announced as 2017 Grand Marshal of the 66th Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade
This evening, the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke announced that its 66th Grand Marshal is Sister of St. Joseph, Jane F. Morrissey. The Grand Marshal is the highest local honor given to a person who has distinguished themselves as a loyal person to their career, their family, and to their Irish ancestry.
The former President of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, Sister Jane is an educator, social justice activist and humanitarian who has worked among the poor all over the world – from Colombia, Peru and Guatemala to Springfield and Holyoke.
In the early 1980’s, Sister Jane and her fellow sisters opened the Gray House in Springfield’s North End, turning an abandoned home into a neighborhood center that provides services to meet the civic, social and educational needs of their neighbors. Today, the Gray House continues to help struggling people and families in Springfield by operating several services including a Food Pantry, an Adult Education Program and a Kid’s Club.
Recognizing the critical need for advanced education for children living in poor neighborhoods, Sister Jane and Sister Maureen Broughan started the Homework House in Holyoke’s Flats neighborhood in 2006. Modeled after a successful after-school program in California, volunteers at the Homework House offer free and individualized tutoring and mentoring to at-risk elementary school children. Homework House started out small with just 20 children and 15 volunteer tutors working with children two days a week; it has now expanded to a second location in Holyoke’s Churchill section and now serves almost 100 children each day with the help of over 250 volunteers.
Patti Devine, 2016 Grand Marshal and Chair of the Grand Marshal’s Selection Committee said
“with education being so important to our 2017 President, Mike Moriarty and our Grand Marshal, I must also celebrate my own education in Holyoke where I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph. I am proud to have our next Grand Marshal follow me in a year that brought me much happiness and pride, and pretty good weather! Congratulations to Sister Jane!”
Parade President, Michael Moriarty said
“The mission of our Committee speaks to God, heritage and service. Sister Jane represents each of these facets, and in particular, the creation of Homework House is a legacy of service to the City of Holyoke that is immense. We are thrilled that Sister Jane has accepted this honor and we look forward to March 19, when she will lead the Parade down the streets of Holyoke.”
Coincidentally, the 2017 Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade falls on the same day as the Feast of St. Joseph. In honor of the dedicated women of the Sisters of St. Joseph who tirelessly and selflessly serve the people of Western Massachusetts, the Committee is proud to recognize Sister Jane F. Morrissey as its 2017 Grand Marshal.
The 66th St. Patrick’s Parade will be held on Sunday, March 19, 2017 and the 42nd St. Patrick’s Road Race will be held on Saturday March 18, 2017. For more information, please visit our website at holyokestpatricksparade.com