The Sisters of Mercy have been leading Alpha since 1890 when it’s founder, Jesse Ripoll, joined the sisters after 10 years of running the 40 acre property with three friends and colleagues. Upon joining the sisters Jesse Ripoll took the name Mother Claver and launched a community of Sisters of Mercy in Jamaica which endures to this day and is responsible for youth welfare, academic and skills training in Kingston and Mandeville. Meet a few of the sisters who have made contributions to Alpha and Jamaica over the years. Meet Sister Goretti and her predecesors at Alpha, Sister Alphanso, Sister Thecla, Sister Mary Liguori and Sister Marie Terese.
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Sister Alphanso Hohn RSM
“Mama Fonso” for 27 years labored lovingly for the spiritual and physical well being of her more than 400 boys. Sister Alphanso Hohn assisted with the boys in such a way that they saw her as a mother they had not known in ordinary every day life. Sister Alphanso Hohn passed away on the 19th of November 1963.
Sister Maria Goretti Howley RSM
Sister Maria Goretti Howley was a new Zealander who spent more than 20 years at Alpha Boys School where she made a sterling contribution. Her contributions to the band program are immeasurable and many past students credit Sister Goretti with their succes.
Sister Mary Liguori Crowley RSM
Sister Mary Liguori Crowley wielded an influence that far out stripped her diminutive frame. In the 1950s she embarked on a project that converted the dusty walkways at Alpha into asphalted roads. Sisters today who have known Sister Mary Liguori Crowley still speak fondly of her whom they had termed endearingly “Napoléon” or “The Little Corporal”. Sister Mary Liguori Crowley passed away on 29 July 1972.
Sister Marie Terese Watson RSM
Sister Marie Terese Watson was another outstanding Jamaican whose memory is venerated by scores of young men who found great inspiration from her wise and spiritual counsel. Sister Marie Terese Watson was awarded the National Honors Award from then Governor General Sir Florizel Augustus Glasspole. She had formerly been decorated with the order of distinction but that year she was promoted the commander class for “Services to Religion Education and Community Welfare”.
Sister Mary Thecla Lautier RSM
Sister Mary Thecla Lautier ministered 11 years at the Alpha Boys School. Whenever she ministered, she endeared herself to all her charges through her simple out going warm and cordial manner. Hers was a cheerful disposition friendly and encouraging that brought much consolation and Joy to the pupils and staff with whom she worked with. Many boys who have graduated from the Alpha Children’s Home think of her with deep appreciation and love. Sister Mary Thecla Lautier died at age 97 on May 31, 2004.
Sister Mary Paschal — what a life!, by Jean Lowrie Chin, published in the Jamaica Gleaner Sunday, 5 March 2017