|June 26, 2017 • VOL. 55, NO. 12 • Oakland, CA|
| Treasuring Catholic schools' legacy of excellence
Kindness, inspiration, discipline
St. Jarlath Church and School are named in honor of St. Jarlath of Tuam, Ireland. Jarlath was a bishop of the late 5th Century; he was said to have been humble and childlike in nature. Legend tells us that as a young man, he was told to take God's word out into the Irish countryside. Where his cart broke, it was there he was to stay and build his Church. Off he went, and when his wagon broke down in what is now County Galway, he founded both a church and a school. Statues of St. Jarlath usually picture him standing with a broken wagon wheel.
Like the neighborhood, the parish has seen many changes in its ethnic composition. At one time, this was an area of Irish and German residents; the school population later reflected a veritable rainbow of nationalities, cultures and religions.
St. Jarlath School opened in fall 1930, with its first graduating class in 1934. Staffing at the time was provided by 15 Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet. The sisters served St. Jarlath School and Parish long and faithfully; the last sister/administrator left in 1989 and was followed by the school's first lay principal.
In the book prepared to celebrate the school's golden jubilee, Patricia MacConnell, Class of 1940 recalled: "St. Jarlath School was the center of my activities from 1932-40. Impressions which spontaneously arose as I reached back in memory over 40 years are: the kindness of older students to the younger children and the inspiration of the sisters, their balance of kindness and discipline. Those years continue to influence my life, today as a Sister of St. Joseph.
Patricia MacConnell had become Sister Thomas Bernard, CSJ. Today she is known as Sister Thomas Bernard MacConnell, CSJ.
The school's familial connections were brought home in a remembrance by Dorene Boynter Cosgrove, Class of 1946. By 1980, seven of her eight children had graduated. Her youngest son was in sixth grade and her eldest grandson was in first grade.
Source: "Golden Jubilee St. Jarlath's School 1930-80"
— Michele Jurich
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