Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 19, 1915 when ground was broken for St. Stephen Church, Hamden.
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lauralton-Legacy-ReceptionDevin Connelly, front left, with cousins and grandmother MaryLou Dailey Connelly, a 1951 graduate of Lauralton

MILFORD – Lauralton Hall’s legacy continued on Jan. 29 as current and incoming freshmen, whose mothers and/or grandmothers graduated from Lauralton, were recognized at the annual Legacy Reception. The families were joined by faculty and staff, many of whom are Lauralton alums, and members of the Alumnae Board. 

The event was held at the school’s Claven Auditorium.

Kathleen Shine, director of enrollment management, opened the program. "As the first Catholic college-preparatory school for girls in Connecticut, Lauralton Hall is fortunate to have so many generations of students continue the family legacy. We are proud that this year, 26 of our accepted students and 46 of our current students chose to follow in the footsteps of their mothers and grandmothers. Each student enters ready to learn and as the alumnae here can attest, each leaves as an independent and empowered woman, ready to take on the world," she said.

Among the attendees was Rita Dlugas Mencel, grandmother of Allison Haynes, who will join the class of 2017 in the fall.

"I was thrilled when I heard that Allison was accepted," said Ms. Mencel. "Lauralton has played such an important role in my life. When I was a sophomore, a group of us formed the Iota Club. We continued to meet during college, after we married and had children, and 50 years later we still meet," she said.

Allison, who has visited Lauralton since she was 2 years old, has fond memories of helping her grandmother prepare auction baskets for Christmas in the mansion.

Kathleen Kearns Donahue, ’80, director of alumnae relations and special events, and the mother of a current Lauralton student, spoke about the value of maintaining traditions.

"One of the many exciting things about Lauralton is sharing traditions that are the same ones shared by your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and cousins," she said, naming sophomore retreats and the junior ring ceremony among them.

"We know that one day you will recognize this unique bond that we Lauralton ladies share and that you will cherish these memories along with your mothers and perhaps your own daughters." 

Mrs. Donahue was excited to see that 11 members of one "legacy family" were on hand to celebrate Devin Connelly’s acceptance to Lauralton.

Devin’s grandmother, MaryLou Dailey Connelly, ’51, attended, as did several of her cousins, including Megan Brennan Chiota, ’93, Mrs. Donahue said.

She said that Megan Chiota’s parents are Alyson Brennan, the recipient of the 1987 Claven Award for lifetime achievement, and the late Robert J. Brennan, former chairman of the board of trustees and recipient of the 1998 McClean Award for enduring friendship and generosity.  Her in-laws, Judge John P. Chiota and alumna Diane Chiota, also are Claven and McClean Award recipients.

"It is amazing to see a family like this with generations so deeply connected and committed to Lauralton. They truly embody the core values of a Mercy education. We are very proud of all them," Mrs. Donahue said.

Lauralton Hall president Dr. Toni Iadarola spoke about the importance Lauralton Hall places on following the Mercy core values while also focusing on incorporating modern technology and improving facilities such as the soon-to-be-restored Carriage Barn.

"You have given us the gift of your daughter or granddaughter," she said, "and it’s an honor and a privilege to educate her. On behalf of the entire Lauralton Hall community, we thank you."

Information about the school is available from Mrs. Donahue at (203) 877-2786, ext. 114, or


alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.