Villa Maria students find their inner peace on school’s Peace Day

Villa Maria students take part in Peace Day on Sept. 21, 2021.
Photo courtesy Caroline Hennessy

The unique Villa Maria Academy tradition of celebrating peace in coordination with the United Nation’s International Day of Peace continued on this 16th annual Villa Peace Day. Students meditated on inner peace and created “glitter jars” as a reminder to stop and breath, and find peace within so it can be shared with the world.

Villa’s peace day was inspired by the United Nations Day of Peace, celebrated each year on Sept. 21. On this day, all nations, even those engaged in conflict, commit to non-violence and cease fire. The Roman Catholic Church along with other churches around the world pray for peace on this International Day of Prayer for Peace. Sr. Teresa Barton was inspired by them to initiate “Villa Peace Day” just a few years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “Villa Peace Day” was born as an expression of the school community’s dedication to peace and justice, and to honor the memory of all those lost on that terrible day.

Every year there is a different theme to illustrate and embody peace that can be used to interpret the meaning of peace for students of all ages. From “Petals for Peace” to “Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace” to this year’s theme “Inner Peace,” the essential theme is always constant. Celebrating peace helps Villa students remember and understand that peace is a choice and something worth working towards every day. Being mindful of the peaceful energy we generate in our hearts helps us share it out into the world, enriching our families and communities.

The event was planned by Mrs. Mastropietro, the head of Campus Ministry, with lots of help on the glitter jar assembly line from Mrs. Haney and Miss Giorgio. Social distancing prevented a community assembly so classes observed the day in small groups, enjoying the perfect weather of the last day of summer. After all the students assembled their own colorful glitter jar, Mrs. Mastropietro led a reflection on inner peace, finishing each session with a prayer for peace in the form of a  “Hail Mary” dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Peace.

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