Thursday, March 9th, 2017 7th Annual Anam Cara Awards (immediately following the Acre Forum) Long Meadow Golf Club
We proudly recognize our loyal soul friends who have made significant contributions within the Greater Lowell Community to the preservation of Irish Culture and Heritage.
The Anam C’ara Award “Is namhaid í an cheird gan í a fhoghlaim.” “A craft is an enemy if not learned.”
The Gaelic term Anam C’ara is translated as Soul Friend. It represents one who has bound themselves to another through an act of friendship and belonging. We recognize the contributions of those who have shared their time, treasures, and talents in giving back to the Community by preserving and promoting Lowell’s Irish Culture, and the Acre neighborhood.
The following are the 2017 recipients of St. Patrick Parish Anam C’ara Award:
Sr. Lori Fleming, SND A native of Methuen, Massachusetts, Sr. Lori entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1963. She professed her First Vows on July 30, 1966 at Ipswich, Massachusetts, and professed her Perpetual (Final) Vows on October 15, 1972 at St. Monica's Church in Methuen. She thereafter performed the work which the Foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, St. Julie Billiart, regarded as "the most important work on earth;" she became a teacher. Sr. Lori taught at several locations in the Greater Boston and Merrimack Valley, and was ultimately asked to accept the position of Principal due to her outstanding service and dedication. Sr. Lori served as the Principal of St. Patrick School in Lowell from 1984 through 1991, and thereafter served as the Principal of St. Margaret School in Lowell from 1991 until her retirement in 2016. Throughout her career in education, Sr. Lori celebrated diversity, and enjoyed both learning and teaching the distinct and interesting aspects of the many cultures in her communities. Ever proud of her own Irish ancestry, Sr. Lori delighted in sharing stories and traditions of the Irish and Irish Americans in her schools, and always incorporated the teachings of St. Patrick in her lessons and assemblies during the month of March. While serving as Principal at St. Margaret School, students learned of St. Patrick’s use of the shamrock to explain the mystery of the Trinity in celebration of the Feast of St. Patrick. Sr. Lori also incorporated and preserved several traditions for both the school and parish, including an annual Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner, with traditional Irish dance, music and merriment. St. Patrick’s Day at St. Margaret School during Sr. Lori’s tenure as Principal always included a celebration with students performing and enjoying traditional music and dance. Observing the school’s Irish American student-dancers teaching steps to their classmates of various cultures was a testament to Sr. Lori’s pride in her own Irish American heritage, while fully embracing the diversity of her student population. Although she retired as Principal in 2016, Sr. Lori continues to serve her adopted City of Lowell in several ways. She is currently the Coordinator of Pastoral Care for St. Margaret Parish, providing direct services to parishioners and residents of the parish boundaries, while also coordinating volunteer service opportunities for adult and youth parishioners. In addition, she continues to perform various educational services for students of St. Margaret Parish and Lowell Catholic.
Richard E. Noon, Esq. Richard traces his family roots to Sligo, Ennis, and Inch Strand, near Dingle. In the 1980s and 1990s, he and his wife, Mary Foley Noon, made frequent trips to Feighroe, an area in the town of Connolly, west of Ennis in County Clare, many times, frequently spending days with relatives. My father was deeply influenced by these trips to Ireland and came to embrace Irish culture seriously. For years, he took classes in speaking and reading Irish Gaelic. Eileen Sullivan was his guide and teacher and made it possible for him to be the Irish lector at the annual Irish Cultural Week Mass at St. Patrick’s Church for many years. He proudly accompanied her singing the Irish national anthem, “Amhrán Na bhFiann,” The Soldier’s Song, at the annual raising of the Irish flag at City Hall. For many years, Dick and his family celebrated Easter Mass at Our Lady of Good Voyage on Northern Avenue in Boston. He is proud of his Irish heritage and is grateful and humbled by this recognition.
Daniel P. Leahy, Esq.(January 10, 1935 – August 10, 2016) Dan was a lifelong Lowell resident, the son of the late John J. Leahy of Ireland and the late Elizaeth (Power) Leahy of Lowell. Despite his many professional and family responsibilities throughout his life, Dan remained true to his Irish Catholic Heritage and lived a life of service. Dan attended St. Margaret Grammar School and graduated from Keith Academy, Class of 1952. After high school, Dan proudly served his country in the United States Army. Following his honorable discharge from the armed forces, he graduated from Boston College and Suffolk University Law School. Dan wore many hats throughout his career. He worked locally as an attorney, with a private practice in the City of Lowell. He served in the Massachusetts General Court as a State Senator for two terms, from 1994-1998. He served as an elected member of the Lowell City Council. Dan also worked for the Commonwealth’s Trial Court as a Clerk Magistrate in Charlestown. True to his Irish Catholic roots, Dan was always very active in many charitable, non-profit and service organizations. Most notable, he was the founder of Thanksgiving: A Celebration of Life, a fundraiser he organized in Lowell with his brother-in-law Al Lenzi, that raised thousands of dollars to support the ministry of Fr. Gregory Ramkisson in Kingston, Jamaica, to feed, clothe and shelter poor and disabled children. Dan made several trips to Jamaica to personally deliver food, supplies and gifts. Helping the poor was a cause close to his heart, and an intrinsic dimension of his Christian faith. Dan also served as President of the Lowell Bar Association and a Board member of Ironstone Farm’s Challenge Unlimited. Dan enjoyed summer family vacations, particularly a 1988 trip to Europe. The family ended the trip in Ireland, so that the family could meet some cousins. He later paid for the Irish family members to travel to the U.S. to continue their relationship. Dan will be forever remembered for his charity and service to the Greater Lowell Community, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and throughout the world.
Noreen Conlon Emigrating from Kanturk, County Cork Ireland to North Billerica in 1958, Noreen “Finn” Conlon has been a constant advocate for the promotion and celebration in her community for Irish Culture. Her formative years in Ireland grounded her in the rich soil and soul of Irish Culture and Tradition. Noreen Conlon earned her Master Degree in Education. She was a grammar school teacher for over 30 years in Lowell at St. Michaels’s parochial school and the Shaughnessy Elementary School. Having seen the value of education in her own life, she wanted to uplift people, so they could reach their full potential in life. With that in mind she helped establish the LAOH and AOH scholarship to help youth of Irish American roots complete their higher education goals. Her own experience of leaving Ireland to live with her Aunt Julia in North Billerica shaped her desire to help new immigrants adjust to life in America. Noreen became the first president of Division 1 of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians in Lowell over 25 years ago. Together with a band of sisters she worked tirelessly to help bring awareness and celebration of Irish Culture in Lowell. She saw the value of having Ceili dances at the Lowell Elks each year as a way to share her Irish Culture, so that children as well as adults could enjoy the active learning and fun that came with Irish music. This celebration of Irish music was a learning experience that made Irish culture come alive for everyone in our community. She wanted Irish Americans to stay connected to their Irish roots. Noreen participated in efforts to bring Phil Coulter and Frank Patterson to Lowell. She has been and is cheerleader for all things Irish in our city, in our state, and in our country.
Long Meadow Golf Club 165 Havilah St Lowell MA 01852