By TAYLOR HARTZ
Southington UNICO has announced this year’s recipient of their prestigious Gold Medal of Honor. Sister Marie Rose Roccapriore, M.P.F., of St. Thomas Catholic Church, will receive this year’s award.
Announcing the award on March 19, Town Councilor and UNICO member Dawn Miceli called Sister Marie “one of Southington’s secret treasures.”
For nearly 20-years, Sister Marie has served the St. Thomas parish and the town of Southington, focusing on programs and initiatives that help those in assisted living facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes.
“It is important to reach out, especially to the sick and the elderly,” said Sister Marie, “We are all called by God to serve one another.”
Among her most noted efforts include the Spirit Joy Children’s Ministry and the Lap Blanket Prayer Ministry.
Sister Marie founded the Spirit Joy program as a way to bring children and the elderly together in the community. The Sister serves as a songwriter and director for the group of more than 30 children, who perform prayer-based songs at local hospitals and health care facilities.
Partnered with singer and guitarist Jose Feliciano, Sister Marie produced two CDs and DVDs of her children’s music, through Feliciano Productions. She has also authored two books, titled “Moments in the Spirit” and “Anointing the Sick and Elderly.”
Through her blanket program, Sister Marie and a group of 20 other local women have provided local care facilities with more than 1,000 hand-kitted blankets.
“Sister Marie is truly the epitome of UNICO’s creed of ‘service above self’,” said Miceli.
UNICO has recognized one outstanding citizen with this award annually since 1945.
Chairman for the award’s Selection Committee Mark Sciota said the gold medal “is the ultimate form of recognition as it signifies that the recipient has followed a path in life that models the ideals of UNICO.”
The gold medal is meant to distinguish a community member who promotes education, cares for the community, and supports charitable and educational projects.
A lifelong educator, Sister Marie serves as the Director of Religious Education for St. Thomas and is a member of the Religious Teachers Filippini Community.
She holds degrees from Villa Walsh College, Notre Dame of Maryland University, LaSalle University, and Hartford Seminary.
“Sister Marie has dedicated her life to others,” said Sciota, “and her heartfelt contributions to our community and others are truly admirable.”
Sister Marie will be honored at the 2016 Gold Medal Award Dinner, held at The Aqua Turf Club at 6p.m. on May 18.
Tickets will be available soon. Contact any Southington UNICO member to secure your seat.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Hartz, email her at THartz@SouthingtonObserver.com.