Charlottesville Catholic School gets witness in faith
When Paul and Sheila Cantonwine traveled to Charlottesville Catholic School to honor the winner of a scholarship in memory of the daughter they lost at birth, little did anyone know what would result from their visit.
The Cantonwines were living in Charlottesville and members of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish when they lost their first born daughter, Grace, in March 1999.
Mr. Cantonwine shared how Tony DiTolve, a member of the Father Justin Cunningham Council #11324 of the Knights of Columbus, helped them in their tragic loss by suggesting they honor their daughter by giving a scholarship to a student at Charlottesville Catholic School.
The Knights helped the couple establish the Grace Cullen Cantonwine Memorial Scholarship fund which is now housed as part of the McMahon Parater Foundation for Education. The Knights continue to fund the annual $1,000 award as they help the Cantonwines raise the money to meet the goal that will fully endow the fund.
At Mass where the presentation was made, Father Luke Clarke, a Dominican, spoke of what a privilege it is for the students of a Catholic school to be trained in “becoming a saint.”
Later, Annette Parsons, Chief Educational Administrator for the Office of Catholic Education, introduced the Cantonwine family by honoring the memory of their daughter, Grace, with the simple statement, “Grace is a saint.”
Mr. Cantonwine shared how Grace has always remained a part of their family’s life. They brought their other two children, John Paul and Susie, to share this part of their family’s life story.
In honoring Maura Davis, this year’s winner, he expressed how impressed they have been over the years at the caliber of the students who apply for the scholarship.
Mrs. Cantonwine said the family keeps the recipients of these scholarships in their prayers. Several families of former recipients of the scholarship were able to thank the Cantonwines at the ceremony.
The opportunity to bring healing to a grieving family is the unique gift that a community of faith can bring to another.
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