Sister Lucy Caporaso was a native of Bridgeport, as were her parents, Leonard and Concetta (Marranzino) Caporaso. She was born on June 16, 1945, and baptized Lucy Concetta, on August 12 at Holy Rosary Church. One older sister, Sandra, and later another, Lenore, completed the family. Lucy wrote in her autobiography that “One of the happiest days of my life was July 8, 1959, when my little sister Lenore was born. Although there is a great difference in age, we are very close.”
Lucy started school in 1950 at Barnum School in Bridgeport and made First Communion at the early age of six; in 1955, she was ten when Bishop Shehan confirmed her. At Read School she completed elementary education, graduating in June 1959. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur taught Lucy at Notre Dame Catholic High School in Bridgeport, where she was very active in sports, especially basketball and softball. She planned to major in physical education.
Lucy wrote that she often thought of becoming a sister, and at the end of her junior year, postulants from Wilton came to Holy Rosary for a basketball practice. After meeting and talking with them she decided to enter, and approached Sister Amalia at Holy Rosary, after consulting her confessor. The following March 10, she had her interview with Mother Paschal and entered on September 7, 1963. Lucy wrote:
This was a great event for all the members of my family, as well
as my parish, for I was the first to enter from there. On the 7th,
my family attended the 8:00 Mass, and at 11:00 we had the
ceremony followed by Benediction. A reception in the school hall
was followed by a delicious dinner. About 5:00 my family drove
me to Wilton to the Motherhouse.
The postulancy, Lucy wrote, had many happy and memorable days, and laughter was never missing. Basketball and softball teams had very good seasons, even if she did break her finger and sprain her ankle. “Spiritually we received the necessary help to guide us throughout the postulate into the novitiate and help us on the road to perfection.”
Homesickness was her major problem, Lucy wrote, “but I realize how lucky I am to be able to give this precious gift to God.” She attributed her vocation to “her wonderful parents and family for it was in my home that the seeds of my vocation took root.” On August 3, 1964, Reception Day, Lucy received the religious name Leonard Mary in honor of her father. A year later, on August 5, she made first profession, and five years later, on July 19, 1970, final profession. A B.A. in Education was awarded her in 1971 from the College of Notre Dame of Wilton.
Leonard Mary, as her first assignment, helped to open St. Catherine of Siena School in Trumbull, Conn. She was there six years before going for one year to St. John Evangelist School in Leonia, New Jersey. Twelve years at St. Lawrence in Huntington, Conn, followed, and then six years at Trumbull Catholic Regional School, where she was associate administrator. At Gaylord Rehabilitation Hospital in the early 90s, Lucy was a student preparing to become a chaplain, before her return to full time teaching at St. Rose School, In Newtown, Conn. After six years at Holy Spirit School in Stamford, she became director of Admissions at Notre Dame High School in Fairfield, until 2003. She was also elected to the Council of Religious Sisters and Brothers in the Diocese of Bridgeport.
Everywhere she served, Sister Lucy continued her love for sports by organizing teams, coaching, and advising cheerleaders; she helped organize the Girls’ Suburban Basketball and Softball League in the Trumbull area, and directed a summer sports camp. “I realize how much sports can contribute to a child’s maturing process,” she is quoted as saying in the Fairfield County Catholic.
At multi-cultural Holy Spirit School, with her friend Sister Marie Vianney as principal, she involved students in decision-making about academic and community-related activities. These included an active Student Council, collecting boots for Kids in Crisis, a city program for children in need; making cookies for the residents of a nearby convalescent home, a Science Club that worked with the Stamford Museum, Spanish classes for kindergartners, and Valentines for Wilton sisters. In May 1976, she appeared with nine other SSNDs who were “Named Outstanding Elementary Teachers of America.”
After several years of very serious illness, at various times in hospital, in rehabilitation, and at VND and Lourdes, Sister Lucy died at Lourdes Health Care Center late in the evening of June 13. Sister Shawn Kavanagh presided over the Christian Wake Service on June 19, with her sisters, Sandra and Lenore, their children and grandchildren and other relatives present, as well as many friends, the VND community, and nine members of Lucy’s “Krowd,” four of whom are presently SSNDs.
Sister Marie Vianney’s brother, Father Tom Gallagher, was celebrant and homilist at the Liturgy of Christian Burial the next morning. Fathers Tom Elliott, VND chaplain, Robert Crowfut, and Floyd Caesar concelebrated. Burial followed at St. Mary Cemetery in Bethel, Conn.
-~Sister Kay O’Connell