Living the Faith: Carol Simone

HAVERHILL -- If home is where the heart is, then Carol Simone has certainly found her spiritual home at All Saints Parish in Haverhill.

Every day when she enters St. Joseph School of All Saints Parish, Simone looks forward to seeing her students evolve and grow.

“I feel it gives me more enthusiasm and more life,” she said. “I truly love to watch them grow.”

As the parish school’s principal, she sees the challenges young families face. That is why she works tirelessly to foster an environment within the school community that helps every person feel they belong.

“If you are not happy and comfortable and safe where you are, then how can you learn anything,” she told The Pilot. “My goal is to provide a place where the children receive way more than just an education. They become integral members of our community.”

She also tries to instill in the students the need to pray and to listen to God in their everyday lives, she added.

“In fact, one student who had recently transferred to our school from another school came up to me and said, ‘Ms. Simone we pray a lot at this school.’ That, to me, was a great compliment because it shows that we are doing what we have set out to do,” she recalled.

Though Simone only became principal five years ago, she has been involved in the school for most of her 62 years. She attended All Saints as a child, and she returned to teach there as an adult. In fact, in her 35 years as a teacher at the school, Simone taught every grade except first.

Yet her ties to her parish are not limited to its school. Simone has also been a parishioner at All Saints Parish since its inception in 1998. Prior to that, she was a parishioner at St. Joseph’s Parish, a French national parish and one of four national parishes that were merged to form All Saints.

“Our parish has had some growing pains,” she admitted. “Here in Haverhill, the Italians, the Lithuanians, the Polish and the French all saw their parishes close, but Father [Dennis] Nason has been such a wonderful pastor. He has really worked hard to create a community.”

“I think that we are living through our growing pains and learning to smile about it,” she continued.

Simone, an only child who never married and is the last living member of her family, sees that her parish community and her school community are very significant in her life.

“I could be an orphan, but I’m not, because I have the school -- who to me are like my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. And I have the parish -- who to me are like my grandparents,” she said. “I need a family. Everybody needs a family and this is my family -- the school and the parish both.”

All Saints Parish, Haverhill

Year established -- 1998

Pastor -- Father Dennis Nason

Parochial Vicar -- Father Michael Harvey

In Residence -- Father Arnold Kelley

Religious Education Director -- Maureen Cartier

Organist -- Daniel Cerat

Elementary School Principal -- Carol Simone