(Photo courtesy Michelle Basile)
John Basile Jr. and Michelle and baby Matteo Nicolas.
Catholic school principal baby boom: New moms lead three archdiocesan Catholic schools
October 18th, 2016
By Valerie Schmalz
Hannah Everhart’s pastor volunteered to baptize her new baby Coraline at a school Mass at Our Lady of Visitacion School.
A mother at St. Finn Barr School offered to care for Mele Mortonson’s baby, Catherine Maria, so mother and baby, drive to school together each day from Oakland. Then, Mortonson hands Catherine Maria to the mom, who is a stay at home mother who is already at St. Finn Barr to drop off her own child for school.
Michelle Basile also lives in Oakland, and she has found child care near St. Timothy School in San Mateo, and says parents, children, and staff are all understanding if she has to make a quick trip to take care of little Matteo Nicolas during school hours.
For archdiocesan Catholic school principals Everhart, Mortonson and Basile, the Catholic values supporting family and life which their schools teach are coming home in a personal way for them. All three had babies in the past year and returned to their positions as principals. All are also fortunate to have very supportive husbands, they said.
“My husband really supports my work,” said Mortonson. “As a product of Catholic school, he understands it is not a typical job.” Also critical is “having the support of my pastor (Father William McCain) both on the logistics but also spiritually – such an important part of this job is spiritual. I have a very supportive school community.”
St. Timothy School staff and parents have come through with flying colors in support of Basile as well, the principal of the San Mateo school said. Matteo Nicolas was born May 8, Mother’s Day, and Basile worked until April 27 when she went out on maternity leave. During her pregnancy and now, “everyone here was so kind and helpful and supportive. The things I couldn’t do anymore, people just picked up,” Basile said.
Now, Matteo is in child care nearby and she can go see him during the day if need be. Basile has a portable bassinette to use in a pinch. As well, she has a network of school parents and others who have volunteered to help out if she has to stay late for a school emergency.
The children were very interested in her pregnancy and parents and children continue to care about the baby, Basile said. “The young kids are fascinated. I brought him for morning prayer and announcements. The kids were really kind and loving toward him.”
“I feel very fortunate because we have such an emphasis in our school and in all Catholic schools on family – that they are able to see the leader of their school model that. That’s fortunate,” Basile said. “It’s special.”
Father Thuan Hoang’s response to the birth of Coraline was to suggest the baby be baptized at a school Mass at Church of the Visitacion. Children and parents of school children joined the family and friends at the Sept. 27 baptism on the feast of St. Vincent de Paul, one of the patrons and founders of the Daughters of Charity who founded and continue to support Our Lady of the Visitacion.
Everhart lives 10 minutes away and found in-home child care five minutes away, so she takes a half hour lunch hour with the baby each day. “It’s definitely hard because every day, leaving my baby is difficult and I am enjoying being a new mom. But having a supportive school community is amazing. Everyone asks how she is doing, asks to see pictures.”
“I think I would feel really disconnected if I didn’t get to go see her in the day,” Everhart said. “It’s fun though. I feel I am getting the best of both worlds.”
From October 20, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.