St. Rocco children's library renamed in D'Acchioli's honor

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Love was the theme recently inside St. Rocco’s School in Johnston.

Principal Lorraine S. Moschella told a large crowd inside the Children’s Library, as well as those people standing in the first floor corridor, that everyone loved Kay. She was known as Miss Kay to countless numbers of students, and for more than three decades she volunteered to “share the love of the heart of Christ” with St. Rocco School.

That’s why Richard Montella, who is extremely active at the Roman Catholic Parish on Atwood Avenue and co-chairs the annual St. Rocco’s Feast and Festival, talked with the Rev. Angelo N. Carusi and Moschella about dedicating the Children’s Library in memory of the late Catherine M. “Miss Kay” D’Acchioli, who passed away on Dec. 21 at age 89.

“No one,” as Montella recently related, “blinked an eye or had a second thought.”

A crowd larger than Moschella or St. Rocco School officials expected showed up to pay tribute to Miss Kay, whose life was centered on St. Rocco’s – and all were thrilled the library is now known as the Catherine M. “Miss Kay” D’Acchioli Library.

“I am sure that my aunt was looking down from the heavens this morning when the library was being dedicated,” said Catherine Parente, one of Miss Kay’s many nieces who attended the heart-warming dedication. “She absolutely loved St. Rocco’s.”

Catherine D’Acchioli was the youngest of 11 siblings born to the late Cosmo and Alfonsina D’Acchioli, immigrants who came from Italy and raised their children in Johnston.

"They were a very close-knit family,” Catherine Parente remembered. “My aunt was very devoted to the church. She was a member and spiritual director of the St. Rocco’s Women’s Guild as well as a church lector and Eucharistic minister. She even taught CCD classes for many years and volunteered annually at the feast and festival.”

Miss Kay was also very close to a number of the sisters from the religious orders that were at St. Rocco’s School, namely the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a newer order – The Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden.

“Although my Aunt Kay was never married and didn’t have children of her own,” Catherine Parente said, “she had the most children of anyone around.”

Miss Kay called her 12 nieces and nephews, and their spouses and significant others, her “kids.”

“Aunt Kay also referred to her grandnieces and grandnephews the same way as well as a great grandniece,” Catherine Parente mused. “But the most ‘kids’ she ever had were at St. Rocco’s School where she volunteered as a teachers’ aide, in the library and office or wherever she was needed.”

Moreover, Miss Kay’s love for her “kids” shined bright when she would read to the young students in the classrooms and library.

“She also enjoyed volunteering in grade two,” Catherine Parente offered, “because that was the year for student’s First Communion and she so enjoyed being involved in that. She absolutely loved the job at St. Rocco’s School. Student and even parishioners who may not have known her personally all knew of the wonderful works of Miss Kay.”

Miss Kay’s full-time job, as Catherine Parente noted, was as a bookkeeper at Borden’s Ice Cream in Johnston, and that’s a position she held for many years. She then took her talents and pleasing personality to Dudley Hardware in Providence until she retired.

“My aunt also had many friends,” Catherine Parente went on, “and they loved to travel. She had been to Italy many times to visit relatives as well as traveling on pilgrimages to Medjugorje and Fatima.” 

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