Abbey grads called to listen to their hearts


PORTSMOUTH — Through discipline, love, respect and obedience to Catholic tradition, the 93 graduates of Portsmouth Abbey have personified the core characteristics of a healthy Benedictine community.

During the Abbey’s 83rd commencement exercises last Sunday, the class of 2013 was not only celebrated for their academic achievements but also for their great kindness and humility.

More photos available here.

It was a day for giving thanks, said John M. Regan, III, chairman of the Board of Regents and member of the class of 1968.

“Graduates, you have received a great gift during your time at the Abbey,” he shared. “Together, you have visibly grown in mind, body and spirit; and perhaps less visibly, but in even more important ways, in knowledge and grace.”

Regan not only gave thanks for the success of the Class of 2013, but also for the leadership of Headmaster Dr. Jim DeVecchi who will retire in June after 40 years of service to the school, 13 of which will have been as headmaster.

“I ask that we offer special thanks for the leadership of Jim DeVecchi and the constant support of [his wife] Deb. Please join me in congratulating both of them on a job very well done and a mission well lived.”

Headmaster DeVecchi told the graduating class that they are leaving a wonderful legacy at the Abbey, adding that they have personified what he and his wife valued most in their 40 years at the school.

“As each of you has distinguished yourself and enriched our campus community over these past 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 years, so will you continue to distinguish yourselves and enrich society in your after-Abbey life,” he said. “In life, you surely will distinguish yourselves through your achievements and successes, but the contributions of the Abbey Class of 2013 to society will not only come through your accomplishments, but also through the example of how you achieved those accomplishments.”

DeVecchi also thanked the parents for their commitment to their children’s education and spiritual formation, adding that they should be very pleased and proud.

Andrea Keough, mother of graduate Isabel Margot Keough of Litchfield, Conn., expressed how very proud she is of her daughter. She shared that she feels fortunate that Isabel was able to attend Portsmouth Abbey.

“It’s bittersweet. It’s been a wonderful place for her,” she said. “The religious component has been great. She’s really grown as a person and made wonderful friends and she looks up to the faculty. More kids should come here.”

Tim Niles, who traveled from Austin, Texas to attend his daughter Hannah’s graduation, said that he is very grateful for the opportunities she has had there.

“She’s grown here academically and she’s grown spiritually as well,” he said. “I’m so very proud of her. The whole family is.”

Headmaster DeVecchi was honored to welcome this year’s commencement speaker, Tim Flanigan, M.D., (Class of ‘75) to the Abbey.

Flanigan now works as infectious diseases specialist and educational advocate for the underprivileged. A member of the school’s Board of Regents, he was also recently ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Providence and is associate director of The Miriam/Brown Fogarty Program, which trains and mentors overseas investigators in HIV/AIDS.

A great supporter of the Abbey, Flanigan recalled fond memories of his time at the Benedictine boarding school, and encouraged the graduates to be prayerful and “listen with the ear of the heart.”

“You are special in a deep and mysterious way,” he said. “Listening is absolutely critical in determining who you are called to be. It will help you when you feel lost and out of place and open you up to laughter and joy when you least expect it.”

During a commencement address to her fellow students, Allison Bolles recalled how the Abbey helped graduates overcome fears and gain self-confidence despite humbling moments.

“If the Abbey never made us put ourselves out there we wouldn’t grow,” she said. “I challenge you to continue trying after you leave the Abbey. Get out there and do it. Be vulnerable. You’ve got one chance, don’t waste it on fear.”

Nicholas Medley of Portsmouth shared that he was grateful to the monks of Portsmouth Abbey for their spiritual example, inspiring students to live with grace and dignity.

“It was an honor to serve with them,” he said. “Four years have gone by so fast at the Abbey and our journey has come to a close. We have been changed for the better.”


Peter Hugh Barlow

Shiloh Victoria Barry

Laura Jane Baudet

Allison Lynn Bolles

Fletcher Michael Bonin

Melanie Alexandra Camacho

Yixian Chen

Minjae Cho

Sa Uk Brian Chung

Coleman Joseph Clark

Nicholas Joseph DeLieto

Dorothy Carol Dickmann

Pinyuan Dong

George Andrew Evans

Sebastián L. Ferré

Steven Joseph Foster

Ann Marie Gallagher

Catherine Kennington Glosson

Claire Lily Gralton

Katharine Coulter Haines

Caroline Faber Hall

Kelsi Claire Harper

Hunter Bradford Harries

Meredith Clare Horan

Daniel Joseph-Villenueve Jackson

Emily Margaret Kelley

Mitchell J. Kelln

Jordan Romeo Kenny

Isabel Margot Keogh

Mary Frances Kielb

Annalise Danielle Kirscht

Reaves Holton Klipstein

Sean Michael Knowlan

Marilyn Mossiah Yvanne Kouassi-Brou

Austin Lee Kreinz

Laura Ashley Lansing

Xiang Li

Zelong Li

Andrew Geoffrey Lowis

Anna MacGillivray

Rhoads Walker MacGuire

Charlotte Elizabeth MacKinnon

Michael Francis Madigan

Rasaanh Solomon Eulipion Matra

J. Hadley Matthews

Nicholas Gordon Medley

Kimberly Brooke Mehrtens

Michelle Tess Mehrtens

Gabriel John Miller

Antonio Minondo Stillman

Justin Mistikawy –

Annette Michelle Monheim

Hannah Marie Niles

Julia Martha Noble

Katherine Elizabeth Normand

Kelley Nicole Oliveira

Francis Giuliano Padula

Gabriella Perez Escobar

Stacey Joyce Poon-Tip

Luisa Posada-Urrutia

Rachael Victoria Powers

Sarah Nicole Powers

Zachary Edward Pray

Phillip Alston Wilcox Bacot Purvis

Charles Francis Ramsden

William Christopher Reynolds

Maria Luisa Ruiz Vásquez

Fang Shao

Erin René Shaw

William E. Shaw-MacGillivray

Michael Patrick Sheerin

Sarah Elizabeth Sienkiewicz

Julia Janina Slupska

Christopher Mark Menchaca Soriano

Severin St. Claire

Michael Andrew Stark

Robert Huntington Sucsy

O'Callahan Rebecca Taylor

Allyson Rachel Tessier

Julia Elizabeth Thompson

Lauren Elizabeth Thompson

Zackery Michael Tipton

Garin Thomas Tracy

Claudia Isabelle Trahan

Katherine Lloyd Troutman

Monica Rocio Urquijo Zobel de Ayala

Maria Elisa Vollmer

Molly J. Wart

Xiaodian Xu

Joseph Henry Yates

Sang Seo Andrew Yi

Xijia Yuan

Toby Hyung Seok Yun