AAHA = Amicale Alexandrie Hier et Aujourd'hui www.aaha.ch


Sacred Heart School

Franciscan Sisters' Convent, Tenafly, N.J., USA

July 2006

Photo 1. Grand Central Station New York City. 

From left : Jocelyne Assaf, Franca Balestrieri, Nicole Biancardi

Photo 2. On the doorstep of the Franciscan Sisters' Convent 

From left : Franca Balestrieri, S.M. Laura (background), S.M. Helena, Nicole Biancardi, S.M. Estelle

Photo 3. Visiting the Infirmary 

From left : Nicole Biancardi, S.M. Estelle, S.M. Laura, S.M. Victor (100 years young !), Jocelyne Assaf, Franca Balestrieri

Photo 4. In the Chapel 

From left :  Jocelyne Assaf, S.M. Estelle, Franca Balestrieri

Photo 5. In the Infirmary 

From left : S.M. Estelle,  Franca Balestrieri, S.M. Laura, Nicole Biancardi

Sitting : Mother Mary Redempta


How instrumental is the AAHA website in bringing people together ?

I wish to share with you a most recent personal experience.
My first contact with Sandro Manzoni, the "Founding Father" of AAHA (a favorite website to many ex-Iskandaranis) dates back to the late 1900's. It can safely be said that Sandro's dedication in attaining his goal of reuniting dispersed friends throughout the planet has been crowned with unequivocal success.

This being said, I would add that my contribution to AAHA has always been related to  S.H.S. (Sacred Heart British Girls' School) news.  Today, I find myself bestowed the honorable title of 'Mother Superior' and nicknamed 'Sheikha el Khara' !!

In November of 2005, an ex-S.H.S. Franca Balestrieri (Italy) contacted AAHA for assistance to find her long lost "twin" classmate Jocelyne Assaf ("twin" because both share the same birthday i.e. day and year).  Evidently, I was called upon to exercise my role as "Mother Superior" and with AAHA acting as middle-man Franca and Jocelyne were able to reconnect after 50 years  (half a century would certainly sound ancient). Furthermore, true to my Sheikha el Khara nickname I also knew Franca through our student teaching training in Alexandria.

A reunion was planned in New York and I was invited to join the 'girls'. We were Jocelyne's house guests and she turned out to be both a perfect hostess and tourist guide. What a delightful and memorable two weeks. The reminiscing took us back to being teenagers with memories of our school days, our teachers, school pranks , choir practise all accompanied by hearty laughs and at times a shared tear.

These cherished memories lead us to one of the highlights of our stay.....we went to visit the Franciscan Sisters' Convent in Tenafly, New Jersey !!  We had the joy of meeting and having lunch with S.M. Laura, S.M. Estelle and S.M. Helena. Conversation flowed profusely and obviously Alexandria holds  a special place in their heart. After lunch we visited the Infirmary where we met with S.M. Redempta; S.M. Victor (100 years young!) and to my utter amazement S.M. Ibar at which time I became emotionally overwhelmed.....S.M. Ibar happened to be my Kindergarten teacher !!!   We ended our visit with a walk through the convent grounds towards the cemetry. There we paused for a moment of meditation remembering : S.M. Cleta ; S.M. Evarista ; S.M. Denise ; S.M. Cecilia ; S.M. Rosaria : S.M. Mildred ; and S.M. Clemence all of whom taught in Alexandria and contributed greatly to their students' education. May they rest in peace.

Ending on a more cheerful note, following our visit to the convent we contacted  S.M. Lucille (Boston, Ma.) and had a long chat. Coincidentally, this write-up started with an appreciation of AAHA's role and ends on the same tone simply because S.M. Lucille expressed her interest in the informative 'compte rendu' about the joint VC/EGC/SHS school reunions and was most appreciative.
Now , what in Heaven's name could her source of information be ????
Ya Salam....the AAHA website !!
These photographs are being shared with you past S.H.S. students wherever you may be with the intention that you remember your ever dedicated teachers in your prayers.

Nicole Biancardi-Francescutti  (Montreal, Canada)


An ancient Irish blessing :

May the road rise up to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

And the rains fall soft upon your fields






AAHA = Amicale Alexandrie Hier et Aujourd'hui www.aaha.ch