Hundreds of College of the Holy Cross students, faculty, staff and other community members filled St. Joseph Memorial Chapel Friday, Jan. 24 to celebrate Mass in memory of Grace Rett ’22.
Grace passed away after a serious motor vehicle crash while with the women’s rowing team on a winter training trip in Vero Beach, Florida.
Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president of the College, delivered the homily and spoke about Rett’s loving and hard-working spirit. In addition to the rowing team, Rett served as a Montserrat Leader, worked in Admissions as a tour guide, sang in the chapel choir and attended weekly Athlete Bible Study.
“Today is the feast day of St. Francis De Sales who wrote: ‘Be who you are and be that well.’ How aptly that describes Grace,” Fr. Boroughs said to the community.
“She was a much-loved and loving daughter, a very proud and protective sister and she enjoyed the blessing of a close extended family. At Holy Cross, Grace was a student first and an athlete second, but for her they really weren’t in competition, because in both she worked extremely hard and loved the challenges they brought.”
Mourners were given Holy Cross purple bracelets bearing one of Grace’s mantras, “Love the Fight.”
Fr. Boroughs presided over Mass; it was co-celebrated by Rev. James G. Gartland, S.J., Pastor of St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie, S.J., Pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown; and Rev. John Baldovin, S.J. ’69. Gartland and Gillespie are trustees of the College and Baldovin is a former trustee.
The Holy Cross community filled not only the pews of St. Joseph Memorial Chapel, but the seats of Seelos Theatre, which was set up to accommodate an overflow of mourners. Fr. Boroughs honored Grace’s love of Holy Cross and the sport of crew.
“Clearly, the time that Grace spent in practice, competition and traveling with our Women’s Crew Team brought her some of the happiest moments of her time on Mount St. James,” Fr. Boroughs said. “She loved the community that they formed and the enduring bonds they created. And, as we all know, just before Christmas, always seeking new challenges, Grace set a world record rowing 62 consecutive hours and 3 seconds. Nothing Grace ever did was ordinary.”
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