EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — Hannah McDermott has worked hard to bring a gift to East Dubuque’s religious community.

This summer, the 17-year-old took on the task of constructing a rosary garden at St. Mary Catholic School, which she attended in her younger years.

School officials have sought such a space for years, and Hannah volunteered to build it, not knowing what she was jumping into.

“It was a lot of work,” McDermott said. “I’m going to be really glad to see it finished.”

When finished, the rosary garden will be a simple arrangement of flowers, with a circular path surrounding it. In the center, a statue of the Virgin Mary will stand, and along the path, symbols representing the beads of the rosary will be painted on the concrete.

For Catholics, a rosary garden provides another way to pray and meditate with the rosary. McDermott said she has a long history of praying with the rosary, and she wanted to provide students and the community with another means of praying outdoors.

“My family says the rosary every night,” McDermott said. “I think a lot of people will appreciate it.”

Principal Angela Jones said she was thrilled to see a former student step up to make the garden a reality.

“I think it will be good for kids and the community,” she said. “She has gone above and beyond with the project.”

Months of preparatory work were required.

McDermott is using the rosary garden as a project to receive the Stars & Stripes Award from American Heritage Girls, a character development organization in which she is involved. As a result, numerous planning documents needed to be completed, presented and approved.

Hannah also conducted fundraisers to raise $2,000 to purchase the materials for the garden. She relied primarily on bake sales at local churches and calling local businesses for donations.

“There were some people who were really generous,” she said.

Construction began on Aug. 6. Between a summer job and summer homework, McDermott said, it has been challenging to devote time to the project.

However, she hopes to have it finished in the next few weeks, and she looks forward to sharing it with the community.

“I think it’s coming together nicely,” she said. “I hope that people in the community use it.”

Jenny McDermott said she is proud of all the work her daughter has done to give back to her former school.

“I think she has done a great job with it,” Jenny McDermott said. “It’s kept her really busy.”

Recommended for you