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encore GOOD WORKS

Grace of the Garden

At 91, this nun brings others fresh food, flowers and fun Olga Bonfiglio

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he’s 91, but Sister Grace Scola is still growing. Since this nun retired four years ago, she has turned her talents to gardening and providing food, flowers and fun for the more than 100 nuns residing at the Congregation of St. Joseph of Nazareth, on Gull Road. “I just want to beautify our property and provide fresh tomatoes to the sisters, many of whom grew up on the farm,” Scola says. “They so appreciate homegrown tomatoes!” During the spring and summer Scola grows tomatoes, herbs, roses and other beautiful flowers in her garden plots on the Nazareth campus. Last summer she tended to 19 tomato plants and grew sweet basil and parsley in “special pots” to enhance the salads made in the Nazareth kitchen. And those “welcoming” pots of mandeville flowers near the east entrance of campus were hers, too. “My dad always looked forward to having a garden every summer,” Scola says, “and Sister Mary Catherine Beda, a farm girl herself, taught me many things about gardening, especially how to organically enrich the soil.” Although she’s a self-described “Detroit city girl,” Scola says she has always had an innate love for farms. Before she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1946, she leapt at an opportunity to work on the family farm of one of her “sister friends.” “Deep down in my heart I must be a farm girl,” Scola says. “I was born for the outdoors and the wide-open spaces. I love being close to Mother Earth, to dig into the soil and enjoy the fruits of my labor. Nothing is more peaceful and Brian Powers

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Sister Grace Scola grows flowers and vegetables for the nuns living at the Congregation of St. Joseph of Nazareth on Gull Road.

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