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Bless Me Sister

A Slightly Irreverent Look at Attending Catholic Grammar School

by Tom Zappala

What The Critics Are Saying
  • “Tom Zappala's fictionalized look back at the city of Lawrence and the Catholic schools many attended will evoke fond memories for a generation of former Lawrencian's who lament the passing of time and the city they once knew.” 

    - Glenn Prezzano, president and publisher, Merrimack Valley Magazine

  • “Anyone who attended a parochial grammar school in the 1960s can certainly relate to Bless Me Sister. The descriptions of the neighborhood bring back fond memories of my childhood in Boston’s North End. This story could have taken place in Lawrence, Boston, or any other city with a vibrant Italian community. A heartwarming and humorous read.” 

    - Pam Donnaruma, publisher and editor, Post-Gazette, Boston, MA

  • “I really enjoyed reading about the old Italian neighborhood. Twenty years later, I walked and jogged through the same streets. This book shows there was so much life on those very same streets long before I got there. I laughed out loud at some of the nun stories, and kind of wished I was a part of that simpler time. So many people who attended Catholic school, or remember that generation, will smile as they read this. Thumbs up.” 

    - Kenneth Tingle, author of The Girl in the Italian Bakery and Strangeville

  • “Tom Zappala has done it again. His latest, Bless Me Sister, is not just a look at growing up Catholic in New England; it captures the entire region’s blue collar roots and tenacity in the industries that built this country. As a Catholic girl who didn’t go to Catholic school, it made me wish I had gotten the ruler-rap across my hand at least once...I missed out.” 

    - Michele McPhee, Best-selling author of five true crime titles including A Mob Story

The Good Sisters Were Always One Step Ahead Of Us

“We cried on the first day of school because we were scared, and we cried on the last day of eighth grade because we were sad to leave.”

This light-hearted trip down memory lane will take you from the late 1950s into the 1960s as seen through the eyes of an inner-city Italian American parochial school kid. You’ll follow his adventures from the first day of school to graduation.

The Good Sisters Were Always One Step Ahead Of Us

“We cried on the first day of school because we were scared, and we cried on the last day of eighth grade because we were sad to leave.”

This light-hearted trip down memory lane will take you from the late 1950s into the 1960s as seen through the eyes of an inner-city Italian American parochial school kid. You’ll follow his adventures from the first day of school to graduation.

A Peek Inside The Book

The school was filled with kids who had good Italian values, great parents and a rich culture, but they were city kids who were always looking for an angle. The Irish nuns who taught them were usually on top of the situation and, more often than not, this leads to some humorous escapades. When the day was done, they learned, loved, and laughed, thanks to the good Sisters of Notre Dame.

A Peek Inside The Book

The school was filled with kids who had good Italian values, great parents and a rich culture, but they were city kids who were always looking for an angle. The Irish nuns who taught them were usually on top of the situation and, more often than not, this leads to some humorous escapades. When the day was done, they learned, loved, and laughed, thanks to the good Sisters of Notre Dame.

Bless Me Sister

In The Press

Zappala Reminisces About Parochial Grammar School in ‘Bless Me Sister’

Previously Featured in Lawrence The Eagle Tribune

“It’s a nostalgic and often humorous look back to the late 1950s and 1960s in a six-block area rich in Italian-American culture, a time when recorded opera music drifted from open windows and mothers and fathers called out from stoops for their children to come inside from playing.

 

It was also time when the nuns who taught at the neighborhood parochial school had a steadfast place in students’ lives. To this day, Zappala can hear the wooden clickers that the sisters held in their hands, the number of clicks telling the children to stand, sit or quiet down.”

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Bless Me Sister

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