Students committed to living out their Catholic values awarded the Catholic Foundation of Maine Lila Grace Sullivan Amirault Endowment Scholarships

A student who aspires to teach elementary education and one who seeks to serve people by becoming a physical therapist are the winners of the 2023 Catholic Foundation of Maine Lila Grace Sullivan Amirault Endowment Scholarships, each receiving $5,000 to put towards their college tuition.

“I was honestly kind of surprised because I feel like I’m just like every other person,” said Lorelei Bonney, from the town of Poland, who graduated in May from Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn. “It will help my parents because they are helping me with college.”

“My initial reaction was that I was very shocked, and then, I was super, super excited, because it takes so much stress off of me and my family,” said Madeline Fowler, from Yarmouth, who graduated earlier this month from Cheverus High School in Portland. “It was just such great news.”

The endowment scholarship fund was established through the Catholic Foundation of Maine by the late Patrick Amirault in memory of his wife. Amirault created the fund in gratitude for the care and quality education he received when he attended a Catholic school in Massachusetts and in recognition of his ability to continue his education by working while completing his degrees. The Foundation worked with Amirault to develop an endowment to support students with those same values.

Lorelei and Madeline are both excellent students with strong work ethics, who are both committed to living out their Catholic faith.

“Catholics believe in helping our neighbors and treating them like we want to be treated, and I want to be able to do that,” said Lorelei. “I can bring my Catholics values into my physical therapy career by helping my community and the people in it. I want to put others first and help people.”

“As a senior attending Cheverus High School, a Jesuit institution, I have grown to know and live by the values of the Catholic faith,” said Madeline. “All humans are made in the image and likeness of God, so therefore, all people deserve the same rights, respect, and love. Considering these values, along with the many others that I have grown to live by, I feel as though they will aid me in my future studies and career field.”

Lorelei and Madeline both credit their respective schools for helping them to grow in their faith and for putting them on the path towards future success.

“St. Dom’s helped me in many ways: academically, socially, and athletically, but most of all, it helped me to connect with my faith on a deeper level and learn more about it. I have a deeper understanding of my faith and religion and have been able to connect with God more,” said Lorelei.

Lorelei was an assistant chaplain at St. Dom’s. She helped to lead retreats and served as a reader and an extraordinary minister of holy Communion at Masses held at the school, saying she wanted to show fellow students that there is nothing uncool about living your faith. Lorelei continues to serve as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion at the Basilica of Ss. Peter & Paul in Lewiston, which she says she loves attending.

“I love it because it’s my way of connecting with my Creator. He made me and I just want to be able to love him the same way that he does me,” she said. “Church is a place where I can feel safe to have a conversation with my maker.”

Madeline Fowler

Madeline, too, was involved in campus ministry. Like Lorelei, she led retreats and served at Masses celebrated at Cheverus.

“As long as I had a small role in Mass, that was something that was important to me,” she said. “Working with the campus ministry team is awesome.”

Madeline said attending and leading retreats helped her to reflect more on her life, which gave her a greater understanding of what God wants from her and for her.

“It kind of helped me to understand why God sent me on that path in life. I am a big believer now that everything happens for a reason,” she said.

Madeline said Cheverus challenged her academically but said it was manageable once you developed good time management skills. She also credited the supportive community, which she said she experienced from the first day she arrived there.

“I wish everyone could experience going to Cheverus,” she said. “I just have really grown as a person, really grown to, I think, embody the Catholic values of just being really loving and being committed to justice.”

Both Madeline and Lorelei were active in their school communities. In addition to serving as an assistant chaplain, Lorelei was class president her sophomore year, treasurer of the Student Senate her senior year, served as a junior volunteer at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, and volunteered with the middle school ski team.

Madeline was president of the school’s Best Buddies chapter, an organization that promotes friendships with individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. She was also a member of the Key Club, which organizes the school’s Thanksgiving drive each year. And, with her brother, Marshall, who graduated two years ago, she organized an annual Comfy Clothes Drive and a bottle drive for the Dempsey Center, which provides care to those impacted by cancer.

Madeline plans to attend Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, while Lorelei will enter a six-year doctorate in physical therapy program at Husson University in Bangor.