Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary
December 14 marked the fifth anniversary of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT. We find ourselves awed and inspired by how the parents of the first graders who lost their lives that day are now engaged in projects that honor their children’s memory.
Because our congregation has an abiding interest in nature and the environment, we are particularly drawn to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary. Jennifer and Matt Hubbard describe their daughter as compassionate and caring child, who had a fondness for nurturing animals. The family adopted a rescue dog that she helped nurse back to wholeness. “Catherine wanted animals to trust her,” Jennifer says, “And know that she would protect them from harm. “ Catherine inherently knew that when she grew up, she wanted to care for animals. When the the time came for the family to decide how they would permanently honor her memory, the concept of a wildlife preserve seemed more than appropriate. They describe their vision as creating a “space of peace and inspiration - where all creatures know they are safe and that people are kind.”
A fund raising campaign is now underway and over the past few years the Hubbard’s vision has captured the imaginations of many groups – from students who sponsor “cups of kindness” neighborhood lemonade stands to grants from non-profit organizations, like A.S.P.C.A and the Jane Goodall Foundation. In fact, the state of Connecticut donated 34 acres of land, including woodlands and meadows. Plans include the building of a nature center for family educational programs and an animal “rescue and release” facility.
Jennifer Hubbard indicates that the sanctuary provides an opportunity for healing. “Would I change it to have Catherine back? Absolutely,” she said. “But that’s not the reality. The reality is Catherine is gone … yet we can go on to do amazing things in her name - by continuing to share her kindness and love with others.”
The Catherine Violent Hubbard Animal Sanctuary is a such fitting tribute to a child whose dreams were so tragically cut short ... because it embodies the “beauty, optimism and purity” of all that can yet be.