Dorothy Vaill Fund

Dorothy Vaill and the Holy Union Sisters

Dorothy Louise Vaill was born October 2, 1917 to Matthew J. Vaill and Bridget Burke Vaill. When her family experienced difficult financial times, the Holy Union Sisters allowed her to continue at the Academy tuition free. This assistance enabled her to complete her foundational education at the historic Academy in Fall River, MA. She continued her education, graduating from Bryant College (now Bryant University) in Smithfield RI, and was awarded a Diploma from the Executive Secretarial Course in 1938. 

Records indicate that after graduation she held a secretarial position with the Federal Government in Brockton, MA. During World War II, she joined the W.A.V.E.S. (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), and served as Chief Petty Officer from 1943 to 1951. While serving her country, she spent time in Miami, FL, Washington, DC, Quonset Point, RI and Boston, MA.

Sacred Hearts AcademyFollowing her military service, she pursued a successful career as a speech pathologist. She received a Master's Degree from George Washington University, Washington, DC in 1959 and became Director of Speech and Hearing Services for the Washington, DC public schools. From the mid-1950's until 1980, she also taught English as a second language to immigrants in the Washington, DC area. She retired in the early 1970's. She was a member of the parish of the Cathedral of St. Thomas More, Arlington, VA.

Dorothy died on March 2, 2011 at 93 years of age at Arden Courts, an assisted-living facility in Annandale, VA. She is buried in Saint Patrick’s Cemetery in Fall River, MA.Upon her death, Miss Vaill left a generous bequest to the Holy Union Sisters. This fund was established in 2013 in her memory.


The Dorothy Vaill Memorial Fund supports learning opportunities for children and women who value education but do not have needed resources that can assist them in their academic pursuits. It is intended to help children and women wishing to improve their quality of life by giving financial assistance for educational programs.


The Dorothy Vaill Memorial Fund is open to children and women who demonstrate financial need for assistance in obtaining a quality well-rounded education. Children must be currently enrolled or accepted at a Catholic elementary or high school. Women must be enrolled or accepted at an accredited college/professional school, or a certified job training program. Applicants must be residents of states in which Holy Union Sisters are currently serving in ministry: Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.


Grants are awarded for one (1) year and are dependent upon financial need. Grants may be renewable contingent upon ongoing financial need and successful academic performance, but for not more than three (3) additional years. Grants will be paid directly to the school, college or training program for tuition only. Grants will not be awarded for payment of student loads, textbooks and materials or past courses. Grant amounts may vary dependent upon the earnings of the Dorothy Vaill Memorial Fund and usually range between $500.00 and $1000.00.


Applications for 2018 have closed. To apply for the 2019 academic year, please return in November 2018.


  • February 15, 2018 - Applications postmarked no later than  February 15, 2018 are due.
  • Mid-April - Awards announced to the recipients and Holy Union Sisters of the United States Province.
  • August 15 - Checks in the amount awarded will be sent to each recipient's school/program to be credited to the student's account.